I moved back home to Arkansas after the Northridge Quake in 1994. The addiction continued. I would go online, find someone to spend a few hours with, numbing myself to the pain of my loneliness and medicating myself against the gentle whispers of a Father who flatly refused to let me go and continued to watch by the window for me to come back home. I didn’t want to feel Him. And because I was in a constant state of denial, not listening to God, I was persistently praying that He would forgive me. At some point, I began to recognize that I no longer felt guilt or shame about my actions. But in the back of my consciousness there was also the nagging awareness that though I was in physical contact with men all the time, I was more alone and friendless than ever. At first, this bothered me. But, later my addiction became so gravely severe that I blocked out any outside interference. Sometimes, it took as many as 3 partners a night to sustain my denial…but at the time, isolated and angry, it was worth it.
But, God’s radical tenderness wouldn’t allow my disobedience and defiance. He knew I understood too much about him. Romans 1 says, “But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. So God said, in effect, ‘If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.’ It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshipped the god they made instead of the God who made them – the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!!! Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either – women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men – all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh how they paid for it – emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches. Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose.”
In his immeasurable and ruthless love, God chose to step back just far enough from me so that I could experience the senseless separation from Him . It was at that point I began to realize the absolute waste of what my life had become. I knew God perfectly well, but had stopped treating him like God. Refusing to worship Him, I trivialized myself into confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in my life. I pretended to have the answer, but was really ignorant regarding life. I traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in His hands for cheap figurines I could buy at any roadside stand. The loneliness of my life on top of the rock that night was nothing compared to the fear of a life without God and the grief of being without Him. My anguish was palpable and my depression bitterly relentless. I could see no way out. The world I loved was a full-blown sham. The fortress I had built around myself seemed impenetrable. The ache of loneliness and isolation was tangible. I wanted out. I even considered going into a chat room, finding someone that was HIV positive and spending the night with him, just to give myself a sense of finality to the pain I felt. Instead, I decided to call anyone I could think of to get help. I called the Napa Valley Counseling Center. One of the first things mentioned was a new program that was beginning called Celebrate Recovery. I really did NOT want to do anything like that. But, I was tired of trying to walk through this alone. It just wasn’t working. So, I decided to give it a go. The first night I went, I literally forced myself to take one step after another through the front door. I was as anxious as I had ever been over anything.