While Lizard Brian was going through boot camp for the United States Marines, he had to focus on: following the rules, keeping out of trouble, learning all he could to survive during warfare,
, and doing the best he could. He made it! He served our country.
When he got out, as do many other young men and women in the United States of America who are serving our military branches, he thought boot camp was the hardest thing he had and would ever have to endure. Little did he know that boot camp for the U.S. Marines was not the most difficult challenge that he would need to accomplish in order to be a man in his mind, heart and spirit.
After the military Brian began the tasks of trying to reach a point where he could stay clean and sober. In total there were about 10 years and mixtures of detox, outpatient, treatment facilities and options that he tried. He did sparkle within each new program and method that he was going through toward the goal to become clean and sober. He knows now that he did great while he was within the discipline and accountability structure. But it was after getting out of each regimented atmosphere that was the real battle.
He even ended up in an exciting, luxurious, sunshiny Florida State treatment center. And he is very grateful that he was in such a dynamic celebrity spa like substance abuse facility. And he did do great while he was there. It was a wonderful easy detox experience with highly professional therapy and group classes. But when he got home, it was the same ole same ole. He did not have the drive within himself and the discipline within himself alone to ignite the will power to stay clean and sober. He relapsed.
Brian says that after his last relapse he got the gift of desperation catalyzed by the most painful experience he had ever had. He ran into the house to shoot up in the bathroom. He was going to need this fix and he knew it. The police were on his heal! He would figure out his usual A, B, and C back up plans in a minute. But for now he needed to embed the liquid kryptonite into his foot as fast as possible before the law enforcement team confiscated it. Yikes! Ouch! Flushed fear ran through his veins as his mom was banging on the bathroom door announcing that she was done and the police were in the house looking for him.
The second after the removed the needle from his foot, Brian’s ankle was pounding as if it were going to explode. He opened the door and rendered himself over to the law officers.
Today he knows (because he knows that he knows) that God was doing for him what he could not do for himself. He had been stopped before life itself stopped him. He did go to jail and progressively suffered in his leg for a few weeks. He kept telling the regional jail staff that something was wrong with his foot and he needed to go to the hospital. As a direct result to his drug using he lost his leg in jail.
Ironically he learned the hard way that he did not need pain medications and mind altering drugs in order to cope with the sharp stabs in life. As he was in jail the amputation recuperation did not include these prescriptions. And he made it. He learned that he could survive life on life’s terms without numbing physically or mentally.
After detoxing free for several months in jail he was permitted to be released under the care of a jump starting faith based sober living organization. The recovery program method was keeping very busy all day with physical labor as the in house residences were remodeling their own donated building. The curricular was Big Big Book, KJV, studies at night.
The drug and alcohol cravings were suffocating Brian. He knew if he left he would go back to jail and he knew if he stayed he would most definitely use. The run down building was in the heart of the downtown hood with dealers on every corner. He believes that God had blessed him with a true desire to finally stay clean and sober. Part of the gift was having had to face his own repercussions for the laws he had broken and the gift of his mom’s decision to inform him that she was done. That pain and rejection had provided him that ‘ah ha moment’ to start a new way of life. He was ready to go to any length to stay clean and sober. And that, My Dear Reader, is the exact miraculous potion needed for someone to decide to change any character defects of the past.
After a few months Brian could white knuckle abstinence from drugs and alcohol no more. At 7:00 in the morning he got on his crutches and walked 2 miles to the west side of town where there is a growing community of sober living houses near the town’s 12 Step meeting clubhouse. This area is laced with old Victorian houses and could be considered the wrong side of town as far as drug activities are concerned. I guess that can be referred to as a full circle. The area where junkies and crack houses are is being repurposed into sober town.
He walked there on his crutches and got there about 7:30. The men in that sober house had just finished having their devotional readings and were out on the front porch having snuff, cigs and java. They saw Brian hopping toward them. They knew him. Our city is tight in the recovery world. We know each other.
They ran to him as the prodigal son’s father ran to his son. They ran to him, grabbed his backpack, and hugged him. They welcomed him, patting him on the back and said: “Come on in. We will make you a bed. Welcome home. And we are going to love you until you learn to love yourself.” Brian was very confused by those words. Those words were scary to a macho manly ex-Marine. But he was willing to try anything to stay clean and sober. Life had gotten way too heavy.
That has been a year ago. Brian is clean and sober and a part of the recovery community. He helps be a shiny living example in the clubhouse of his city. And his mom, who loves running, has him focusing toward running a 5K for his group of sober living houses. He has his prosthesis and the run is in March.
Brian has depicted himself in this Lizard Tale as a pirate. This pirate did find the treasure chest. Brian wants his Lizard Tale to announce to the world that the true treasure in life and the true merit badge in life for manhood is not in boot camp completion. It is not in rehab, detox and treatment center certifications. It is in working the 12 Steps. Brian says it is the hardest thing he has ever done in his life and the treasure chest is at the end. He knows himself now as the man that he loves, respects and honors. He is passing his experience, strength and hope to others who are lacking that same self-love, honor and respect for themselves. For those who have not been able to stay clean and sober after completing residential treatment centers, he wants them to strongly consider sober living houses. They offer a strong structured live of accountability and people who understand and care. Sober living housing force their renters to go to meetings. Meeting makers do make it.
This particular sober house is Christian based, as well. So he has found the loving higher power of his own understanding to be the Lord Jesus Christ. He trusts and relies on the miracle that God gave him the 12 Steps. Don’t listen to the parrot on your shoulder. You no longer have to lose a limb, a love, a profession, a dream, your life. God gave Brian a sober living house with 12 Steps and the higher power of his understanding. That is the contents of Brian’s pirate hunted treasure chest.
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Hi! I am Cindy Lizard. My Lizard Tales are stories of recovery & restoration. Why not join the Lizard Gang by submitting your story? Cindy will write it and get the artwork. She would love to hear from you! Enjoy the reads & please share our tales on Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.