A good friend of mine, one of my best friends, reminded me of something last night. Thanks Dennis.
In a handful of very short years I left a swath of wreckage in my wake that was enough to make my parents cut me off entirely. This is saying something too. My mom, before she became a nurse in the 60’s, was just one month away from taking vows – as a nun. I am not kidding. I pissed off a nun enough to turn her back.
Now that we’ve established that my past contains some monumentally stupid decisions, please allow me to bring this back…
December 1, 1992 1:30 am. Dawn Farm In-patient Treatment Center – top bunk of my sleeping quarters:
I hadn’t slept well in days. No more than a few hours a night. The shaking that had set in shortly after the alcohol worked its way out of my system two weeks ago was unbearable. Looking back 20 years later, imagine that you’re shivering like you’re freezing but you can’t stop sweating – that’s what DT’s (Delirium Tremens) are like. Now we’re not talking about sitting out by a campfire in the early fall type of “freezing”. We’re talking about laying out in the snow for the last hour or two, 15 degrees below freezing, 30 mile an hour winds, naked – that’s freezing. The shaking was so bad that I had to resort to drinking a Coke in a glass, through a straw. The hamster wheel in my head was going a mile a minute…
“What if I’m dying, what if this is the end, God am I really that bad? Fuck! What can I do, will it be this bad when I leave and go back to drinking (yeah, even in the midst of this I still planned on drinking again once I’d gotten my ass out of the frying pan)”.
Over, and over and over again these thoughts would circulate. My heart was pounding… I couldn’t stop them.
“Is this what it’s like when the DT’s kill you? I can’t keep living like this. I don’t want to die”…
“God, please… I know I’ve been a loser and I’ve pretty much wasted a great life, but I’ll make you a deal: I’ll give sobriety a chance, not a bullshit half-hearted attempt, I’ll give it the best that I’ve got, if you’ll just help me. Please”!
I was in tears at this point, exhausted, beat up. Spent… And that’s when my miracle happened. The hamster wheel screeched to a halt and I drifted off to sleep. The next four and a half hours of sleep were the best I had in years. When I woke up in the morning, when I sat up in bed, a smile crept across my face. I knew God said, “Okay”. I could feel it down to my baby toes – and I was going to live up to my end of the bargain.
I didn’t know how big a deal this was back then, how much that restless night would change me forever. It wasn’t until I was standing at a podium in front of a group of friends about to give my first “Open Talk” rubbing my “1 Year” coin with my thumb that I began to look back on that night as the night everything changed. That was the night. On the top bunk in a room in Dawn Farm, shivering and sweating like I’d run a Death Valley marathon from the DT’s, was the night that I was saved.
My name is Jim, and I am an alcoholic. 20 years and 355 days ago I made a promise to God that I’d give sobriety my best shot if He’d just help me… After all of the shit that I’d pulled; after all of the lying, cheating, stealing, manipulation and deception – enough to turn the back of my own once “almost nun” mother… God still saved me. Sure I did the work. I worked the Steps, I cleaned up the past and made my amends, but God carved the new path. I just went for a walk.
You may believe in a Fire and Brimstone kind of God, and that’s perfectly okay with me, but where I run we’re allowed our own conception of God…and from where I’m sitting, He’s just like my dad, only the love is perfect.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see…
From where I’m standing, those are the sweetest words ever written, said or sung. They’re my life in a nutshell.
Have an awesome day.
Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure. Thank you. 😉
I can hear my father saying this very testimony from years ago. Afterwards, I was friends with one of the most amazing men I ever met. Unfortunately, my older sibs didn’t get the chance, and have no idea who this father is that I get to refer to. Of course they admire his strength and resolve, but have no idea who this person was afterwards. They had left the home, only I got to see God’s handiwork. I do hope the two of them, Abba and my own Daddy, reach down and give my daughter this same strength and resolve, because I know who lives deep within her, and that’s why my love continues to be unconditional.
Yours is a tough place to be my friend.
You’re lucky to have seen your dad get better. Mine called me from jail months after I quit – though I’ve never had a problem with his.
There is hope.
Literally gave me goosebumps! I tell my friends all the time that I’m glad God’s not “fair”. If He gave me what I deserve…well, let’s just say I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. Continued blessings to you and yours! 🙂
Thank you for the kind words, and for the blessings, to you as well.
Jim, you need to call Rob Ford in Toronto. That man does not realize he has a problem. You saw the problem and took action. Very inspiring.
Rob Ford needs to call me. Until he pops his head out if his ass, talking to him will be useless as tits on a bull. Thank you for the compliment brother, I greatly appreciate it… Oh, and thank you for inspiring my next post! Great thinking brother!
[…] I Am Living Proof that God Doesn’t Keep Score… […]
Amen, and congratulations!
[…] favorite, again about my recovery, was “I Am Living Proof that God Doesn’t Keep Score“. One final post on recovery that I enjoyed writing and did make it pretty high on the […]
The beauty in simplicity. Simple is not the normal word I use for alcoholics. Alcoholic whom have found sobriety by the hand of God, Yes!! His grace is sufficient. I myself found great joy in mountain biking in my recovery for 2 plus years. As I am blessed to reside in the magnificent P.NW. There is a trail that awaits just outside my front door. This past year some health issues have taken over that love for the ride(Epilepsy), meds are not controlling it. So I am house bound. So here I sit knowing once again God has a plan, and all glory will be given to Him as I remain steadfast. My days are long, hard, and even boring. I can’t drive right now. Just hanging on to knowing the mystery of God’s will.
I love your story. Thank you for sharing. Mine will continue to unfold. I am 3 years and 8 months sober. I could taste death. How awesome to share on the weekend we celebrate Christ’s death, and resurrection so that we can have life if we surrender, and die to self.
God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on him.
~ J. Hudson Taylor
Keep on writing, and keep on keeping on for the prize. God’s grace is why I sit here living proof of Him in me. For I am nothing without Him. We get to celebrate great stories of victory in the grace we bask in daily. Blessing in Christ the great redeemer, Lisa
[…] Well the last one is probably still my best, but this is a close second: I Am Living Proof That God Doesn’t Keep Score […]