What is the gift of desperation?
There was a time in my life when alcohol and drugs, and the countless painful consequences that accompanied them, had beaten me into submission. I was bankrupt morally, spiritually and physically. There was no joy in my life. Each morning when I would come to, I would dread the day that lied ahead. Sometimes I was maligned by hangovers, sometimes I was still drunk, slowly slipping out of the stupor that I so eagerly slipped into the night before. Then there were the times when I didn’t sleep at all. Wired up for days at a time, peeping through the blinds of my domicile, watching whatever life I could see, watching it pass me by as I sat in a prison of my own making.
As soon as the fog lifted enough for me to ponder this question, my mind immediately went to how would I get loaded tonight and, more importantly, how could I afford it?
I lived like this for years. Gradually it took its toll on not only my life, but also on the lives of those unfortunate to be affiliated to me through family, friends, or acquaintances. Alcohol and drugs had made me an outcast. I was not aging gracefully or with a sense of meaning. I stood for nothing and represented myself as nothing more than a lost soul, a sad case, someone parents pointed out to their children as someone to avoid.
I knew these things but continued on my journey to oblivion, spiraling further and further into the pits of a living hell. There seemed to be no way out. Death was to be my redeemer. It was only a matter of time. I had become numb to that reality and continued on, knowing the shoe would drop but not knowing when. I had given up. I had reached that hopeless state of mind and my body was doing all it could to reach that state as well. There and then the pain would end.
But that was not to be my story.
Living in constant fear…about anything and everything, the chaos in my mind swung violently to pride as the fear of being found out, even in death, paralyzed me. What would people say? What would they think? Once again oblivion won out and my fears were overcome…for the time being. This went on a while too. I couldn’t live and I wouldn’t die.
“God help me,” was all I could manage.
And soon He did help me. Somewhere, almost as if out of nowhere, a spark of hope was generated deep within my belly. Initially it was more of a desire to live than it was a desire to get sober. I would soon find that for me to live rather than exists, sobriety would be essential. But at this time I knew about as much about sobriety as I knew about living life as it came on its terms, which was nothing. Fear still ruled my being but the spark of hope remained, and as it remained it grew.
Eventually that divine spark of hope spark grew into a willingness to follow my heart, where I had come to believe I could overcome my addictions to alcohol and drugs. That spark of hope, that spark that seemingly ignites out of nowhere, like a lonely ember still clinging to life in a long extinguished campfire, was my gift of desperation. I had given up but the creator of the universe had other plans for me. Out of my hopelessness came hope. Out of my despair came compassion and the ability to love others.
These are only examples of the blessings I have been graced with through the gift of desperation. It is the gift that brought me out of the darkness and into the light. It is he gift that has allowed me to enjoy sobriety one day at a time. It is the gift that allows me to share what sobriety and the unexpected joys of life can bring.
It is my hope that you too can experience the gift of desperation. Painful as it is, it is a beginning in hope and a beginning of a faith that lasts a lifetime.
God bless you this day.