02 December, 2016

Born Again

Tonight after my wife had gone on to bed, I found myself in a very reflective mood, thinking back over my past and in my mind, I've journeyed through my lifetime. I have to say, this was all preceded by a conversation I had with someone here in town. It seems I've really aggravated my back and have been in a lot of pain as I have a disc protruding from my back and I just can't find relief. This stems from an old injury, and I know that in a few days it will subside and go back in place. The thing is, this person offered to give me several pills of oxycodone to deal with the pain. I told this person that I do not use medications like that because I have a history of drug addiction and I just don't use pain meds unless it is absolutely necessary. The conversation went south then as they accused me of being so religious that I could not take pain meds. I won't even go into the rest of our conversation, other than to say, this is what took me down memory lane tonight. For several hours now, I've been thinking back to what my life was like, drinking from a very early age and stealing medications from family and friends homes since I was only around 13 years old. I often wonder why and how it was possible to do what I did for so many years and no one pick up on it, but the fact is, times were different back then and I guess no one really suspected children could do such things. 

It is really ironic that this all happened today, because as I took this journey down memory lane, I came to the realization that it was 37 years ago tonight that I had an experience that I carry with me till this day as a damaged a valve in my heart that no longer closes all the way. I had been out on a bender, drinking, popping amphetamines and snorting cocaine for 3 days non-stop. That night, December 1, 1979 I had taken my older brother out to one disco after another with me from about 8:00 PM until around 4:30 in the morning. He was going through a terrible divorce at the time and was staying at my house and he wanted to go home and crash because he had to work in a few hours. He went to sleep and I drew out several lines of coke and did them all. My heart was racing to the point that I thought it was going to jump right out of my chest, and I woke him around 7:00 AM and told him I was afraid. He drove me to the ER and after hours there and I don't know how many medications, they got my heart rate down. They told me I was having a panic attack. I think about this today and wonder how in the world they did not do any bloodwork on me to see if I was lying to them about not doing any drugs. That's just crazy. 

Over the next few weeks, I was in the ER several more times and each time was assessed with a panic disorder. Finally, near the end of that month, my life was falling apart so badly that I took a massive overdose, literally swallowing handfuls of amphetamines and was admitted to a psychiatric unit. The story was that I had a "break down" and they began treating me for having a manic depressive disorder. Still, no one ever questioned my drinking and drug use. They just gave me more pills to take. This went on for 2 more years before my life completely unraveled. I was in and out of the hospital and psychiatric units more times than I can remember in that 2 years, not to mention countless nights spent in drunk tanks and jail cells. Irony of all ironies, it was going to prison that actually saved my life. It's a long story, but suffice it to say that when I finally hit rock bottom, there I found what was missing in my life... the person of Jesus Christ. I'd known about Jesus and played the religious game all of my life, but when I finally had a real, personal encounter with Christ in June of 1981, it radically transformed my life and I was saved not only from Hell, but Hell on earth as well. As I said, I'm amazed when people who knew me then say that they never knew just how messed up on drugs and alcohol I was. Many of them simply say that they just thought I was "crazy". One of my friends, who I used to date, after not seeing or talk with me for nearly 30 years told me that I literally scared her because I was so crazy, but even she said that she had no clue to the dark secret of addiction that I battled back then. So yeah, I have a reason for not accepting oxycodone and other drugs into my body today. I will use meds when I cannot stand the pain any longer, but only meds prescribed by my own doctor, and then only for a few days at the most. I know who my God is, but I simply refuse to tempt fate by relying on any medication to help me cope with pain. 

As I thought back tonight, I find myself so thankful for the deliverance I've received from the bondage of addiction. It almost seems like a story I've read somewhere rather than being my own life. I think thats why they call that personal encounter with Christ being "born again.'  I'm so glad that I've been born again!

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