Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.JC (Matt. 17:20)
I know, I know, some of you have been wondering and anticipating this chapter. And if I am going to honest, I just did not feel the need to write, right away. God, my higher power, had other plans for me. However, today, April 22, 2019, as I sit here at Starbucks drinking this hot coconut milk matcha latte, I feel the Spirit of God urging me to write. And so, here it goes:
35 months sober on this earlier, hot 78 degree day with pop-up thunderstorms and I’m thinking about where to start…
Let me start this chapter on August 31, 2016, my 101st day sober. I’m in front of St. Michael’s statue across from St. Michael’s church in Old Town, Chicago, on my knees with my sponsor, Tim, praying outside publicly. No one was around; at least that’s what I thought because my eyes were closed. Haha. Laughing at my own joke. Anyway, I have to rewind this story a little bit…
Let’s go back about six months prior, sitting in a Motel 6 in Elk Grove Village, after just losing my job working at a nice downtown Chicago hotel on Michigan avenue. This was the start of spending my last $6,000 to my name, from my 401K, on crack cocaine, beer, and booze. It would take me less than 6 weeks later to spend it all. You see, my whole life had revolved around me trying to control everything. I tried almost my entire life to do everything my way. What I didn’t realize at the time was my way is what got me to this motel room smoking crack out of a glass pipe in the first place. I was a slave to myself, and I was the slave master of myself, if that makes sense.
As I bossed my “so-called” friends around giving them money to get more crack and more beer, I had some messed up time to think alone in this stinky motel. I was chain-smoking Marlboro 27’s, while they drove off to get me the temporary fix to fill the void in my soul. This fragile human condition that I was in, was a predicament I never thought that I would be in. You see, the more I tried to control people, places, and things, the more I felt frustrated and trapped with this life. In a sick way, I just wanted to die in this motel room. However, the higher power (God) that I did not know yet, would not let me. I was too much of a coward to take my own life. I would later realize why and what my purpose was.
Larry and Curly (obviously, not their real names) finally came back a couple hours later with my crack and beer. It was now a party! At least, so I thought… I couldn’t wait to load that glass dick up with that first rock to make me forget that I was in pain. I wasn’t in pain physically, it was a mental anguish that I just could not shake. No matter how much pot I smoked, shrooms I ate, beer I drank, shots I swallowed, cocaine I snorted, or crack I inhaled; the sadness was still there. Then, I took a hit, and held that crack smoke in for as long as I could until I got that bell ringer in my head, forgetting about my thought pain for what felt like days. To my surprise, when the high had faded, only about two minutes had passed!
“Curly, load up that pipe with another rock! And hurry!” I said. What the heck was wrong with me?! I was so mean and bossy. Oh yeah, alcohol and drugs had turned me into a selfish, ego maniac. Maybe I was already a maniac, but with an ego problem.
Curly handed me the pipe, “Here you go boss. Enjoy.” I took another long hit. This time, the high only lasted about 30 seconds.
“Give me another one, and this time put a bigger rock on it,” I said.
“Yes, you got it. But we are almost out,” Curly said.
“I don’t care, I got money to spend,” I replied. If this was not insanity and me running my life into the ground, then I don’t know what was.
Curly handed me another hit, and a beer. I took the hit, this time it lasted 20 seconds. I don’t even remember exactly, but all I know is the more I kept doing, the more insane and crazy my obsession got. That night, I had probably sent Larry and Curly out three times with my hard earned money to get more drugs and more beer.
Then, two days later, I come to. Alone, in this motel room surrounded by empty bottles of beer, an overflowing ashtray full of butts and ashes all over the table, and just me. When the drugs and beer had run out for the third time, they had called it a night and left me to my own devices. Everything else is a blur, as I tried to figure out who I was as I stared in the streaky bathroom mirror. For one of the first times in my life, I wondered if this was it; I had thoughts about my fantasy suicide. How my life would be better without me in it. Because, the me that I knew, I didn’t know. Who was I? What had I become?! Why was I so selfish?!
Oh yeah, because I thought I was a God. A God amongst men, that controlled the universe and every living, breathing creature on the planet. I was the employee and employer, I was the beginning and the end. And yet, I was smoking crack on the streets with homeless people like street Johnny (not his real name) in Old Town. The very homeless people I made fun of, calling them crackheads and drunks, I had become. Smoking crack under a bus stop on Clark street with three homeless dudes one night felt normal. I was ironically one more dollar away from being on the streets living with these sick people, because I was just as sick as them. I was them. Toward the end of my drinking and drugging career, I thought my way was the best way. Little did I realize that my way, my will never worked…
Back to that hot August 31st day in 2016…
My sponsor, Tim, brought me through the first two steps helping guide me along the way. The principle behind step one was honesty, and I had finally gotten honest with myself that I was an alcoholic/addict. I was also starting to get honest with those around me. That’s great, but I was still hopeless, until I got to step two, where I came to believe that a power greater than me could restore me to sanity. Step two’s principle was hope, and that’s exactly what I had, was hope on that 101st day sober. And now step three…
Step three was a choice I needed to make. I believed in a higher power, but knew that just believing in God was not going to keep me sober. My sponsor had told me that if I let Him, my God of my understanding would take care of me. However, I had to make that decision for myself. Would I? For so many years, I had tried taking care of myself, but we all know where that lead me… broke, no driver’s license, smoking crack on the streets, and mentally lost. And now I was going to trust a power I could not see to take care of me?
Woah, woah, I needed to really think about this. For 101 days, I was getting on my knees praying and asking this higher power for help and it was working, but now I was going to turn my life and my will over to the care of God as I understood Him? Huge decision. But when I thought about it, I had lost almost everything because of my other decisions, so what more did I have to lose? Nothing.
On that very day, when we were reading about step three and turning my will over, my sponsor asked me if I was ready. And I was. That day, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him.
After I said yes, my sponsor had lead me to this church, St. Michael’s, where he used to say all his prayers when he was going through the steps, 20 years prior. The church was closed, but there was a statue outside of St. Michael directly across the street. And Tim had decided that that would be a good spot to pray. I was all for it.
He said, “Okay, we are both going to get on our knees and hold hands and pray.”
I said, “Okay.”
We got on our knees, held hands and he started us off with the third step prayer, we both said, “God, I offer myself to Thee – To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.”
Still on our knees, we had let go of our hands, and Tim said, “Okay, now ask God in your own words to take away your alcoholism and your drug addiction.”
With my eyes closed as I raised my hands up palms open to the sky, I prayed in my own words, “God, please take away my alcoholism and help me do the next right thing. Please take away my obsession with drugs and alcohol. Please and thank you.” I opened my eyes and Tim opened his. As we started to stand up from our knees, the church bell began to ring with its deep tones, a total of three times.
Tim looked at me and said, “Do you hear that? The church bell is ringing three times, for step three.”
I remember thinking, what a weird coincidence, and with a serious face replied, “did you call the priest and tell him to that?” You gotta remember the church was closed and it was unplanned that we were going to pray in front of a statue on a sidewalk. So, how would a priest know to ring a bell or even that we would be there praying at that exact moment. My thinking was still a little off.
Tim responded very seriously in a deep raspy voice, “There’s no such thing as coincidence Drew!” It was at that very moment that I realized God was truly real and without a doubt in my mind knew He was going to take care of me. I had come to the realization of the principle of Step 3, and that was faith. Faith is trust and trust is faith.
Today, 35 months later, I have not lost that faith continuing to do God’s will and more. Faith has made the impossible, possible.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this. I hope this keeps your interest. I truly love you all. Please like, subscribe, comment, and share.
Coming up in May 2019… “Chapter 4 – The Fearless Search of My Inventory”
If you have any questions about addiction or need help or just want to talk, please leave a comment and I or someone in recovery will try and contact you. If it is an emergency, please call 9-1-1.