Sunday, June 17, 2018

How I Got Clean from Drugs and Alcohol


I grew up in a medium sized town named Wausau, Wisconsin.  I’m 33 years old today.  I started using drugs and drinking when I was 17 years old.  My parents got divorced around that time.  And I got expelled from high school for threatening to blow up the school while I was high.  My first drugs were pills from the doctor that made me feel good.  And I got into drinking, and smoking dope shortly after that. 

My main drinking and drugging career took place from age 17 to 27.  I really loved to get high, and drink, and smoke cigarettes.  I really enjoyed getting together with friends, going to parties, getting drunk, meeting girls, and all of that.  I had always been super nervous around people, and around girls, so I was really excited to find something that took that fear away. 

I felt like I had found “it.”  You know?  I found my magic.  I had a secret weapon to somehow deal with the world.  Everybody seemed so put together, they didn’t have anxiety like me, they didn’t struggle to find their place.  Later I found out that’s just the face people put on, they have those same struggles, they just hide it better than me.

When I was 20 I caught my first drug charges.  I ended up sitting 30 days in jail for that, then I got a drunk driving, and a disorderly conduct.  In the police car I was threatening to kill the family of the police officer who was driving.  That’s how I get when I’m loaded.  I smashed up my moms car.  I got put on papers, then got revoked off papers, then I was off papers again, then I was back on papers. 
When I was 23 years old, when I got my 2nd DUI.  So I went to a treatment center, for the first time, and I actually stayed sober for about a year after that.

And in that times, it’s just amazing what being sober can do for a life.  Everything in my life got better.  I was going to 3 meetings a week, but slowly I stopped going to the meetings. I was in college at the time, and I wanted to be able to participate in the college party life.  I felt closed in and unable to talk to people again.  I felt disconnected from the people around me.

This really began the low, low part of the journey. I was in treatment centers and mental hospitals 12 times. I kept trying to stay clean, and then I’d relapse a month later, a week later, a few months later, and I would just run out of steam and go back to what was familiar. It was like when I was clean, I felt awful.  I felt so depressed, anxious, miserable, hollowed out, like there was a big hole in my chest.

I had gotten into stronger drugs by then and my drug of choice was destroying my body.  At age 26 I overdosed, and nearly died in the ICU.  Then it happened again at age 27.  I was dangling from the cliff of death itself, and there was no hope.  None. 

The loneliest place a man can be is when he’s given up all hope that things can ever change. And you resign yourself to death.

Then came the moment.  I’d read the Bible.  I’d studied the word.  But it never quite clicked in my mind that I should cry out to Jesus from the depths of my soul for help.  But it came into my mind that night.  And I fell onto my knees, a bloated, near death, complete monster of a man, body falling apart, and I cried out to Jesus Christ for help so hard that it felt like everything around me shook, and the well of darkness within me cried out for mercy to Jesus Christ the King in Heaven.  And Jesus swept in, and over the next few days, I started going to AA meetings again. 

Jesus told me, go back to AA.  That’s the last place in the universe I wanted to be.  Anything but AA.  But I went.  And I got sober.  I stayed sober.  In my first 90 days I got a sponsor who worked me through the steps and I actually did the stuff they told me to do, I actually turned my will and life over to God, I actually wrote down my inventory honestly, sharing every awful detail, page after page, it was 47 pages long, and I just poured my soul out to my sponsor in the 5th step.  I went on for 12 hours the first day and another 4 hours the next day. 

I turned over my character defects to God, and He started removing them one by one.  I began making amends to my mom, my dad, my sister, to old friends, and to other people in my past.  I actually did it.  I didn’t fight, and argue, and complain and then refuse.  I kept doing it.  I was dedicated, I wanted recovery very badly.  Because I had hit rock bottom. 

I went to about 10 meetings a week during my first 18 months in the program.  I went to 7 AA meetings, and usually 3 NA meetings a week. And I started hitting Celebrate recovery meetings up at the church on the hill.  So I was praying each night to Jesus, asking Him for guidance, reading the Bible constantly on my computer on biblegateway.com.  And I asked Jesus what next: He sent me to a church, I asked a lot of questions, got involved with ministry, I joined the prayer team, I joined a small group, and I just kept praying and praying, and asking Jesus for another day clean. 

But something had changed. Because in the past all those times I’d tried to get clean and stay clean I was trying to do it myself.  I was trying to force myself to be a good person and go to my meetings.  But I couldn’t do it myself.  Today it’s all about God almighty. Jesus is the engine in the center in my recovery vehicle chugging me forward.  Without the engine, I would always slip back after a few months.  But now with Jesus powering the whole project, and God almighty being the one I constantly turn to in my own weakness, God provides all the power I need to stay clean and sober and work for Jesus. 

I serve Jesus now.  That’s the trade off.  There’s no half-measures.  I serve Jesus now with my whole life.  Plain and simple.  Anything else is hell, literally.  That’s what you have to do, give it all to Jesus.  And give control of your life to Him, like I mean you literally check every decision with Christ in prayer.  It ain’t easy. But it can certainly be done and more in the power of Jesus.  So all this happened by Jesus, not by me. And that’s how I got clean and stay clean each day. 

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