When I broke loose from the binds that tied me as a child; I ran smack dab into the world of drugs. I took all the pain of childhood and buried it deep within this world of death and nothingness. I would spend five years of my life trying to escape its clutches; as well as twenty plus years trying to figure out why I went down that path in the first place. Addiction was a powerful force in my life at a time when my mind was weak, and overtook my every waking hour. At times, it is hard for me to comprehend that this was my life; as it plays like an old movie in my mind.
Along with addiction come other habits that coincide with the mindset of a junkie. A junkie becomes a master manipulator, lying and stealing to get their daily multiple doses of euphoria. However, the reality is that the euphoria is only experienced the first time; from that point forward you slide deeper into your addiction trying to recapture that first time high. You never find it, and before you know it you are a slave to that which you though would set you free.
I wreaked much havoc during my years as a junkie. I hurt those that I loved the most and I risked the lives of my children. I told outrageous lies and had no problem with stealing. A junkie’s life is filled with drama; mostly from their own making. For years, after getting clean, that drama would follow me. The farther I tried to get away from it the more it seemed to come at me. The addiction lasted for five years; the ramifications from being addicted lasted much longer.
When you come out of a stupor such as I had; you fight to stay away from the old habits and try to get focused. An acquaintance during this time in my life would say something to me that would resonate within me and set me on the path to figuring my way out of the world that I had created. This person told me that, “Proximity leads to opportunity. If you place yourself in the proximity of successful people, you will become successful; however, if you place yourself in the proximity of losers, you too, shall be a loser.” It made sense to me and it gave me a focus I never had before.
How many times did I pray to God during those drug-induced years to get me away from that which I had placed myself in? Hindsight shows me that he answered my prayers. I have been clean for over thirty years. If it was not for my children and dear friends that I managed to keep throughout my years of deception, I would truly not believe that this was my life. I sit and wonder how I could have allowed myself to fall into such an obvious trap.
However, it wasn’t obvious to me back then. I was a sexually abused teenager that was running away from a situation that I couldn’t tolerate any more. I was always the “forgiving” type; falsely believing that the abuse I had suffered had not affected me. Only now, years later, do I realize that my “forgiving” was my way of ignoring what had happened; bound and determined that I was going to not let it take hold of my life. I convinced myself that I was in control and I wasn’t.
Am I proud of that past? No. Do I regret that past? No. That past has contributed to the person I am today. Today, I am empathetic to the pains of others. Today, I care about my family and friends. Today I speak only the truth. Today, I don’t take what is not mine. Today, I live in faith and not in fear.
The drug world is a deadly place, where one high can rob you of your life. I was one of the lucky ones that were able to get away from its icy grip. I had to face the demons of my childhood and I had to forgive myself for what I had done to my life. Have you ever had to forgive yourself? It sounds a lot easier than it is. For years I let guilt of my prior actions affect a negative impact upon my life. If I couldn’t forgive myself, how was I ever going to expect anyone else, including God, to forgive me?
Once I let go of that guilt, I was able to let go of that past. I finally forgave myself my indiscretions and decided to focus on my future. I don’t regret the experience; it happened and it can’t be changed. Through the grace of God I am now a whole person; able to be completely detached of that long ago story, yet, keenly aware of the lessons I learned from the journey.