There is so much that scares me. Guilt and fear have been the main motivating factor in most of the decisions I have made in my life. I come from a blue collar family. My parents were very young when they had me. Looking back at it, I always felt like I robbed my parents of their youth. I was the reason that my parents had to work so long and so hard, and I was the reason they didn’t have much to show for it. I have heard many times through
There is so much that scares me. Guilt and fear have been the main motivating factor in most of the decisions I have made in my life. I come from a blue collar family. My parents were very young when they had me. Looking back at it, I always felt like I robbed my parents of their youth. I was the reason that my parents had to work so long and so hard, and I was the reason they didn’t have much to show for it. I have heard many times through people’s stories that they didn’t feel loved growing up. I never felt that way. I know that my parents love me. I know they did their very best, and for them I am eternally grateful. With that being said, growing up was hard.
Some people say that if they could go back to their childhood and adolescent years they would. They would relive the joy and excitement of a spotless future. They would go back in time and marvel at a world full of magic and possibilities. Personally, I would not. I wouldn’t relieve those years for a million dollars. Too much pain. The funny thing is, all of that pain I felt was self-inflected. I was always trapped inside my own skin. I was a prisoner of my own thoughts. Agoraphobia of the mind, and I did not like to venture off. Fear was my reasoning for my arrogance, for my anger, and ultimately for my pain. It feels good to be able to admit that now, and let go of those burdens I have carried for so long. It was never anyone’s fault but my own.
I think of all the times I was put in handcuffs, all the times I was jumped in drug deals, and all the times I came home with black eyes and broken bones. None of it was enough to make me stop. Let me tell you about the moment I knew I had lost complete control. It was late June 2009. At this point I was already physically dependent on a powerful pain killer. I was 2,304 miles away from home. I was in a hotel room in northern California. I was with my mother, who had been flown to Stanford to have a brain tumor removed. The day before her operation, she had one last appointment with the surgeon. He was going to explain exactly how the procedure would happen, and answer any last minute questions. My mother had already lost the use of her body. She had once been tall and strong, with auburn hair and freckles on her cheeks. Suddenly she was weak, and in a wheelchair. Her face was lopsided and her once beautiful hazel eyes were now dull and bleak and pointed in two different directions. This was the woman who, with no education, had raised me and my sister. Who grew tomato’s in the summer, and who taught me how to dance. This was the woman who taught me how to talk to girls, how to stick up for myself, who taught me how to love. This was the woman who gave me my heart. She had become broken and frail. There was nothing I could to do help her. She looked at me in despair and asked if I would go to the appointment with her. She was afraid, and I said no. She left, and I snorted pills off of the hotel room dresser. Fear, it seems, had won this battle.
My addiction had consumed me, it had taken over. I was on a rite of passage, and that was the longest night of my life.
Two plus years later, I no longer let my fear control me. I went to rehab shortly after returning home. I have been clean since Sept 30 2009. My mother is alive, but is a daily struggle for her to live her life in peace. I know that by staying clean, I do my part in making her life a bit easier. Do not be confused, I am still afraid. I am afraid to talk to strangers, actually I am afraid to talk to people in general. I spend most of my free time by myself, or with my dog. The difference is, God helps me push through my fear today. I do not pretend to understand God. When I pray, I don’t necessarily think that anyone is listening. However, in these moments when I talk to God, I do not feel so alone. I feel that I am tapping into the Spirit of the Universe, and I am connected with the life-force that is everything around me. I think that the word God can be replaced with the word love, and I think that hate can be replaced with the word fear. None of that is important. The fact is that on the days that I wake up, and ask God for help, I do not get high. I do not loathe in a bottle of Southern Comfort. I do not obsess over my love affair that is OxyContin. That alone is good enough for me.
I try hard to not question these things. I could spend hours pondering the meaning of all this. Why was I so freely given this gift, when others spend their last days in drunken agony? I don’t waste time debating the paradox that is human behavior. On some days I am so ashamed and disgusted in the atrocities of humanity, other days I am so overwhelmed and consumed in its beauty, that it brings me to tears.
Here is what I believe. I believe that God is a force that is above and beyond my comprehension. I believe that if I stay clean, I will be happy. I will not be paralyzed by my fear. God gives me courage, and courage gives me faith. Faith in the idea that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be. The question is, and this is the only question, what do you believe? If I could give only one piece of advice to you, it would be this. Believe in something.