As I sat in my chair in a large multi-purpose room with dozens of other kids I wanted nothing more than to get high. Thoughts swirled in my head. I played out scenario after scenario of where I would go after I signed myself out of the program. Who I could call to come get me and what I would do then. My thoughts did not get very far. There really was no future to any scenario I came up with. The program was hard. Withdrawal was hard. I wanted to quit. I always quit when things got tough. I wanted a better life. Whatever that was.
As I sat there feining for dope I looked up and my first prayer to a god I did not know but somehow deep in my heart knew was there was, "God help me. I can't deal with this sh*t!" And in a minute or so the craving went away for a time. I experienced severe cravings for the better part of a year. Consistent regular desires to get high and get back to my friend who had been with me through thick and thin. That great liar who had led me to nowhere and nothing. Eventually the cravings became less intense and spaced farther apart. I read in the Narcotics Anonymous book that the desire to get high would become like a fancy desireable car passing in front of you. It would stir that fire of desire as you gazed at it but as soon as the car turned the corner the thoughts would disappear. So I learned to take a deep breath say a simple prayer and move on. And that is what I have been doing for the past 24+ years.
There was a moment during the early days of my stay in that treatment center (that I considered the equivalent of a Turkish bootcamp) that I struggled with letting go of that undefineable grip that an addict's personality holds on that glimmer of hope that is ignited in a newly recovering person. I had just given an really unemotional accounting of my history to the parents and other kids in the program (several hundred in all) and was getting a stern talking to by the staff. Then a staff member asked me what I wanted. After a long pause I stated I wanted to be happy. He looked at me and replied that if I wanted to be happy I will. When he said the word will it was like the floodgates had been opened. I wept. I wept openly. I could not help it. I prayed and wept and it was like I had been washed clean. That doorway between God and me seemed to have been opened a little bit. Whatever obstacle had been in the way was moved to the side.
Upon relection it does seem that my greatest spiritual strides have coincided with some crisis. That the pain of living this life reaches a crescendo where something has to give. I am going to venture a guess and state that I have to give. That God is trying to push through and my resistence is the source of pain. I have never received from God anything but blessings and grace and joy so it has to be me. I have let it take a lot of pain a lot of times to get back to remembering that.
Interestingly enough my belief in Jesus Christ, His life, His death and His ressurection did not come through any immediate crisis I had caused in my life.
My understanding is that most people not raised in Christian homes tend to come to a belief in Jesus through crisis in their lives. I do believe that my faith has certainly been strengthened through some trials and tribulations since being called to the faith. But let's go back now to having read all 12 "Left Behind" novels and my realization that I really did not believe in anything.
(to be continued)