To new readers and followers of my blog, it will become obvious that I hold nothing back when it comes to my life before and since recovery from addiction. I became aware many years ago that the power of truth and transparency would set me free from my damaging secrets and false ego. I believe that real recovery from sunstance-use as well as other addictions begins with a bold paradigm shift inside.
I have helped clients focus on discovering their real selves as well as their supressed feelings, desires, goals, and ambitions. Recovery and sobriety eluded me for many years, just as it did for hundreds of clients I have guided on the path to true freedom and release from worry and despair.
The truth, in all it’s sometimes ugly reality, is that human beings have made mistakes in their life. Addiction to mood-altering substances became a multiplier of those mistakes for most of us. The most powerful step in real recovery is dependant on acceptance of our mistakes. An understanding that the stigma of embarrasing and guilt-ridden addiction behavior is a road block to freedom from the very illness that we wish to recover from.
Things we’ve done in our mind-bending addiction episodes are not attributed to moral failings. These mistakes are simply symptoms of the brain disease of addiction. My message to all of you who wish to end your damanging relationship with drugs and alcohol is that you move toward self-forgiveness of your past so that you can enter a new season in life. My recovery began when I understood that I had to be willing to empty the heavy backpack of shame I carried before I could become the sane and sober person I was meant to be. This idea is the foundation of my Recovery Journey Addiction Freedom Course.
*There are some shocking details in my story “The Fall’, and I hope that you understand the necessity for my candor. My story follows me from a hopeless, sellfish, and even criminal-minded soul, to a committed professional on a mission to lead fellow sufferers to a new and wonderful reality. I hope that sharing my story provides evidence that even the worst of the past can lead to a life of caring, understanding, and a desire to love and help others.
The following events are true, names were changed or omitted to protect the many innocent victims. Love, gratitude, peace, and respect go out to the unnamed in this story including those who remain unrecognized and unknown to me. My efforts at healing and making amends to those identified began nearly 26 years ago and continues …
I awaken with the taste of blood in my mouth.
Looking around me, I am still in the vehicle stolen from my ex-employer. Still in a dark parking lot in a place completely foreign to me. I’m cold, my teeth almost chattering. To my left I can just barely make out a streetlamp several hundred yards away in the misty fog. To my right I can see the hazy glow of more and brighter light in the distance. I look in the rearview mirror, my forehead is cracked open, dried blood and some sticky hair visible. Something smells terrible. The vehicle looks like a trash dump inside. Bottles, cans, cigarette butts, and dirty used syringes everywhere, I’m alive-oh no, the final plan, just like all the others, failed. I don’t know what to do now but I have to get out of this vehicle, when I open the door, the interior light reveals what the awful smell is, the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield, and my lap are covered in vomit. Sticky, half-dried, bloody looking phlegm, nothing solid-all liquid. It’s the worst and nastiest mess I’ve ever seen or smelled. Got to get away from here-where am I?
I choose to walk to my right, toward the stronger light.
The hazy mist limits my vision to a few hundred yards ahead as I move my weary and stiff muscles into forward motion-toward what light, I don’t know. The traffic lights are all blinking yellow, no cars moving, no people to be seen, it’s like the world is paused or maybe evacuated. How long was I in that vehicle, am I alive, is there anyone else? This could be a lonely dream, I think, although I have a spooky feeling that I’m not alone and it’s not a dream-it’s a nightmare at best. So many shadowy places to my left and right, alleys, dumpsters, old tires, junked cars here and there. Buildings abandoned, windows broken, a few globs of dirty snow here and there.
The buildings are taller than I noticed from afar,
I’m on the cracked sidewalks, crossing streets and trying to keep a good pace but fighting the urge to break into a full run. With each street I cross I notice the nearest source of light getting closer. Maybe just a few more streets away will be some signs of life, a store or a phone booth or anything at all to suggest a reality that I might recognize. Now it looks like maybe the next block could reveal the source of the hazy glowing light. I reach a street corner, there it is. A half mile or more away at the end of the street, the light. It’s atop a dark building, no signs of light at the street level. My hopes fade away, then I think, what did I think it would be anyway? I’m just following light in the mist; I have no idea where I am. I decide to take the turn and walk toward the dark building far away near the end of my range of vision. My feet, ankles, legs, and hips are throbbing, my mind has a flash of memory, I realize now that I’ve been behind the wheel non stop for days, my body is protesting all this movement, not to mention the gash on my head. I can feel the swelling around the injury, it’s sore to my touch. Where am I, what day is it, is this real? I’m walking toward a hazy light, now I can begin to make out what it is. It’s letters on top of the building, oh great, I’m walking a half mile in the dark to another abandoned factory or warehouse with some commercial billboard on top, just another dumb mistake in this sorry life I was hoping to free myself from.
What does that sign say?
Some of the letters are half-lit, they are huge, tall letters high on the skyline above the roof of the building. I’m close now, I can see through the haze, even with the missing bulbs I can read it now. JESUS SAVES. Okay, I get it now, it’s a message for people to see from far-away- an interstate traffic billboard message probably. It’s a message for those people with hope, it’s, it’s … wait, I can make out a sign over the doors that have just come into view. It says Rescue Mission-All are Welcome. I can make out low light coming from windows in the double doors. I now see that this is the last building on the street, to the left of it a field of nothing, to the right a short driveway that dead ends into a fence, I can see a swiftly river on the other side. But if it’s a mission, and all are welcome, then it’s not really a dead end is it? That thought came to me as I reached the top step and read the small sign on the door that said, After 7pm ring bell for service-no entry after 10pm. I instinctively looked at my wristwatch, it read 9:30, but I noticed that the second hand was not moving, the watch was stopped dead. What time was it? How long has my watch been stopped? Did it stop when I banged my head in the car & threw my guts up on the dash? How long ago was all that?
I have to admit at this point in the story
That I was actually scared to death to push the button next to the door that night. I don’t know what I was so afraid of, I think my already sick brain and the spooky atmosphere of this night along with the days of hallucinations I had experienced almost made me turn and run from this place. It seemed plausible that there was probably yet another diabolical turn at play in this nightmare, one to get me inside the dark building and engulf what was left of my body and soul. Of course, I deserved it anyway, didn’t I? Bad things happen to bad people right? Inside I was longing for an end to it all. I took a deep breath and pushed the button, nothing. I waited a moment and pushed it again, nothing. As I began my turn to walk away, I decided to hit it again. A few seconds later I heard locks turning, I instinctively jumped back away from the door as it swung open, light reached out across me and blinded my vision for a moment. The voice said, “hello sweetheart, you look like you could use some help”. My eyes adjusted as a small woman became illuminated by the dim light in the doorway. I’m sure she told me her name, but I have no memory of it or of the words she spoke that night.
More of “The Fall” to come soon.
Be safe and care for one another.
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Asking for Medical Help
If you or someone you know exhibits withdrawal symptoms, psychological problems, or any signs of self-harming behavior, contact your medical professional, call 911, or reach out to SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)