When I was studying to get my Bachelor’s degree in International Political
Economy at Colorado College, from 1977 to 1981, after studying at the library,
I would walk past the huge majestic red stone building called Palmer Hall.
Inscribed at the top of the arched entrance to the building were Jesus’ famous words from the Bible, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” This was a wonderful promise, and it also made me feel that Jesus was protecting me and moving me forward as He predicted my future. Every time I walked by the huge red sandstone building, I felt that Jesus was speaking directly to me, and giving me His encouragement.
There were years upon years in my life, when I felt lost like a cork in a raging sea.
There was one Bible verse that I read once and it was immediately
imprinted on my mind. Jesus said, “I am the Truth, the Way and the Life”.
I had lost my way and disappeared into a very terrifying dark hell, called
addiction and homelessness. It took me 28 years to claw my way back to sanity
I had gone from a straight-A high school and college student, to a pathetic
homeless person dominated by fear and desperation. My spirit was crushed,
my body was damaged, and my emotions had become bizarre. I was in the
middle of untreated manic depression, and I felt like a wild animal running from myself.
One of the reasons that I went to 13 treatment centers, is because I
refused treatment for manic depression back in 1982, and that made staying
sober impossible. I was also full of deadly denial. I learned the hard way, that I
must get treatment for both my addiction and my manic depression, if I were to succeed.
I remember one day I was panhandling on the 16th Street Mall in
Denver,Colorado and an old college friend stopped and gave me some money.
I looked into her eyes but I could not remember who she was, but she looked so
familiar. I saw shock and compassion in her eyes. Years later, when I was
sober, I went to my college 30th reunion and she was there, and I then
remembered her name, which is Jenny.
As we talked about that day when I was panhandling in Denver, she said how
surprised she was to see me homeless and destitute, when I used to be one of
academic leaders at the college, and I as very well- liked and respected. I was
somewhat surprised that I did not feel a mountain of shame and guilt. When
we saw each other at the college reunion, I had been sober for 13 years, but I
was still “numb” to the hell on the streets. I had the attitude that, “Yes, all of
that did happen, but I am sober and free today.”
One thing that I learned on the streets and in my 28 year career of addiction, is
that I had to numb my pain, and not let people see my vulnerability, or else
I would get hurt physically or emotionally. I had to protect myself at all times.
Today, I know that system is not good for me and my relationships. I need
to make myself vulnerable, like I am doing in this article, so that I can let people
into my life.
It is amazing that I was still numb after 13 years of sobriety, even though I no longer
needed this defense mechanism. I was told by a psychologist shortly after I got
sober in 1998, that I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome from my
experiences in addiction, and from things that happened during the one year
that I was homeless, living outside on the streets. The psychologist was waiting
for me to respond and I looked at him and said, “So what!” I was protecting
myself even from him.
The bottom line is that Jesus has been watching out over me all of my life.
He rescued me from the streets and from the terminal disease of addiction and
now He is helping me to give hope, love and encouragement to other addicts.
Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Jesus has set me free!
So now my life of addiction and homelessness has real meaning. If my book,
“Saved By The Prince Of Peace- Dungeon To Sky”, saves the life of just one
addict, then my life and my book will have been worth it.