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One step

I completed and turned in the last of my assignments for my first course of graduate school. There are still two assignments left ungraded. I have a 100 on everything else.

As I clicked submit, I felt a small wave of emotion. One part was pride, I admit. Proud of stepping back into the academic world, of keeping up with all my assignments. I proved to myself that I could do it, even after all these years. After everything I’ve been through.

Another emotion was some sadness. Sad that I’ll in all likelihood have to drop my courses next semester. Perhaps even beyond. Another reminder that my life will be rudely interrupted by the ghosts of my past.

More than anything, this moment is about me completing one step. I don’t know when I’ll be able to take the next step in my academic journey. But for now, I will relish this small milestone. This one step in the right direction.

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Leverage

Sometimes it’s hard to trust what God is doing. The mind goes to dark places. Randomly. Worst case scenarios playing in my head.

The lawyer even said that we have no leverage. Going in there after 13 years and asking for concessions. The court has all the power.

I think about jail. What if I don’t get my meds. Have an episode. Start getting into fights. Get sentenced to a long prison stay. In my mind it can happen that easily. In reality it could very well go down like that too. That’s why this situation is worrisome.

I was reading articles about the jail there. Supposed to be one of the worst. No AC. Dangerous mold. Hazardous and violent conditions. Apparently people were even protesting the conditions in the jail a couple years ago.

I even started lifting weights last week in preparation of turning myself in soon. Gotta look tough when I go in. But I know muscles aren’t what will save me. Only the Lord can.

I keep trusting that He will. It’s not easy. . But faith doesn’t come from the cakewalk. It comes from knowing the odds are against me, but believing in the bigger plan set by God. He’s the one in the throne, the one who can balance every scale.

The one with the leverage.

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Wait on the Lord

Finally spoke to the lawyer. It was a rather preliminary talk. He answered alot of the questions I had. The dates seem to be getting further and further out.

Last week of September is where things currently stand. At the end of the day, I’m okay waiting on the Lord. After all, I’ve waited all these weeks and months already.

There was discussion about cost of legal fees. We didn’t get a concrete number yet. It also sounds like the nonprofit may be footing less of the bill than expected. But the wording was unclear. It threw me off. Started getting anxious. I considered contacting the hiring manager again. But settled on waiting.

I talked it over with family. My sister recounted a similar situation. Her job wasn’t footing as much of her moving cost as she had expected. But the Lord worked it out.

I also had a moment at work where I was getting anxious again. A coworker quit. My manager overloaded me with double, almost triple duties. I had penned an email. Discussed that it was too much. Made mention of my stress and mental health.

But before I could send it, I decided to wait. There was a meeting called by my manager. She ended up taking away most of the burden. And I didn’t have to send an anxious email. The Lord worked it out before I had the chance to ask. His plan is greater than what we can ask our think.

Waiting on the Lord can have it’s anxious moments. But those moments lead us to fellowship. To prayer. Which leads to God showing us more of His will. Leading to more faith.

It’s worth the wait.

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Timelines

Things have been moving along. It seems like I’m living life in two separate timelines. One in continuing building life where I’m at. The other preparing to turn myself into jail.

I keep working. One patient the other day thanked me for saving her life. She had come to the clinic one Friday minutes before close. Made suicidal statements. We were able to get here help at an Inpatient psychiatric hospital.

At the sober home, I did some errands for Oxford. Business as usual. One of my housemates remarked that I seem rather chipper for someone having to go to jail.

I guess it’s because everyday I see the Lord move. Over the weekend I ran into two good friends I hadn’t seen in several years. It was a total surprise. But it was much needed.

Everyday there’s more and more people offering support. Things are slowly coming together in a way I couldn’t plan for myself. Maybe that’s why I can have peace.

Lastly, I’ll be speaking at a rally on September 17th. An opportunity to share my testimony. It’s an honor. Perhaps it’ll be something the courts consider. I’ll likely turn myself in shortly after.

Two timelines. In a few short weeks they will turn to one. It’s scary, truth be told. But I can rest, knowing time is in God’s hands.

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Rally of support

I told my roommates about my potential jail situation. They tried to comfort me. One of them even agreed to help me move my things to the house with my wife.

I mentioned to my boss that there’s a good chance I’ll be leaving in the coming weeks. She was supportive. She also agreed to write a character reference letter. I’m starting to ask others for letters as well. My therapist. Oxford House leaders. Quincy. Other supporters and mentors.

I had a talk and some prayer with my dad. My sister. My wife. My good friend/sponsee. The fellowship helped to replace my anxiety with peace.

I’m planning a call with the lawyer tomorrow. That will be a deciding moment. The moment when I determine a course of action that will change my entire life. I have to remind myself to have hope. He has overcome the world. He can overcome this situation.

Still, there’s much to be done. I’ve just started to put my ducks in a row. Rallying the support. I’ll need it. I’m just so grateful that I have it from family, loved ones, friends, and above all, God Himself.

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The ball is in His court

I spoke to the hiring manager. I have the green light to coordinate with my lawyer in Atlanta. In his words, the ball is in my court.

What to do with it? According to my lawyer, there is a good chance things could take at least a month. That means sitting in jail. Just the thought of it gives me some anxiety.

After doing everything in my power to live in recovery, to find myself in jail is a nightmare I hoped to never return to. And yet here we are. At a crossroads.

In the end it’s up to me. The ball is in my court. I could just forget about it all. Stay in my comfortable bubble. Continue working a job I love. Have a pleasant routine. Enjoy weekends with my family. But I’d never be free of this monkey on my back.

This is ultimately my best chance to take care of this matter. I have the support. The legal team. The backing of an organization that is bending over backwards to get me into a dream job. My family is all ready to lend a hand. I have character references. It seems like all roads have been leading to this moment.

I’d like to think that the ball is actually in the Lord’s court. He arranged so many of the fine details. The lawyer. The job. The timing of it all. I don’t take credit for any of it. The ball is in His court. I guess it’s just my job to take the open shot.

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Home

The weekend was busy. Almost nonstop. But most of it was wonderful. First of all, my wife and son came back. I was so relieved to have them home.

Speaking of home, I spent Saturday morning volunteering with the homeless outreach organization I intend to work for. So many without a home. Made me so grateful for what I have today. It was a great time experiencing a taste of what the job will be like. But it was heartbreaking to see how these people were living.

Another thing that happened this weekend, I caught my housemate stealing money from our house and chapter account. It was another sad moment. He had built up a life for himself. Was an integral member of the Oxford organization. Now he’s without a home.

Today I feel so blessed to have a home. Two homes at the moment actually. Both of them integral to my life and recovery. I pray that others can experience this. The lost. The wandering. Home is a very precious thing.

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Family

My wife and son are coming home this Saturday. Less than 48 hours away. To say I am excited is an understatement. I’m glad that they are having a wonderful time, but it’s clear that we miss each other.

My wife definitely seems ready to come home. She misses her routine. While she is enjoying Mexico, she has said that it isn’t the same without me being there. My son said that he’s going to miss Guanajuato. He says he feels like he belongs there. His blood family is there. They all look alike. I didn’t realize how important that would be to him. He stopped short of saying he’d rather live there. When I brought up the idea, he seemed to remember that his whole life is here in Texas.

At least they will always have a place to visit. Perhaps I’ll even be able to go one day. Despite being a blended family, things are more than amicable between each family. Christian’s biological dad’s family has welcomed my wife with open arms, despite the fact that she’s no longer married to their son. Considering how many toxic relationships come out of failed marriages, it is truly a blessing that everyone respects and loves each other regardless of the past. The most important thing is that our son feels care for, and that he has three families that love him unconditionally.

Still, I can’t wait to be together with my family again. Family is everything.

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Through

I went back to the adolescent unit to cover for a coworker. Back to where it all began. Every time I go back there it feels like I never left.

We had a good group. The teens were very engaged. One of them was a Japanese. Very isolated. Lonely. I could see myself in him, he also reminded me of some of my relatives. I tried to encourage him. Tell him that this is just a phase. That there are people in this world who will appreciate him for who he is.

There was another teen who was in the middle of a psychotic episode. Brought up conspiracy theories. The rabbit hole. I’ve been down that spiral too many times. I could only tell him to be careful of what he searches online, the YouTube videos. That the drugs will only send him further downward. He admitted he had a drug problem. Admitting is the first step to recovery. You’re already doing it and you just got here.

I also ran into a patient that I used to see all the time. It had been the first time she’s been back in almost a year. She had been in a treatment facility for 10 months. She seemed much calmer.  The treatment actually worked. I’m way more chill, quieter.

The other employees always ask where I’ve been. Tell me that they wish I was still there. You were the only one who could get through to the kids.

I don’t know what the future holds. I only want to be useful to the Lord in this field of mental health recovery. But if He puts me to work with the youth in the future, I won’t complain. It’s not easy for people to get through to these kids. I don’t know what I do different. But I pray for these young souls. That there would be more who can get through.

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Scam

I’ve been working with the homeless population more this week. There’s one sweet old lady there. Almost 70 years old. It struck me odd that she would be homeless.

She told me she had a fiance. A long distance relationship of three years. I asked what they’re name was. She gave me the name of a famous billionaire. She truly believed it.

Turns out she sends them money. Hundreds of dollars each month from her social security. She was likely scammed into homelessness. Such a sad situation.

It reminds me of when my grandmother was scammed out of her life savings years ago. How my father-in-law gives his hard-earned money to anonymous ‘women’ online. Like the lady, they didn’t know any better. People taking advantage of the vulnerable.

It hurts to see these scam artists preying on the weak. We are holding an intervention for the poor lady tomorrow. I don’t really expect it to end well. People don’t usually react well when their delusions are challenged. I know that from personal experience.

Still, I pray for the conversation. That the scammed can be saved.