I started taking my wife to the church she asked to go to, we went for several weeks as she eagerly consumed all the doctrine she could. I was there for her, this was the very same church that I had abandoned many years before. I had felt so judged, people looked down on me, after all I was a smoker, a drinker, covered in ink. But I was there for her this go round, how could I deny her the opportunity she was seeking for redemption/salvation? I went to classes with her and did my best to participate without inviting more judgement. It never came. The members welcomed me in with open arms, what had changed? I still drank like a fish, and smoked like a chimney, I even had a lot more tattoos. As I pondered this, the notion crossed my mind, what if all that judgement I had felt before was from myself. I started to question my entire childhood. What if it was all how I perceived something, and not in fact how it was?
I started to think about childhood memories at home, I didn’t have any that were good, but why? I know I had a decent childhood, my father spent twenty plus years working a job he despised to make sure we had what we needed, anytime I came into trouble in my adult life my parents helped in any way they could providing it didn’t go against their moral convictions. Where did all my memories go? I had spent so long hating the people in my life that I had blocked out all my good memories, this must be why I could not stop drinking, even though I knew it wasn’t doing me any favors.
As I continued to go back to church, I started actually enjoying the feeling of acceptance I was getting, I had never really felt that way before. I decided to give God a shot. I started this trial of faith by paying my tithes, I figured if I could do that, then I could get through anything that came my way. I paid tithing for a few months before I really noticed anything different, I just figured I had turned my back on God for so long, how could I expect him to bless me just because I followed one commandment and paid a few bucks from my check to the church each week. But here’s the thing, out of nowhere I started getting money back from the most random places. I started getting people wanting to buy lumber that I had cut, or in one case the university I attended got sued by the FTC, and settled, I got a check from that. It was nothing that was going to make me rich, but if I was looking short on bills, it has always been enough to cover them and yes, this random income always comes in when I need it the most, even as I write this. Now has it been going on all along and I just never just now noticed because I changed my outlook? Doesn’t matter, because it is happening, and I feel blessed because of it. Back to going to church, I started to forgive the people in my life for all the wrongs that had been done to me, they probably didn’t even know I was hanging on to so much hatred for so long, I was only hurting myself. And that brings me to my next point.
Just let go of the disappointment, the anger, the hate. It isn’t doing anybody any good. How much have you already given up thriving on something from the past that should have never been given a second thought? The time with the family lost because we were too drunk to have a meaningful conversation. The thousands of dollars down the drain to keep ourselves numb. Don’t just forgive others, forgive yourself. I have found that most of my problems were caused by myself, often because I was too hard on myself. Just let it go. After I learned how to forgive, I learned the power of forgiveness. There are people out there that I will never be able to make amends with, hopefully if any are reading this you can know how sorry I am for doing you wrong, if this is as close as I can get to making amends, hopefully it will be enough. Anyway, after I forgave, it was almost simple to quit drinking, I still crave a drink from time to time and I have been four years sober, but it does get easier.
Be persistent, don’t let a little relapse get you down. Your life is worth so much more, to so many more people than you will ever realize. I have had quite a few loved ones lost by their own hand, it devastated me. I have seen the trauma it causes the families and friends, a trauma that lasts. I have seen the health effects of addiction, why put yourself through that? At the end of the day you need to ask yourself, are you really happy? What about in the morning when you throw up last nights dinner? Take some time to search your soul, I’d bet you aren’t really happy, and your loved ones are paying for you to forget about what you have already forgotten. Just let it go. God will work miracles in your life, but he isn’t going to make you see them, that’s up to you.