Here is an excerpt of a rough draft for Chapter 1 of a book I am currently working on:
I am escorted through the building to a detoxification ward. I am searched, and shown a small room with a bed and a night stand. I sit down with my bag, and a picture. It is a picture of my 2 children sitting on Santa’s lap from the mall. It had been taken a few weeks prior. There is a note from my daughter that I still keep to this day that begins, “Dad, I don’t know if I will get to see you for Christmas……”
The reality of life floods my soul as tears begin to drop on the picture. What have I done? I muttered to myself. You are worthless, you deserve to be dead. Why don’t you just leave this place and do what you have always done? You are a failure anyway; just go crawl back to the hole you came from. My mind is on overload, the room begins to spin. Then as God does, he places someone in my life when the timing is right.
A nurse walks past my door and looks in. She said these words that continue to have a profound impact on my life. “Are you going to just sit there and suffer in silence or are you going to get about to living again?” I sat there stunned, and mumbled something unintelligible. As quickly as she appeared, she disappeared and I fell on the floor. I grabbed the edge of the bed and mumbled these words, “God, if you will help me, I will try.” I passed out and wouldn’t wake up for 2 days.
Now before anyone jumps to visions of rapture, healing, and divine intervention I would ask you to consider the following. I had not tried honestly to do anything, for anyone, let alone myself in years. The room did not fill with a bright light nor did I hear the voice of God, I was praying out of desperation to something I didn’t even believe in anymore. I had asked God for help in the past, selfish help. You know, God get me out of this, or God give me that, but I had never honestly asked God for help.
God and I had become disenfranchised years ago. I had even studied at one point in time to become a minister. I became bitter towards the church due to my addiction and the personalities that I found there. I didn’t feel like I fit in no matter how hard I prayed, no matter how hard I read the Bible, no matter how hard I portrayed myself to be an upstanding man of God’s word. It wasn’t enough. The reoccurring theme that has prevailed through my life. Whatever avenues I sought while still having a clouded mind, body, and spirit were never enough.
I am sure I will touch upon the God subject throughout this book. For those who don’t believe in God, it’s cool. When I first heard of God in recovery I thought of Charlton Heston. That’s the truth. I was trapped in ideas gathered from my childhood. I have come to understand God is more what I don’t understand than what I do.
“You’re Bob, right?” John asked me. John was my counselor in treatment. A straight up big black dude with dreads. This isn’t going to work, I said to myself. You see I was raised in a prejudicial environment and taught that all blacks were trash. I wish I had a better way to put it, but that’s the way it was. It’s something that I am not proud of, nor is it my thought process today. I wondered how is it I am supposed to talk to him. How is it I am going to relate to him? We are worlds apart. We are different. I am better than him, even sitting in detox my ego so large and dominant almost allowed me to miss the most important message I would receive while in treatment; that I was not unique. So as I sat with this guy and he tells me to talk to him about what was going on. He asked me, “Who is Bob and why it is you are here?”
“Why am I here?” How did it get to this point? I’m not even sure. It seemed like it took forever for my life to get to this point and now someone has hit the fast forward button on me. Twenty years worth of drug use and bullshit can have that effect on a person. I began to tell him about what I had been doing, I’m still not sure why. I guess I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. Pain is the greatest motivating factor not only for the using addict but the recovering addict as well. When the pain becomes great enough, the addict will do something.
John looked at me as I sat and cried. I hadn’t cried like this in years. He looked and listened and only said two words to me. He said, “I know”. He told me a little of his story, a little of his life, and I soon realized he did know, he did understand. John was a recovering addict. The basic building block to understanding for the addict is empathy, not sympathy. Empathy can be the driving force that sparks an initial desire for something different in the using addict’s life.
What I realized was that I was not as alone as I thought I was even for that brief moment. Our feelings had paralleled just enough that it affected my spirit. I still felt like shit, had a ton of guilt, had a million feelings, and was at the lowest point in my life but I would soon realize that when all seems lost, there is really nothing left to loose at all.
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