365 Days Of Healing

August 1, 2023

Happy Tuesday everyone! If you have come this far from my last blog post…Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read this, it means more to me than you’ll ever know. Today is a very special day for me. It’s more than just Tuesday, August 1st. Today is the day that I get to pick up my one year chip for being clean and sober for 365 consecutive days. Gosh, what a miracle. 😭🙌❤️

I wrote my last blog post, “My Secret Addiction,” on April 12th, 2022. I wish I could say that I had never picked up a drink or a drug after posting that, but unfortunately, its release was followed by several relapses. But if you did read the blog, I said something that absolutely came true. “The breakthrough is just around the corner, I just know it.” A friend of mine in recovery shared this with me when I was really struggling, and it’s something that has always stuck with me. No time in sobriety is wasted. Even if you are like me, who would go 30, 60, 90 days, relapse, and do that over and over and over again. Looking back and reflecting on that time, I realize now how extremely important that it was for me to get a little taste of what it’s like to live happy, joyous, and free.

Let me go back for a moment and share how August 1st became my sobriety date. I just want to forewarn you, it was bad, really bad! Shortly after my blog post in April, I went on a weeklong bender that eventually got me kicked out of my recovery house in Myrtle Beach. I went back home and did well for a while but had another slip in early June. Then it all came to a head on July 5, 2022. This relapse was much more serious than any I had gone through before. I was going to do it this time: finally use myself to death. I had no hope, and I realized that this was my fate. I was gonna die an addicted death. So I went on a binge like no other. I stayed awake with barely any food and only liquids for 17 of 22 days. I used around the clock, hoping that this would put me out of my misery. But in the middle of the chaos, I had this crazy moment of clarity that rattled me to my core. I realized that I wasn’t going to die immediately, but instead, I was going to be a slave to the drugs, for possibly years before my addiction slowly killed me. It was the most frightening moment of my life. Hell on earth! I was in my house all alone. Even under the influence, I begin to physically yell out, crying to God to please help me, “I can’t stop, please help me, I can’t stop.” I would say this with tears running down my face as I’m driving back to the dealer’s house to get more. I just couldn’t stop. This went on for several days. Then in the early afternoon of July 29, 2022, a miracle happened!

Let me preface this first, my sister, my in-law’s, my children, and my girlfriend were all working behind the scenes to try to find me a place to go to get help. They could do the legwork, but it was ultimately up to me. I had to make the decision to reach out. A friend of a friend of my sisters, who is really active in the recovery world, mentioned a place in Texas called The Orchard on the Brazos. Even under the influence, I picked up the phone and heard the kindest and sweetest voice I had ever heard on the other line. Her name was Jane. She asked if she could call me every day just to check in until I was ready to come to The Orchard. She was faithful in calling for several days, and then, my miracle happened on July 29th.

God answered my prayer. I put down the drugs, picked up the phone, called Jane, and said “I’m ready.” Two days later I arrived at The Orchard on the Brazos. I showed up emaciated and full of shame. But I could see from the start that The Orchard was different. When I got out of the car, I was greeted by the addiction team with a big hug and a warm welcome. The Brazos, one of the largest rivers in Texas, means “The Arms of God.” It truly felt like I had landed in the arms of God❤. After completing the check-in process and the paperwork that goes along with it, I was utterly exhausted. I fell asleep around 3:00 that afternoon and was awoken by a kind nurse around 8:00 with a plate of food. She told me, “Eat Honey, you need the energy.” Rather than feeling like a prison or a place that I went to to be punished for what I had done, this facility felt safe. It felt like going to grandmom’s house. I just felt this incredible sense of comfort and love that I was yearning for. So one year ago today, on August 1st, 2022, I woke up after sleeping almost 18 hours.’
I proclaimed that that day was going to be the first day of the rest of my life. I was going to do anything and everything I could to get my life, my children, my friends, my family, and my business back, and that was exactly what I did. I put one foot in front of the other. A person who is willing to do ANYTHING that the experts ask without question is a person that is actually ready to change their life and get the help that they need. When I arrived at The Orchard at Brazos, I committed to 90 days, but I was willing to stay a year if that’s what they thought I needed. My own best thinking wasn’t working anymore. I was so blessed and fortunate to be able to work with the best addiction doctors and therapists in the country. They worked together with modern medicine, addiction treatment, and deep grief work to treat my whole self.

I came back to Anderson at the beginning of November 2022, and God has been doing a mighty work in my life each day since. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it!

My Life Now…

Through extensive counseling and work with my family, my relationship with my children is stronger than it’s ever been. My relationships with my extended family and friends have been repaired. My relationship with my work family is absolutely incredible.
Job 42:10-17 says….

10 The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him over all the [distressing] adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him a piece of money, and each a ring of gold. 12 And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had seven sons and three daughters. 14 And he called the name of the first [daughter] Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. 15 In all the land there were found no women so fair as the daughters of Job; and their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. 16 After this, Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons and his grandsons, four generations. 17 So Job died, an old man and full of days.

In closing, I feel certain that someone is going to read this that is still struggling with addiction or knows someone who is. I want to urge you to please don’t give up, and that the breakthrough you need is just around the corner!

I am forever grateful to The Orchard, my family, my children, my work family, my friends & my sweet girlfriend Casey. Thank YOU 🙏 ❤️
I am proud of myself for the courage that it took to reach out and get help. To truly admit that I was powerless over drugs and alcohol is the epitome of vulnerability, and true vulnerability is what courage is all about. True courage is shown in what the world views as weak: full dependence on God. As I’ve said before, “The coward dies 1000 deaths but the courageous only once!” Psalm 51:1-2 Says "Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin."

I am free….FREE to live this beautiful life that OUR good and beautiful God has given us. I don't need alcohol and drugs anymore, I am high on life itself. I will never forget a quote my sponsor gave to me that I journal about often, “Remember, sobriety is worth it… YOU are worth it!”

There is one thing I absolutely know for sure, that I will never EVER give up on the life I deserve and neither should you!
P.S. My daughter, Leni, shared this song with me as an encouragement during one of my hardest times. Rather than choosing to respond with anger, she chose to show me unfailing support and love. I want to share it with you as a celebration of one year of God’s faithfulness. Leni, I am forever thankful for the blessing of having you as my daughter. You, George, and Pete are the best children that I could ever ask for, and I am so thankful for this second chance we have been given together ❤️
Never Give Up,
Bill ❤️

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