I asked Dominic to write a follow up to “How to Pray For Your Husband” about a year ago. I could write from a wife’s perspective all day long. And while it holds some weight because I went through it right beside him, it’s not the same as hearing about addiction and depression in first person. I knew had wrote this a couple weeks ago and had been waiting for the right time, (or to get his nerve up) to show it to me and let me read it. This morning, the kids are at a friends, and we sat in bed having coffee. He reaches over and hands me his laptop with his story on the screen and walks away. It’s been an emotional week, so hey, lets just keep the tears flowing.
Here’s his side of our story.
ADDICTION: Addiction is the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.
I feel compelled to write this, years after my wife paved the path. My wife: The most loving woman a man could ask for. In my addiction my wife never stopped loving me for who she knew I really was. She was willing to fight for my life in the most literal sense, like a service man for one of his brothers! She was strong when I was not, that was almost a solid 2 years. Nurturing and raising our kids while I was not mentally capable. She was the one to find the strength to keep me going, even if it was a late night back road drive. Ending at Wendy’s in another county. Thats not where the strength came from, it was that she was obedient to what the Lord was doing in her life. There was a man who was sitting alone by the door when we had walked in, and was leaving as we sat down. After we ordered, the girl from the register had brought us our food and the money we had paid for our meal. She had said the man by the door insisted he buy our meal. Really doesn’t seem like much, but when I look back at the depths of my addiction to my pills and depression that I was in, it still moves me to tears. Even as I write this. Such a small gesture by a complete stranger reinforced Gods love for me! All in my wife’s obedience.
Early in my plumbing apprenticeship I was working on a commercial job and hit my head climbing a ladder, consequently pinching my spinal cord leading to a cervical fusion. The nerve pain extended from my c-5 down to my fingertips on my left hand. I happen to be left handed. I waited 3 months for my workers comp to cover my surgery. In the mean time my hand was experiencing atrophy. The nerve pain was horrible. Just shooting through my arm 24 hours a day without rest. Once I had my surgery my hand worked better but the nerve pain is still there. I was looking to get rid of the pain and spasms because I couldn’t sleep and my neck was now fused with plate and screws reducing mobility and causing claustrophobia. You are a plumber. You can’t be claustrophobic. It was a reduction of mobility that left me feeling like I was being choked a little bit all day. I tried a few different medications to manage pain and spasms but I just never felt like they “worked.” Oh yes, I had pain and spasm management, but I couldn’t remember anything, even if iI tried. I was all thumbs everyday. It didn’t matter what I touched it broke, spilled and fell. Which lead up to the character trait that was my real Demon, Rage! I was so depressed, lost in a fog watching everything around me fall apart now matter how hard I tried to hold it together. I became so impatient that my family and “friends” walked around on eggshells around me, hoping I wasn’t just going to lose it!
I must use the words friends in parenthesis for the fact that when you are wrapped up in your addiction, others feelings don’t matter. It is hard to have friends when you don’t even want to wake up in the morning. Getting out of bed seems meaningless for the fact that nothing makes you happy, and if I just stay in bed maybe tomorrow will be better, or not even come. Without fail I popped my pills and dug myself deeper into depression 1mg at a time. Throughout my injury I prayed often “why me” and “when will it get better?” I went to many different prayer services and meetings hoping that it was going to be the difference maker! Nothing, empty, lonely, sad, depressed, only one thing left to take care of these feelings that the prayer didn’t! I looked at my beautiful wife my handsome son and 2 cute young daughters huddled together in my bed as I grabbed my .357 and tore off down the street headed for a spot in the woods. When I got there I had the radio on, holding that cold piece thinking off all the great things I had in my life. None of which seemed to pry the revolver out of my hand. I thought to myself, “how has my life come to this?” Just then my phone rings- its my wife. She continued to call until I answered. When I finally did she poured out her and Gods love for me through the words she spoke. What she said was everything that i needed to hear, ultimately saving my life. I chickened out and went home only to feel no different other that i was too coward to do it. I would just cry and cry out to God and ask him what he was teaching me?
In all my depression i decided that i was going to quit my pills. I and been reading about King David and what a great man of God he was. Even though he was a sinner God blessed David. It spoke of great battles that David won, most common “David and Goliath” and I could just put myself in his leather sandals! I was empowered through the Holy Spirt to cold turkey quit a 2 year pill addiction. If i felt the same way after not taking them, I knew that i was going crazy. It was a huge decision, I knew that I was going to be experiencing all the withdraw symptoms I had just researched plus the pain and spasms that the pills won’t be “masking.” I was sick like I had never felt before, like I was dying on the inside. I would fall asleep only to wake up in pools of sweat, pillows that had been completely soaked all the way to the cold side. This wasn’t just for the first few days or even weeks, this lasted everyday for well over 30 days. In my detox stages I was trying to get a job and become an normal citizen father. After 40 days of cold turkey sobriety I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth just as I did every morning. This morning was different, when I looked at that guy in the mirror I saw my reflection. I saw life inside me again. I instantly burst into tears of joy that the Lord had heard my cries and He met me in my time of need. I felt alive again, like I knew the man in the mirror. Instead of trying to kill the man in the mirror. The next decision I made was get my job back as an apprentice and finish what I had started. It has been almost 3 years of sobriety and I am now a journeyman plumber with my own plumbing business.
I look down at my hands while I type this and my hand seems to shake and won’t stop, even now shooting pains from my neck to my fingertips. With the eye I can’t see the spasms but feel them inside. Does it get old? It really does. Is it painful? Yes. Here is the truth, I would rather take the physical pain that the world gives us than feel the emotional pain I lived with when I was medicated. I was a zombie, alive on the outside dead on the inside and feared and disliked by those around me. I write this in hopes that others will know that God will meet you wherever you are, He is listening to your cries. You just need to be willing to do what He has called you to do, even when it seems like faith isn’t enough. There are many stories of men in adverse situations that have no way out other than to faithful cry out and say God please save me because I can’t save myself! I look at my wife and now 4 kids, and prayerfully thank the Lord everyday that my selfishness didn’t leave my family forever broken!
Are you wrapped up in addiction to one thing or another? Need way out? Here is your light in the darkness! If you faithfully believe this right here- this is the start to the end of your suffering. “Heavenly Father meet me in my time of need, I cry out because I can’t do it on my own. You are the giver of life, so I pray your Holy spirit into me to restore my life!” Faithfully means believing without seeing, but when you do see, go and tell the world what He has done for you. This is what he has done for me.