I’m finally settling back into my home life. The feelings of sadness have faded, only after accepting the fact that the road trip to courage was merely the 1st branch of my journey in recovery. I know I will continue to have God moments daily no matter where I am physically. That, in and of itself, is a wondrous and magical trip.
You would imagine I would be patting myself on the back for completing the challenge of driving cross country by myself. The old me would be relishing in the glory of everyone being amazed and proud of me. Rather, what I feel is grateful and honored. While I do whole-heartedly appreciate all the congratulations, I actually don’t deserve them. All I did was to trust my Higher Power (whom I choose to call God), and be willing to follow His lead. I may have been by myself in that car, but I was never alone.
If you’re anything like me (let’s hope not), I would have stopped reading this as soon as I saw all this “God” stuff. I used to believe, folks threw the religious, mumbo-jumbo talk around just to make others think they were good people. I mean, if someone is religious, they must be trustworthy and somehow on a higher degree of goodness than the average Joe, right? For me, they were weak and goody-two-shoes. I also thought, they looked down on me. For that reason, I remained as far away from those people as I could. I wasn’t buying what they were selling.
Don’t get me wrong, I grew up going to church every Sunday, like most respectable, God fearing Southerners do. I was even very involved with the youth group. By high school, I went to church for 2 reasons: First and foremost, my parents made me and secondly, I looked forward to hearing all the gossip about who did what at the drunken party the night before. The church didn’t make sense to me. My experience was that of a bunch of hypocrites, getting all dressed up in their Sunday best, only to put on a show. Why did they do it? I determined it was either, to show off their new Mercedes and designer dress or to make other people think they were saints. I just didn’t get it.
It wasn’t until after my parents couldn’t get in touch with me for 2 days, my kids had not heard from me, and I hadn’t shown up at work, that unbeknownst to me, my transformation had begun. I never really share what came about that day for many reasons. The main reason is out of respect for the entire family, especially Mom and Dad, my children and my sister. It is still really painful for them to think about and although they are now very supportive of my recovery, there is still underlying resentment and anger, because of what I put them through. Rightly so. I cannot even fathom how scared and horrified they must have been. See, what happened that day didn’t just happen to me, it happened to my whole family. We are still trying to come to terms with what happened, why it happened and all the years of damage I caused leading up to that day. The second reason I don’t share much is because I hold no memory of any of it. I only know the details from what I have been told. What I do recognize is that if my folks had not called 911 when they did, I would have been found dead. This is not an exaggeration for shock value, it is a fact. I was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Room, then spent several days in Intensive Care, not knowing who I was, where I was, or who my family was. Devastating for my family. After I was stabilized, I stayed nearly 2 weeks in the Psych Ward, spent a month inpatient in rehab at the UAB Addiction Treatment Center, then outpatient for two months, on to a halfway house for another two months and now am living with my parents in the house I grew up in. I am grateful and humbled. Those two words were not even in my vocabulary before, now they define my very existence.
Today, I know without a shadow of doubt there is a Divine Spirit that holds us and protects us. When we are caught up in our own turmoil, we just aren’t open-minded enough to realize it, or maybe it’s easier to wallow in our own self pity or bask in our overblown egos than to seek Him. Truth is, I should have been dead that day. For some reason, I lived. Nothing else can explain the chain of miracles that took place to save my life but a supernatural intervention.
Sometimes, it’s easier to blame Him for everything bad in our lives than see that we cause our own misery. Maybe we don’t believe, period. Death of loved ones, pain of any loss (a job, a marriage, etc.), anger for having to experience hurt feelings, drowning those terrible feelings in alcohol, sticking a needle in our arm, going into debt for shopping all the time or gambling, downing a handful of pain pills, maybe we starve ourselves, over-exercise… He is to blame for all of it? We have to open our eyes to see our part in whatever has happened, allow ourselves to feel the pain and be angry, then let it pass. If we don’t let it go, it grows like Cancer inside and eventually destroys us. I know, easier said than done right? Life happens, not always how we want it to. For me, I can either get resentful when things suck for me and drink to numb it (it will still be there when I sober up, if I sober up) or I can look at myself a little closer, admit what part I played in my resentment, ask forgiveness, learn from it and move on. Doing this allows me to keep the voices in my head relatively quiet and gives me a peaceful serenity I have never experienced before. There is a Power greater than all of us, I don’t understand it, I can’t explain it, I don’t know why but I experience it everyday. My daughter said the Pastor at her church explains it this way, I am paraphrasing, “Of course we can’t understand Him, God is larger and more powerful than our tiny brains are capible of conceiving. Would we really follow a God we could understand anyway?”. This has been my experience.