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Remember the Delta resident Wesley Storz who spotted the abandoned vehicle in Delta, Lousisiana? In the covering of the news in real time, the focus is always the story at hand. The who, what, where, when, and why of the event in question. The people involved always have stories of their own that don’t necessarily relate to the news. This is part two of his story, you can read the first part here.

Dirty Laundry

When I shared my story last week a little part of me worried how the people in my life would react. Overwhelming most were supportive, and there were others who didn’t agree or understand. A very sweet lady I deliver food to once a week looked me in my eye and just started crying. She said, “Honey, I am just so embarrassed for you airing your dirty laundry.”

Everyone has a story. Some have led exemplary lives, other have led a life of just out right evil, and some like me have struggled with areas of my life that just aren’t pretty. The normal response is to hide away that part of ourselves that people can judge us negatively about. With an addict, a healing addict, or some who hasn’t had an addiction problem in years these are very scary thoughts.

It’s the hidden parts of us that tend to fester. That festering, and the problems underneath, spreads to every other aspect of our lives. As it says in James 1:14-15, “each person is tempted by evil desires and it eventually leads to sin and death”. In an addict, that’s what the hidden parts of our lives do.

Last High

I shared with the lady that asked me about airing my “dirty laundry” about the last time I used. Without going into the details, I explained that I had let the way someone had been talking and treating me fester. I let myself get physically drained, and the most important thing I had put down my chief line of defense for over a week, which is the bible. I stopped casting my anxieties on God like it says in 1Peter 5:7 and I let that anxiety and the resentment stay hidden and grow. Two months of that festering and a week without the word, and I was high just like that. I offer no excuse and cast no blame. It all squarely lays on my shoulders.

That last time I used turned into two days of hell. The hell of trying to hide the high and how and what I did while I was high. Luke 8:17 plainly tells us what’s done in the dark will come to light. Sometimes its three days, sometimes it’s 10 years, and for some it’s immediate. It always comes out.

By the third day of the last time I used, the how’s and the what’s of it where used to embarrass me and shame me in about as public manner as you can. Everyone I knew in a matter of hours had heard I had gotten high, the gossipy twisted version of it anyways. I take full responsibility and offer no excuse. My thoughts ranged from I wanna die to how I had hurt everyone.
Everyone was just sitting there watching and listening. One person was standing over me and he kept repeating a comment that snapped me out it. In that moment I felt such overwhelming pity for this person and then such anger, it was a motivating moment.

I tell you all of this because any lingering feelings of how embarrassing my addiction was is gone forever. I feel shame sometimes, and I am certainly not proud of those years of my life but I can’t hide it away because it becomes far more dangerous to me and others I loved.

Trust, Delight, Commit

I prayed to God that night that his will be done. I didn’t pray selfish prayers of “If you do this, God, I won’t ever do this again.” I never thought God needed me to do anything for him. I always new my place with God, even if I rejected the relationship for years. In the still of those prayers God answered me with a feeling of calmness and peace that I hadn’t felt in months. I had cast my anxieties on him and more importantly I kept them there.

From that moment God has given me more in life than I could every hoped to have regained. Psalm 37:3-5 says “trust, delight, commit to the lord and he will make our righteousness shine to be still and patiently for him, finally do not fret.” That’s what I did and wow.

I couldn’t have made it through without my two friends and mentors. They supported me in every way. The thing is getting through, pressing on, and growing from it. God has used these two men to help me do just that. Anytime I call they answer and any problem I have they help me through. Any way I am out of line they help me step back in. I trust them because the public matches the private and they always counsel as I the word of God says to.

God took the embarrassment away and replaced it with an overwhelming desire to help others. I have enjoyed the classes and youth groups I have gotten to speak with. I have loved every time I have been able to lift someone out of that muck and mire. Its all only possible by keeping my past in its place; out of sight but never far from my mind.

Next week I won’t be talking about myself, but I am gonna get the chance to talk with an exceptional man who has been clean for over half my life. Its amazing to hear encouraging and uplifting accounts of peoples lives who have faced the death that drugs and alcohol offer and have overcome with God. I can’t say it any better than JOHN 3:16.

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