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Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Die Daily

When I had sunk to the bottom of the bottle, literally because of my alcoholism: lost job, disabled/unemployable, divorced, unpredictable/insane behavior, heavy drug taking/cocaine addiction, suicidal/failed suicide attempt, loss of ALL possible HOPE I truly only had one option if I wanted to live...SURRENDER.

I had to give up...In other words my self-will that was killing me slowly, by degrees had now graduated to trying to kill faster, by doing it myself. Obviously,my way was not working. I had to stop fighting the people who had been trying to help me.

By attempting suicide and surviving I had actually done myself a favor. Of course it didn't feel like a favor at the time but it WAS a favor none the less. I was locked on a psychiatric floor of a hospital. I had gone through major withdrawal symptoms while in a coma and then for awhile afterward. It was the best thing that could have happened to me...I at least had a chance now to salvage my life.

They (Docs, Shrinks, therapists) were not going to just let me walk out of that hospital and though I hated "them" for it, their actions probably saved my life. Why? I suspect if I woke up and they released me a day later, I would have used drugs and/or drank again. I would have had to, I was too sick and not detoxed yet. I begged for them to let me go, that is how sick I was...that action saved me (once again) from myself.

Those were tough days, I felt like a failure for surviving my suicide attempt. I have often referred to that scenario as having "failed at FAILURE". Meaning that trying to or committing suicide in my mind is the ultimate FAILURE of life. So if one has failed at suicide then he or she has failed at failure. And that is what I felt: Like a complete failure as a human being.

I had once again hurt every single person that I cared about and who had cared about me. I had also let myself down and I knew it. I could not see how I was going to be able to survive life without the oblivion that booze/drugs had provided but my so called "savior (booze/drugs) ultimately had betrayed me...they no longer masked the pain. They didn't help ease the sense of doom I felt, no all I could see and feel was hopelessness.

I knew that only drastic measures would do, I knew that total abstinence was the only way I could have a chance because once I put alcohol or drugs in my system I could no longer predict what I would do or say...

It sounds rather cut and dry now after the fact but I was really conflicted, being an active alcoholic/addict was all I knew. Plus I was in a psych hospital and they were diagnosing me with mental illnesses like Manic Depression, Bi-Polar Disorder and the like. They had me heavily medicated the whole time I was in the hospital and after I got out.

Eventually I had to make a decision so I did: we treated the addictions as the main illness and saw the symptoms for the other "mental illness" diagnosis start to diminish. It makes sense today, let's face it- an active alcoholic is Depressed, often suicidal and certainly shows signs of Bi-Polar Disorder. I do suffer from Depression today (My Black Dog) but I treat it without drugs, relying on my close friends to talk to and stay busy helping others. I'm not recommending it for everyone, but it's what works for ME.

And I made those decisions back then WITH the blessing of my doctor, the psychologist and psychiatrist that were treating me along with the trauma therapist and addiction therapist I was working with as well.

That was what the first year of my recovery really came down to looking like. It was tentative thread holding all that together, it was thin line between recovery and failure.

Today I think ultimately what it came down to was a spiritual recovery that made it work. I know this is not a popular subject. Trust me, I get that. I was a self professed "God Hater" when I was drinking. Funny thing is I never really hated God, was religious people I didn't like but I didn't care. I did not trust religion or God or anything spiritual at that time.

But it became very obvious that even though I was staying sober, one day at a time...that there was something missing. There was a point in my recovery, which in reality is my LIFE, that I knew I had to find a relationship with my Creator or I would fail once again. I did not want to go back to what I was...

I was truly afraid of making that decision. I did not know how to go about it so I just began to pray and tried my hardest NOT to fight it, to keep an open mind. I often failed but I just sensed that I had to completely commit myself self to a personal relationship with GOD or I was in trouble.

I'll be honest, for more then a year I thought to myself that this was NEVER going to happen. I thought that I was going to be the guy that just couldn't "get it", meaning I would never know God.

What I didn't realize is that deep in my heart, to the depths of my Soul I wanted salvation, I was ALL IN. I was praying to a generic GOD but somehow I sensed I was was coming around. Little did I know that I was on a direct collision course with Jesus. In February of this year I watched a 6 part DVD Special called Not A Fan. It was a teaching series by Pastor Kyle Idelman of Louisville, KY. That was the straw that broke this camel's back...

In other words it broke my resistance to God. I could see and FEEL it for the first time. Not the stuff that man says religion should be...nope. What God says LIFE should be. And something inside of me changed...forever. I learned that as Jesus said in Luke 9:23-24 "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.'

I suddenly knew what those words meant. I knew that I had to DIE DAILY and follow him. Just like it says in that verse. It was SELF WILL, my self that was killing me...I'll be honest, I avoid talking about my spiritual beliefs on Shell Shock sometimes or go to great lengths to soften the impact of what I may have to say. Why, because I'm afraid of "turning someone off". I'm afraid that folks will run from the post the minute they see the words "Jesus" or "Christian" or "God".

Let's face it, I don't have the largest group of followers here and I didn't want to offend anyone who was like me. But I guess what I need to do is trust that the TRUTH as I understand it can defend itself...God doesn't need me softening HIS message to make it easier for the skeptics to swallow. Christ never pandered for Followers and he doesn't need me doing it...So I'll trust him and just try to be honest about how I feel. All I know for sure is my story, I'll do my very best to tell it honestly and in all it's detail...

I have a life today that honestly I never dreamed that I could have. And I feel compelled to share it. I don't think this blog will change much other then I may mention my faith a bit more by name. But I felt it was important that as I wrote this post that I made it clear where I was coming from. That I am not trying to hide my faith nor cram it down somebody's throat.

I sincerely believe if I honestly tell my story then the facts speak rather clearly for themselves. So I'll keep telling the story as it continues to play itself out from day to day. I appreciate all of you who have chosen to come along....