At the end of a long and painful 28 year battle with chemical dependency, manic depression and homelessness, I found myself at the end of the road and on the wrong path.
I was homeless in Denver, Colorado for one year and I had learned ways to survive living outside. The streets had become dangerous and I needed to find a safe place to sleep at night.
One day I was walking down the alley behind my favorite bar, and I discovered an electrical utility closet that I could open with a plastic comb. Inside the closet on the inside door knob, was a push button lock, which mean’t that I could go into the closet and lock the door.
I had an acquaintance who was stabbed to death in an alley over a pool game and I was attacked by a skin head gang member with two butcher knives down by the river. Another time, I was attacked by three men who encircled me in an alley and proceeded to hit me in the face. I narrowly escaped them. In total, I survived five near-death experiences including three grand mal seizures from over-dosing on crack, two car accidents and one motorcycle accident.
At the end, I could feel death breathing down the back of my neck, and I knew that I was close to dying. My whole spirit was screaming at me to make a positive change and get out of there as fast as possible. I knew in my heart and my soul, that I was on the path to destruction and my life was going to be cut short. My time was up, and I knew that I was at the end of my destructive journey.
The turning point for me was when I became completely consumed and filled with fear, rage, confusion and desperation. I had finally become completely defeated by drugs and alcohol and my addiction was killing me spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. After a very destructive 28 years of active addiction, I finally became humble and gratefully surrendered my life to Jesus. At the end, in complete terror and desperation, I said the most important prayer of my life: Like a prime evil scream, I cried out loud, “JESUS PLEASE HELP ME!
Two days later, I was sitting in a circle with 25 other addicts at Hazelden Foundation, one of the best treatment centers in the nation. My miracle had come and I just knew that I was on the right path. It is that small still voice that lives inside of us, that tells us if we are on the right path or the wrong path. It also tells us if we are doing right, or if we are doing wrong. I did a fair amount of shoplifting while living on the streets. One time, I was in a clothing store and I was about to steal some clothes. I heard inside of me, an urgent voice saying, “No, do not steal anything”. Ignoring the voice, I stole a shirt and shoved it in my coat anyway. I found out later that there were hidden cameras all over the store. Two guys chased me all over the store, caught me and I was arrested. Before I stole that shirt, I knew that I was on the wrong path. The problem is that I ignored the voice, a voice that was trying to protect me from myself.
We know when we are on the right path or the wrong path. We know when we are defeated and we know when it is time to surrender. Addiction complicates the matter because our mental obsession to use drugs and our physical craving for drugs along with our denial, clouds our judgment, and allows us to be reckless and foolish.
When we get sober, we look back on our using days and shake our heads in disbelief of the hell that we lived in for so many years. Jesus has blessed me with 18 years of grateful sobriety, and I am not looking back. Today, I know in my heart and in my soul, that I am on the right path. Please listen to your inner voice and stay on the right path.
Sobriety is a gift from god and we should cherish it like a priceless gem.
Peace to you!