As I write this I’m currently hearing that Lady Gaga song “Born this Way” over and over again in my head. I’m not exactly sure what she intended it to be about, but it’s a great song that fueled my thoughts about this blog…oh and now you’re probably singing that song too!
I’ve struggled with insecurity all my life. It’s a feeling I can remember even as far back as a person can remember, maybe age 5 or so. I can’t pinpoint one particular character trait that started the flood of insecurity i currently face but I know it seems like it’s always been there. I’m thinking about making an appointment with a therapist as we speak.
What sticks out to me are things that I was born with that were and are seemingly out of my control. For example, in the earlier years of my life I was always very short and pretty skinny. I’m not short or skinny now but when it seemed like the most important years I was tiny and felt I didn’t measure up. I was made fun of called “shrimp” even in high school I was known as “Big D”, (cuz I was small they thought this name was funny I guess.)
I was about 5’3” when I finally got my drivers license. A friend of mine who was also really short gave me the idea to sit on a phone book while I was driving and I would be able to see better. I was having to function, like driving a car, as “normal” people do but was seemingly always having to make adjustments just to keep up and be “normal.”
This wreaked havoc on my self confidence and self esteem. The worst incident that caused the most pain was I think when I was in 10th grade. I had played basketball the previous year for my schools Freshman Basketball team. I don’t think they cut anybody who tried out but when I went out for the team my sophomore year of High School I got cut. While I was a pretty good shooter, my skills and height weren’t enough to make the grade for Coach Claiborne. This was a devistating blow all the way around.
Up until that point in my life if you would have asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would’ve said “a professional basketball player.” This is when I started looking for another outlet. I started looking for a new hobby, although I still loved basketball I think that getting cut from the team squashed my dream of ever being an NBA player.
I started putting my energy into other things like cars and car stereos, tinted windows and the like. That lasted for a couple of years but I think the thing that garnered the most attention was recreationally drinking alcohol with my friends. It started out as a way I could express myself. I remember a feeling of freedom that would come over me when I drank. From the very 1st time I ever drank I remember thinking. “This is the feeling I’ve been looking for all my life.”
Drinking finally put me on a level playing field with my peers. What I mean is the feeling it gave me. I didn’t once think about being too small, too skinny or even getting cut from the basketball team. Alcohol made me feel like I had finally arrived at what I’d been looking for all these years, in alcohol I felt accepted and could accept myself.
Several years of my life were spent doing this very thing. Every opportunity I had I would go to parties, really anything that had drinking as a part of the equation I was game. Alcohol was my best friend, my secret weapon. For years I didn’t go to anything that didn’t have alcohol involved, if I did I was really uncomfortable and got out of there as quickly as possible.
Alcohol was my solution to a life long hurt. It was this way for many years until one day it turned on me. I don’t remember having to have alcohol to physically function until I got out of treatment for the 1st time. It was almost as if an internal switch got flipped, it was so odd. I remember waking up and craving alcohol for breakfast for the first time. At that point I couldn’t get my day started until I had consumed some alcohol. I didn’t have any confidence or any sense of peace unless I drank first.
This was the first time I think I realized that I was alcoholic. I mean who else drinks the first thing when they roll out of bed? It sounds crazy to someone who’s not an alcoholic but it seemed like a perfectly sane solution to me. It wasn’t long after this that the physical dependency on alcohol started wreaking havoc on my body and my organs. I had gotten to the point where if I DIDN’T drink that my body would revolt. I would have DT’s, shakes and even hallucinations if I didn’t consume alcohol. I usually started the day by puking yellow bile and would continue to do so until I could get enough alcohol in me to steady myself. The worst part of it is I now literally couldn’t stop.
Sounds like a nightmare, huh? It was. It even got worse when I added drugs into the equation. I developed a dependency on cocaine. See, cocaine helped me drink more so I loved it. Same thing happened to me the 1st time I tried cocaine. Total peace came over me, it was surreal. This led me down many a dark path that are the subject for another blog.
Here’s where I wanted to arrive with this whole thing. I am GRATEFUL for the Disease of Addiction, sounds strange, huh? Yes I’ll say it again. I’m glad I was born an addict. Being an addict is the event/process that lead me to seek wholeness. If I had been a “normal” drinker I would probably still be on a barstool right now making small talk with the guy next to me getting ready for another round. As things have turned out, that’s no longer an option for me, Thank God.
This thought about being “Born this Way” took me to a story in Scripture. In John 9 we are given the account of Jesus healing a man who the scripture says was “blind from birth.” The story goes on to tell how his disciples asked him WHY was he born blind “was it his sin or was it his parents sin?” Jesus replied that it wasn’t any of those things. He simply said he was born blind so that “the works of God could be seen in him.” This story continues to get even better.
So, Jesus spits in the mud, rubs it in the blind mans eyes and says “go wash your eyes out”….and he’s healed. It gets even better, people are so blown away by this miracle that that speculate that this is NOT the same guy. The religious teachers of the day even bring the blind man in for questioning and his simple response is something like, “I don’t really know WHO this guy Jesus is but I know I was blind and now I see.”
I was recently watching a Netflix show called The Bible. It’s pretty good but kinda cheesy in spots. I watched the episode on Samson and Delilah and when it was over I had to go read the scripture because the story was so compelling.(Judges)The story goes on to tell about how Samson was incredibly strong and how it was a gift from God. He’s the guy that maybe you’ve heard about that draws his strength from his hair. Well, that is until he met Delilah.
The account talks about how basically nobody knew what Samson’s secret was, why he was so strong. In a moment of vulnerability and emotional weakness he revealed this to Delilah. She ended up getting his hair cut off and captured by the Phillistines. They also gouged his eyes out in captivity. It’s a brutal story.
Here’s what got my attention though. This was a man who’d obviously been gifted by God to have extraordinary strength. Somehow in the end that led him away from God, but here’s what gets me. In his final moments he regains Gods vision for his life. It was as if his blindness led him to see God more clearly. He’s been distracted and thrown off by Delilah but at the end of his life he was able to fulfill God’s purposes EVEN if he was blind.
That’s where I connected to this story. If it hadn’t been for my “blindness”(alcoholism) I would’ve never really sought a relationship with my higher power. If it hadn’t been for all the pain I would’ve just coasted through life being disconnected with God. So, I thank God for my alcoholism because in the end it’s what led me to Him and in turn seeking wholeness. There’s a scripture that comes to mind. It says He works ALL things together for my good.(Romans 8:28)
This is not the way I would’ve written this story. Pain as a pathway to God, to freedom? Being born to two addicts and in turn myself becoming an addict? I feel like now I know why, and I’m so GLAD He did it. Why was I born this way? Was it my parents fault or my fault? Neither. I was BORN THIS WAY so that works of God would be evident in my life.
Psalm 139 states that “Before I formed you, I knew you.” What I hear from that is that God didn’t make any mistakes with the way I was created. Everything that I think of as a flaw is actually by divine design. All my insecurity, all my character defects, all my “flaws” are just places where God shows up and shows out!
Today I’m drug and alcohol free and I don’t take that lightly after what I’ve been through, it’s truly a miracle. I live life one day at a time, one moment at a time. I don’t have all the answers about this Jesus but one thing I know, I was blind but now I see, Thank you Jesus.