First of all, I want to thank each one of you who have sent a letter or card, left a comment on a social media channel, or seen me in public and stopped to offer some encouragement—to say I have appreciated your kind words would be a dramatic understatement.
Several people have asked how I am doing and have asked for an update.
I spent last week with my counselor and was able to make major progress towards healing. In meeting with him, he helped me to dive in and discover the areas where I clearly dropped the ball. After we discussed this he and I both felt it would be beneficial to share these things as it helps in my healing process—but also so that some of you will not make the same mistakes that I did.
Honestly, the list is probably a lot longer than just four things; however, these are the areas where I have clearly identified making EXTREMELY unwise decisions
1 – I chose isolation over community
I was a hypocrite—I preached, “You can’t do life alone,” and then went out and lived the opposite.
Yes, the Scriptures do say we should seek solitude from time to time.
However, solitude is refreshing, isolation is destructive.
Isolation is where self-pity dominated my thinking, thus justifying my abuse of alcohol.
Isolation is where self-doubt dominated my emotions, causing me to believe I just could not carry the weight anymore, and alcohol was necessary for me to make it through another day.
Isolation is where self-hatred dominated my mentality—I hated myself, literally HATED myself for doing what I was doing, but believed the lie that this was just the way things were and there was no way it could ever get better.
I chose isolation—all the while knowing that a strong community of people who really loved me would rally around me and walk with me through the valley I was in.
Hebrews 10:24-25 were memory verses I knew, but not life verses I applied—and the results were devastating.
2 – I chose alcohol over Lucretia and Charisse
This one hurts so bad!
Lucretia and I, like so many couples, have faced challenges in our marriage for many years. After a season of walking through these challenges, I became discouraged and, instead of asking for help, began to overmedicate on alcohol. At first it was once or twice a week; however, over time it literally became something I “had to have” every evening.
I was sick—deceived by sin, alcohol and myself. I justified this by saying I needed it to take the edge off, to help me relax, to help me deal with the pressure at home. Honestly, I knew the entire time I was using it as an excuse to zone out at home, thus causing me to neglect my role as a husband and a father. As I look back on making this foolish exchange, waves of self-condemnation crash into my soul. I know I’ve been forgiven for the sin, but I must now deal with the consequences.
Lucretia and I both love each other and are really trying to make our marriage work. Your continued prayers are so appreciated.
But, before I move on, let me beg married couples…please don’t cease fighting for your marriage by investing your time and attention into other things. Maybe it’s not alcohol, maybe it’s a hobby, or porn, or friendships…or even your kids. Take it from me—the temporary feeling of relief is not worth the long-term pain of the consequences.
3 – I chose control over relationships
I was “successful” at work, I wasn’t successful at home, so I chose to put more and more time into a place where I felt like I was in control rather than addressing the out of control area of my life.
When my family and I would go on vacation, I would “control” my schedule and not actually enjoy the vacation with them because I had to make sure I got up early, got in a workout, had a quiet time and answered emails. Doing so allowed me to feel “in control” of the day—and now, looking back, I realize how out of control I really was. Because of this type of behavior, I missed spending time with my girls, choosing instead to answer emails, none of which I can recall. What I pretended was important was only an illusion.
For those who struggle with control—it’s my prayer you will understand (as I am understanding) that control is the biggest illusion in the universe. We do not control when we were born, who our parents are, where we were born, the weather, the stock market, the maniac drivers out on the road or the day we step into eternity.
It’s in this season I am really beginning to understand and embrace what Jesus said in Matthew 5:3 (MSG): “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule.”
4 – I chose silence over crying out for help
I was hurting, deeply hurting.
In doing so I allowed sinful thoughts to exponentially multiply in my mind, thus impacting my mind in ways that were both destructive and harmful. I believed the deceptive lies the enemy would whisper to me such as, “No one will understand,” or, “You are the only one who has this issue,” or, “If you tell people what’s really going on they will abandon you.”
If you are in a bad place, I mean you are living through hell on earth—my prayer for you is you would make the immediate decision to tell someone ASAP. Because, you are not the only one, people will not abandon you and, believe it or not, more people will understand than you could ever imagine.
However, I chose to remain silent, which propelled me with light speed toward the coping mechanism of alcohol abuse.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. I was weak—I did not ask for help, and the end result was a train wreck. What happened to me doesn’t have to happen to you—you can ask for help today.
Once more, thanks to everyone who has offered prayers, support and encouragement as I’ve journeyed through this.
What’s next? I’m not quite sure—I’m praying about this as well as seeking the counsel of others whom I deeply love, respect and know love me. I will keep you guys posted.
And for those who are at NewSpring—I want to say, once more, I am so sorry I let you down. Being the pastor of NewSpring Church was one of the greatest privileges of my life. The things we got to see Jesus do over the past 16 years were simply miraculous. It was an honor to stand beside you as we got to see Jesus do way more than we ever asked for or imagined—Godspeed to you as you continue to do whatever it takes to reach people far from God.