This is the first of many posts you will see from my close friend and blog contributor, Kevin. Our recovery journeys have some things in common, but parts of our paths have been different. He can give insights in some areas I cannot.
I grew up terrified. Of everything. Life started off with the garden variety fear of ghosts, goblins, and the boogeyman. But, as my consciousness evolved, so did my fear. By middle school, my fears graduated to incessant worry about my mom dying (and leaving me alone in the world), being bullied by my peers, nuclear warfare, AIDS, and much, much more. What I’ve come to understand, as an adult, was that everything I feared could ultimately be reduced down to a fear of death. And because for most of my life I had no faith in anything greater than myself to lean into, the thought of death deeply saddened me. To think we would someday die, after having been born for no reason at all, was the primer for decades of existential crisis management conducive to severe depression.
Depression is a tricky beast. At times, depression would be the impetus to get off my butt and go do something productive with my time; mania, as it commonly referred. Other times, I would consider the day a “win” if I got out of bed and ate something. I really hated this cycle, so in college I discovered a “hack” to numb my depression and move through life with a little more gusto – alcohol. The “liquid courage” gave me a false sense of pride and resolution, and surprisingly I became successful in the external world. I graduated college with a 3.8 GPA (before alcohol, I graduated high school with a 2.2), spent years in corporate marketing managing high-profile campaigns, became the father of an amazing child, and married an extraordinary woman of faith.
Internally, I was hurling at terminal velocity, face first, toward rock-bottom; and alcohol had only detained a formidable demon growing wild with anguish. In the not-too-distant past, after being drunk for almost a week straight, my depression came to a head and I decided that one of “me” was going to die – my spirit man or my physical man. In that moment, God spoke to me clearly and said, “I love you and I’m not done with you.” I acknowledged the possibility that severe dehydration could have been causing hallucination. But, no, God kept crying out to me and I wept uncontrollably for hours. After weighing all the options, and consequences, of getting the help I truly needed, I mustered the courage to check into a rehab facility for alcoholism and depression to face this demon squarely in the face. So began a journey of understanding the depths of mental disrepair and the mighty grace of God. I look forward to sharing more of these discoveries in the words to come.
Until then, please know you are loved. You are worth whatever it takes to get well. You are not nameless, you are the Beloved.