I was born into a family where I knew my mom and dad loved me. I felt very safe and secure. I was raised in a Catholic home, and I remember when it came time to get confirmed as a teenager, I was told by the priests and my parents that I was supposed to be an example of Jesus from that time forward. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew that if everyone held those beliefs, it would have been easier.
The people I hung around with in the neighborhood and at school didn’t go to church. I wanted to have fun and date, even though I was shy. I started drinking and getting high with my friends because when I did, I didn’t feel shy around girls anymore, and I liked that. I started missing my curfew and came home in the early hours of the morning to sleep off my hangover. Sometimes I would even bring girls home when I knew my parents were asleep.
When my parents confronted me about my behavior, I tried to rationalize it telling myself that partying and being away from my parents was what adults did, and I was an adult. This really hurt and outraged my parents. They kicked me out of the house several times, but they always allowed me to move back in when I stayed clean for a few weeks.
I stopped attending church all together. Sometimes I would stay clean and sober long enough to find employment. I didn’t realize at that time that I was also fighting depression. Then I started becoming manic, being either unnaturally happy, or extremely depressed. That only made my life more chaotic. (I later found out that I am BiPolar.)
My depression led me to feel like my situation with my parents and my substance abuse was really taking its toll on me. I wanted to check out; or should I say check myself out of this world. I wanted to end my life. So I set out to do that and made a plan.
One Friday night, I decided to drink and take some downers. I really don’t remember exactly what or how it happened, but I was driving at a high rate of speed and totaled my 1968 Ford Mustang when I clipped a utility pole. I was taken to St. Agnes Hospital where I was pronounced dead.
That should have been the end of it. But I was brought back to life. God brought me back to life.
All of this should have been a wake-up call for me, but it wasn’t. I kept living by the insanity rule—doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. I didn’t stop partying. I didn’t stop abusing substances. I just kept hoping things would be different for almost 10 years. During this time of active addiction, I went through at least 12 different jobs and wasted enough money that I could have bought a home and a car. I fathered a child, Beth, and even that didn’t get me clean. My mother, my father, and my grandmother all died before I got clean.
Then in 2004 I turned 50. I made the conscious decision to stop using drugs, and people, and my family. I wanted to change with my whole heart and mind, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I found a12-step meeting, read their literature, and started making real friends. In working through the steps, I came to believe that only God could restore my life to sanity. In 2009 I made the decision to hand my life over to Jesus’ care. I asked Jesus into my heart and I am still in his hands. It is only through faith in Jesus that I have been able to be clean and sober for 14 years.
There is life after drugs because Jesus lives and he can redeem the most broken life. I dare not embrace any kind of life without Jesus. I treasure this new life Jesus has given me, and he continues to bless me the more I trust him. In 2016, God gave me the best gift after Jesus; he gave me a wife to love. She is the woman of my dreams. God is and will always be faithful when we put our trust in him.