My daughter spent nine months in a vegetative state before she died, after getting her head caught in the footrest of her grandfather's recliner chair.
During that nine months I never,
Visited her without being buzzed on something.
I couldn't face what had happened to her without something to make it seem unreal.
After her death, I spent 10 1/2 years in prison,
Then 10 1/2 years drinking, smoking, snorting, swallowing & shooting up anything I could get my hands on.
I finally gave up after losing my brother.
He was in Las Vegas, drinking & partying with friends.
He got drunk, passed out, got sick, and suffocated on his own vomit.
I sold my house, went into treatment, and met myself.
And forgave myself.
45 days later (The first 45 sober days in decades),
I made a promise to Joy at her grave; to live a life that she would be proud of, instead of the life I'd been living.
I went to work at the detox center I'd gone through 6 times in 8 years, and while blogging on a computer on the night shift,
It's all in the JOURNEY; a magazine of recovery was born.
This magazine is because of the promise I made to Joy,
And as a constant amends I try to make to God.
Because though I have forgiven myself, the past is always close,
Like the disease of addiction and alcoholism,
The reason I am telling you all this is so you will know,
That we ALL have done things we are ashamed of.
It's what we do with it after, that makes us,
Or breaks us.
We either use our past as a lesson;
To be a better person today,
Or we stay stuck in it.
As I did for over 20 years.
Things happen for a reason,
Just keep doing the next right thing,
And God will let you see it when it happens
So you will know 'Why it happened.'
At that moment.
I wrote the following story after a moment of doubt,
And the quickness with which the wolf pack of fear, misery, shame & guilt,
That constantly prowls the shadows of my mind,
Wolf packs prowling the Serengeti inside my head.
By Charlie G.
People are generally self-seeking animals, grazing across the plains of life.
They don't believe in an ultimate consequence.
And that, I believe, may be what Hell is made up of.
Hell, I believe, is for people who do not regret.
Who do not ask for, nor worry about, forgiveness.
I do not believe there is any sin, that once you've asked for forgiveness of it,
That you will not be forgiven for it.
I used that line in another story I wrote.
For alcoholics & addicts there is another plain that we graze,
It is inside our head.
There are two packs of wolves prowling that Serengeti.
Is made up of doubt, anger, shame, guilt & self-pity.
Is made up of hope, kindness, faith & integrity.
They fight constantly.
And do you know which one will win?
It's the one that is fed the most.
When we live in the shadows of our self,
And stay there.
Sitting in the warm puddle of pity.
Slamming the ball of anger against the wall of shame,
We develop a twisted pride.
Instead of building ourselves up with encouragement,
We tear ourselves down.
We start to imagine that we are "different."
Our misery can't be understood,
We almost brag how we can't stop it.
Feed the pack.
And it gets stronger.
When the pack of doubt, anger, shame, guilt & self-pity has finally gorged,
Till they can't hold anymore,
Then they relieve themselves.
In our speech.
In our mannerism.
In our attitude.
And then they need more.
But if you feed the other pack,
With a mustard seed of faith.
Kindness wakes up.
Integrity starts to lead the pack,
And faith starts to protect the pack's flank.
And they start to roam across your plains,
Inside of your head.
The other pack to come out.
The pack of emotionally wrecked wolves whenever they peered out of the darkness.
We have to realize that the wreckage of our past has no substance today. We cannot let it affect our actions today.
It had been bad, trust me – I know this too, but it is in the past.
It cannot be changed, fixed or altered. Because,
It is no more.
When we can accept,
Our lives get so much better.
The right pack thrives.
That would have been the end of this story, but I have to tell you about yesterday.
I went to visit my daughter's grave today.
My girlfriend has also lost a child.
Today was that anniversary.
It has been a very hard week for her,
She has been grieving.
I was in deep south Miami looking at a new printing shop that wants to take over 'It's all in the JOURNEY'S' publication.
Joy's grave is in South Miami.
I went to see Joy to grieve myself.
I sat with her, telling her about the magazine,
That I was trying.
That I missed her so much.
Hope and faith withdrew,
And the pack of wolves that had been lurking,
In the shadows of my head,
Such a sense of guilt,
Came over me.
I started crying.
And as I cried, something fell off the tree shading Joy's grave and bounced off her plaque,
That lays on the ground, not an upright headstone.
I looked up at the sound.
"Joy?" I released the word expectantly into the air. "Are you here?"
Fell and bounced off her plaque.
I looked up, seeing only the arms of the tree spread out,
"Joy, please forgive me."
I started crying again.
"Please drop something again if you hear me."
"If you forgive me."
I waited as the bastard pack circled,
Thoughts, accusations, self flagellation.
Grazing on my faith.
I finally decide to leave.
I climb up from sitting,
To a kneeling position,
And bow my head.
I pray to God, to Jesus,
And as I finish,
Something falls from the tree above and bounces on the back of my bowed head.
And stays on my neck.
I finish my prayer,
Not shaking it off. No way.
Sneaking a look at Joy's plaque.
That reads, 'We were so lucky God gave you to us'
And with an "amen" I reach up and take the 'something' off my neck.
I took it home with me and have it with me today. I am going to keep it,
To feed the right pack when needed.
It is a shell, a husk, of…something.
About the size of a mustard seed.