It is unfortunate that this was not the lesson that I learned until I turned 37 years old, I was none wiser. So what does all this mean? What does my story really sound like?
Well for the most part it is pretty normal for someone to have a story like mine. Filled with hate and discouragement, addiction, and failed ways of living. I was materialistic and lived a life that I could not afford. With not concern or worry about others, always seeking to find someone to love me because I felt that I was the perfect person.
Looking forever in the wrong places and did not care about the consequences. However my life turned upside down in 2016 after an adulterous affair with a woman who was not my wife, and the loss of promotion at work.
The scare of the loss of my family, and no regard to the people who I love, why? Because it was all about me. My selfish self centered way of life finally caught up to me. I couldn’t do one thing about if, I was at my rock bottom, alcohol had completely consumed me, but this also was not the first time either.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25 NIV)
You see my life was filled with worry from a young age, the entire household that I grew up in was consumed by alcohol.
My father was the violent alcoholic that beat my mother, and chased her, my sister and I out of the house with a chainsaw.
My mother was the alcoholic type that would come home at night after working 3 different jobs, only to put us kids to bed, and eventually leave the house for the late night bar call without us knowing.
My grandparents on both side were the traditionalist types, woman stayed home and men worked, and when they got home there better be food on the table with a beer or mixed drink. This is why I only thought it be normal for me to do the same.
I picked up my first drink in 1994 when I was only 14 years old. While all my other friends were going to church on Sunday I was getting drunk in the park by my house.
I used to constantly think to myself that this God thing was fictional, and though I believed in something greater, I never follow a path; but I just knew there was something out there better than me. It was not until I had my first significant run in after I joined the military that I knew, just knew that I couldn’t live a way of alcohol any longer.
In 2005 after a night of drinking and a high speed drive home I was pulled over by a police officer, and while questioning me he asked “have you been drinking tonight”, this was when I decided for the first time in my life to be honest I said “yes” and he decided to let me walk home from the location of where I was, only a few blocks away from my home, however it did not stop there.
You see when you are drink, and noramally nothing bad happens to you, there is a false feeling of confidence, this was when I then turned around to the police officer and decided to tell him what he was not going to do, and that was impound my truck. To no avail this was my first arrest due to alcohol. I was lucky for the first 24 years of my life until this point, and this was my turning point.
The following weeks after this occurred I decided to turn myself into a recovery home for 30 days to get on track to a real life, that life you can live while drinking normal, and for the first 30 days this was great. Probably because every day they conducted a breathalyzer, made me go to meetings and talk about my feelings.
However, being the master manipulator it was easy to hide and cover up. The day that I graduated from the recovery center, not 3 hours later I was drunk, because, you know, when you graduate from a class of any kind you have a party and enjoy the success.
Shortly there after, my wife now and one child on the way I just had to straighten my life up, but still I lived a life of greed, self absorption and no care other than me attitude.
Having a few a night (beers or mixed drinks it didn’t matter), there was a point where my wife told me “ that is it, if you don’t fix yourself i’m gone” and this was when I just had to let her leave, why, because she was the one with the issue, not me; or so I thought.
It is amazing what a simple beverage can do to a person, especially one that has everything going for them, a great job, family, children, nice house, you name it I had it, the perfect life.
Living this perfect life and a few more children later, along 4 year sober spat, and now I was in the year 2012 when I started drinking once again.
Travel was my friend and it was the time that I could just be free away from my family, hide what I was doing and get away with whatever I wanted, and the crazy thing about this was no one would ever know; and no one ever did find out.
Even though no one knew what was going on, I did, and there were days that I just had to drink to stop the thoughts and get out of myself.
Finally in 2016 I made this dream come true, for me at least. This was when all hell finally broke loose and this was my greatest battle with myself, my addiction, my wife, and who I now call my Lord.
For roughly 3 weeks I decided to leave my wife for another woman who I was at one point I thought to be my soulmate.
These events all happen about 6 months after my fourth child was born, after days and night of sneaking drinks without anyone knowing or finding out; and after a fight in the home of my actions towards my wife I decided to finally just up and leave it all behind and be with this woman who I could see myself living the rest of my life with.
I was drawn in to another person and started living a life again of addiction. It was a vicious cycle that seemed to never want to go away.
The time I was going through, a transition at work, and the day I was about to travel, I packed up my belongings from my home and my wife handed me a book, “The Purpose driven life” (Rick Warren)
When I was handed the book I was floored that I received a parting gift and the only thing she said to my was “what I do and no matter what happens to us a family, we had 4 children, Erik you must find a better way of life and living”.
When I opened it up I could not put it down, in addition, I was starting my training as an equal opportunity advisor; It was the most influential 12-week training program I went through in my life.
Along with a training program that helped me find my true calling, why I do things the way I did, I also started attending A.A. meetings in the location where my training was, and here was how to work through my struggles with alcohol, but not only that I, for some reason, open the book my wife gave me all while reading the word of god. This was my turning point 10/1/2016. I will forever remember this day.
This was the day that I found my true path on life, a way to live in this life today of freedom and true happiness. I heard God speak to me in telling me that no matter what I do I must live by his word, and though I will still struggle my life will be filled with joy.
You see I wanted to, so much live the life I chose, and not give myself away to anyone. This could be because of my family history of alcohol, and truly never being able to find out who I am, or always trying to fit in, but when God spoke to me on that day, the words I herd were no one can serve two masters. And I asked myself which on occupies more of my time, selfish ambition or God, and the answer was clear.
As I write this today I am now going on 2 years of sobriety, a recovering marriage, another child has entered my home, and God is my focal point. Though my past demons are still there and will never go away, I found that living the life of God is more of what is necessary for me to stay sober and give back to a family.
My relationship with my now 5 children is greater than ever, since we never gave up hope, I can now tell others that to become successful, and overcome an addiction, first one must give up themselves and trust that there is a great way of living.
I was born again, not because it was the thing to do, but rather because I found Jesus. I now have a new sense in life, a purpose to give back to others. It is not about me, but to serve in a capacity to give back to someone who needs it more than I do. This is why when you find a passion never let it go, never give up, but ask for guidance in something greater than yourself.
Today, I am still in recovering and still have a successful career. Though there have been hiccups along the path over the last 24 months, there is still a light shining on me everyday.
I will not give up just because of a challenge, I will believe in my God to help me continue on my journey. He is the one that has been my leader, my friend. He teaches us a way of life to live, Matthew 5:13 it is written “you are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” So I ask you, are you still filled to be used, and on a hill, or have you decided to build in a valley to not be seen and be trampled.
I have realized that if i give the first 15 minutes of everyday to worshiping God, I will see my many mountains that I thought I was facing turn into mole hills.
My addiction has been removed from me, and I am not saying that I do not see it in front of me, but now I put it into the hands of God for him to take, and I no longer have to carry that burden.
I still face my wife daily and we discuss what I have done to her, but not with anger. We do this by being open minded and allowing God to speak into our hearts. All in all, I believe that God has spoke to me, he whispered that my way of life is not a good way of life, and I must change, and change is what I did.
I changed my lifestyle, I changed my beliefs, I changed my friends, and I changed the most important thing, my higher power. He is why I changed.