Updated: Jan 20
As long as I can remember, I have had a God sized hole in my chest. It started right below my collar bones and went down to my belly button. It was a big round hole that just wanted to suck in anything that might make me feel better. And if there was nothing around to suck in, I would go looking. And all the while I was building a case against God. Even as a little kid I was convinced that God should have been protecting me and He wasn't. I could boil it down to these three simple but powerful lies. 1) God didn't care about me the way He cared for everyone else, 2) I was on my own 3) I would have to find a way different from everyone else because their way only worked for people God cared about.
I spent my life fitting everything that happened into those three lies. If bad things happened it was because God didn't care about me. If good things happened it was because I succeeded at doing it my way, on my own. I took charge of everything I did. People called me a natural leader but I considered my leadership skills as just a byproduct of building this life without a template. I wanted to lead so I could make sure that my needs were fulfilled. I now call this "taking hostage" anyone or anything for the purpose of filling that hole.
It didn't work so well when I was a kid. I couldn't get the resources myself. So I learned to manipulate. For example, when I was a toddler, I would scream until I got my way or passed out. And that worked until I could start drinking. The first time I got drunk I was 6 years old. I drank my mom's foo foo drink that she would make in pint jars when we would go camping. I had watched what happened to them when they drank and I knew drinking would solve things for me. So when she left her drink unattended, I took my chance. It was delicious. The bite in the alcohol was the secret ingredient. It worked. My hole felt full and even overflowing. The adults thought it was cute at first but then I remember them being mad at me and I was ashamed. But I knew something they didn't. I discovered the solution to my pain. I knew that they were angry but they didn't understand that I was different, that I needed special things to feel normal. I knew I HAD to do it in order to survive life. It was a small price to pay to get that hole filled. I learned that anything I wasn't supposed to do was the stuff that would fill the hole. So when I figured out at 12 that I could get cigarettes from the older kids in the neighborhood, I started smoking. It wasn't as good as alcohol but it was easier to get and it was better than nothing.
At 14 I discovered drugs. They were also easier to get than booze. They kept me going until I was able to get alcohol. Then the cocktail was complete: I could get exactly what I needed whenever I needed it. It was almost like I had to make up for lost time. My drinking really took off. I became very clever at hiding my drinking because I didn’t want anyone to take it from me. And oh, sweet relief, it worked better than anything else. It carried me though college, moving home, my first job, moving away, making new friends, buying a business, growing that business and more heart breaks. I chased the tail of that dragon until I reached a point where it was causing so many problems that they were stacking up higher than the relief. I had reached the point where I couldn't look anyone in the eye anymore because I didn't know if I did something stupid last night. I didn't know if my drunk personality had hurt someone or if I had made an ass out of myself. My friends and I all played that game. We got as drunk and we could and then everyone was trying not to do stuff they regretted. I always lost. This hurt my hack job pride and I knew I needed to find another way. God used my hack job pride and my illusion that I was self propelled to get me sober. It took several tries, in fact, the last time I got drunk I had been sober for 2 years. That was November 12, 2012.
And that's when God got busy helping me become the foot soldier He needed me to be. He could only do that because I surrendered and asked Him to help. Like, really asked Him. I acknowledged that I couldn't do it myself and that I was incapable. That was the turning point when my life went from drying up to coming to life.