The day she was born was one of the greatest days of my life. From before she was born we formed an inseparable bond. She became my world and I would do anything for her. She was my greatest joy. A joy that shone so bright into a life that had begun to sink into a prison of darkness that I was completely unaware of. A joy that would be my saving grace. A joy that would give me reason to succeed and not fail. A joy that I would never do anything to destroy. At least that was my intentions. I found myself divorced a year and a half later and relegated to part-time status with my greatest joy. That is when I began to drink my greatest joy into my biggest regret.
Before she was born I normally drank on weekends and holidays. Normal I thought, even though I drank to excess each time. Those occasions became less and less about family, football, or the holidays and more and more about the booze. It was limited then to just those occasions but of course as the true alcoholic I was, I could make anything an occasion. Fantasy football drafts, breaks from school, even a nice summer day became an occasion to drink. It was what all my friends did so it was normal and not a problem. Or so I thought!
Then came the divorce, my jumping off point. I was only able to be with my greatest joy a few days during the week and every other weekend. I had not figured that into the plans for my life that I so well had constructed. When I was without her I was lonely, confused, and heartbroken. I sought out companionship in the only social realm I knew, alcohol and a bar. After 3 to 4 years I drank on most days I didn’t have her. Having no idea that I was an alcoholic I was doing all I could to stop the pain and shame I had of myself. I had no self worth whatsoever. The pain was slowly killing me from the inside. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states that alcohol is cunning, baffling, powerful and I came to know that all too well.
The last year of my drinking it completely overtook my life. I missed 47 days of school before Spring Break and didn’t care whether I was fired or not. My finances fell into complete disarray. I hurt my children, family, friends as they all watched me slowly slip into a man they did not know and close to death. All of these are regrets that I carry but the biggest regret is letting alcohol come between me and my baby girl. The joy who I would never have done anything to destroy, yet there I was in full destruction mode. Being drunk became more important than my little girl. I would make excuses to not see her on my visitation days. It is a choice to this day that I cannot believe I made. But I made it and my greatest joy had now become my greatest regret.
In March of 2014 I had finally had enough and agreed to go to rehab. I have to give credit to my brother Kerry. He was the driving force in getting me help. I went to Valley Hope in Cushing, OK and it was a life saver. While in rehab I learned that I had lost my home, my car, and possibly would lose my job. However the knock out punch was learning that I had lost the rights to see or contact my little girl. Drinking had cost me everything even my greatest joy. How was I to continue? How was I to even care?
At my lowest point I did all I could think to do and I cried out to God for help. I had left him years earlier when he had called me to go to college to become a youth minister but He hadn’t left me. God once again put His grace and call upon my life. With God leading and the help of AA I began to fight to relearn how to think, act, and behave. The drinking had not been the problem it was just a symptom of my brokenness. I had to learn to cope and deal with real life one day at a time. It is a life long process that I am grateful to be a part of. I never stop growing and learning how to be the best ME I can be. My regrets will be there but they are not to drink over they are only memories to remind me and motivate me. I am somebody. I am fulfilling my purpose. The promises really do come true, some quickly and some slowly.
When it comes to my baby I still have so much fear. Fear of not fighting hard enough. Fear of not pursuing her through a court battle. Fear of conflict with my ex-wife which was one of my triggers. Fear that my little girl would forget me and our bond broken. These fears and regrets still can overwhelm me. The good thing today is I know the solution. All my fear and regret is based in selfishness. As long as I hold onto some of it then I can feed my insecurity and ego. Gives me some sort of imagined control over the situation. I must practice acceptance and let go of all my fears. I must rely on God and AA and remember that when I am in control it’s always just a devastating mess. I will no longer allow my fear to keep my greatest joy hostage. I must surrender everything and let my God flip this fear into victory for us both.
Its been 2 years now since I have seen my little girl. She is eight now. I know God is working and will use this to His glory. I am no longer angry or resentful. At the end of the day it was me that brought this upon her and I. I pray daily for her healing and that God surrounds her with His care and love. My greatest joy is still my greatest joy. She is the fuel to my purpose. She is my angel. I LOVE YOU KK!