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[ Personal Narratives ]

Getting Lost and Found Again: My Path to Lasting Recovery

I always felt there was a significant purpose for my life. A cause that I was to champion. For most of my life, that purpose eluded me. I never could quite find what I was searching for. Why was I really here? I tried searching everywhere, everyone, everything and still I would feel a void inside. There was a black hole inside me that was swallowing me. Drowning me in a sea of self-pity and lack of self-worth. Blinded with guilt and shame, I never could see what was really my true reflection in the mirror.

broken hearted

What Was Missing Inside Me?

I began a life that seemed like a fairy tale. I had been a success on the soccer pitch. I was beginning a family and a promising career in education. I seemingly had it all. But there was a gaping hole in me. One that I did not see nor could anyone else. It left me with a sense there was more. What was it that I was missing? My marriage and family were great. My teaching and coaching career started brilliantly. Why did I not feel satisfied? My wife, my kids, and my job were all fantastic. It was me. I was not satisfied with myself. What was missing was my own self-worth.

My Child’s Unforgettable Words

I continued on playing my role in the fairy tale with a lackluster performance. My lack of self-worth hid in increasing darkness my true purpose. In 2000, my years of always seeking more led me and my first wife to a divorce. I had been emotionally and physically absent. She deserved my best and I was not giving that. It was on a Sunday evening that we had chosen to tell our two young sons the news. I came home from the soccer arena and they were upset at the news in their bedroom. I walked in to try my best and console them. To let them know it would all be okay. I will never forget the words that were to follow. My youngest son Brady, looked at me with tears pouring out his eyes, and said, “Daddy, please try harder!” Those words haunt me to this day.

My Warriors

I would spend the next 14 years of my life trying to fill that void inside me. I would suck the life out of another marriage, chase the party, encounter more success and yet nothing worked. I grew to feel more and more empty with each passing year. In 2007, my daughter Kamdyn was born. Being separated in age from the others, she quickly became the golden child. Finally, I had what I needed to satisfy me, I found my purpose. Or so I thought!

Destroyed By My Own Hand

In 2009, I would go through another divorce. I was completely devastated. Separated from what I was sure was my reason for living. I began drinking more and more at that point. It was the way I chose to deal with the pain. In just a few short years, I had grown into a full-blown alcoholic. On Christmas Eve 2013, Kam and I were settling in for the night. Brady arrived to stay over and that was a perfect ruse for a getaway. I asked Brady to watch Kam and told her that I was going out shopping for more presents. She reached out and put a death grip on my leg. Another child’s eyes in tears. Crying, “Daddy, please don’t go.” I told her I would be back soon and I loved her. One more time, I turned my back and walked away. Away from my purpose in tears and to the bar. I had become an empty shell of self-pity and shame. I had no purpose. A father like me had no right to a purpose.

My Angel

I had failed miserably as a father. I had absolutely zero sense of self-worth. I was completely unaware that my purpose was soon to reveal itself to me. A purpose that was there all along. I simply had never had the faith to believe in it. A faith that would eliminate the self-pity, shame, and guilt that had blinded me. For me to get there I would need one more crushing blow that would bring me to my knees.

Broken Heart, Broken Hope

As I entered rehab in 2014, I was almost completely broken. I got news after I got there that my rights to see and contact my little girl had temporarily been removed. News that left me in pieces. I cried out, “How can I go on?” I knew I had a choice to make. I could continue to escape into the booze and literally die. Or I could believe that I was indeed worthy of a life more than a prison of self-pity, guilt, and shame. That I too had a purpose.

I chose to believe that God had plans for me. I had finally came to see the light of my purpose at the end of my delusional tunnel. My faith that I mattered to God was my beginning. He began a transformation in me at that very moment. God was always there with my purpose in hand. He had waited patiently for me to finally have faith in it. In that moment, I rose up from the ashes and became a warrior on purpose.

How To Find Your Purpose

The last two years brought me an abundance of personal growth. Through faith, action, and direction I have begun to fulfill my purpose. Something that seems so difficult to many of us. Finding our purpose is really more simple than we realize. We all have a purpose to serve and help others. To make the world around us a better place. We have been given gifts to perform our purpose. It is through your faith, action, and direction that you to can come to realize your specific purpose.

I will never forget the words and tears of my children. I remember the path of destruction I have left behind me. But I do not live in that prison of self-pity, shame, and guilt today. It is what I do with it today that matters. It reminds me to be a warrior on purpose. There are days and nights, when alone, that as I reflect on my past I still feel the sadness and pain in the tears that roll down my cheeks. I do not ask, “How can I go on?” anymore. That has been replaced with an emphatic, “HOW CAN I NOT!”