In my lifetime, I have celebrated a number of significant milestones; Marrying my wife Cathy thirty-three plus years ago, raising three beautiful children and now the proud grandfather of three beautiful granddaughters, just to name a few. Not to mention building a very successful construction company. All of these are milestones many can but dream of. Yet, only in the last twelve years I have achieved my most important milestones.
This past February marked a very significant milestone. On February 5th I celebrated eleven years of not just sobriety but recovery. I had “tried” to quit drinking on my own in the past without success. It wasn’t until I walked into the Betty Ford Center (BFC) Intensive Out Patient Program that I was finally able to not only get sober, but stay sober. What was it that made it stick this time? The love and acceptance I felt not only at BFC, but also in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
As a male survivor of emotional, physical, sexual and spiritual abuse, I lived my life as a victim, and I played that card beautifully. After all, the best advice anyone was ever able to give me was, “Randy you just need to forgive, forget and move on.” Not once did I receive any empathy or compassion regarding the abuse, except from my wife. However, when I walked into the BFC, that all changed. For the first time in my life all my feelings, the anger, the fear and the hate were validated. Not my behaviors, not what I did for a living, not what I had accomplished, just those feelings I had been denied for over thirty years.
There was a women in my home group of Alcoholics Anonymous who always said, “Keep coming back and don’t leave until the miracle happens.” So I kept on coming back. Everyday I came back was another day I didn’t drink. And everyday I didn’t drink, another milestone was reached and another miracle took place. I believe most people are seeking a burning bush type of miracle, when in reality miracles can also come in very small inconspicuous packages.
“Randy, you don’t understand what I’ve been through,” you say. Fair enough, in fact I use to think the same thing so let me tell you a little bit about me. My wife and I were on the brink of separation. I had an affair the year before I got sober. My daughter wanted nothing to with me, and my business was on the edge of edge of failure. I needed miracles in several areas of my life. So I just did what that woman said to do, I kept coming back and I didn’t leave until the miracle happened.
It took time, in fact a couple of years, but my wife and I began to heal our differences and our marriage was completely restored. Finally, after some time and effort, I was able to reconcile my relationship with my daughter.
While the relationship with my daughter was the most strained, I had work to do with all my children and today they all look up to, love and respect me in ways I thought would never happen. Was it easy? Absolutely not; then again anything worth having in life does not always come easy.
There are several milestones I have reached in recovery. After forty years in the construction industry, I closed the doors of my business and opened a foundation: The Courageous Healers Foundation. I have written a groundbreaking book: Healing The Man Within. I graduated from junior college at the age of fifty-eight with high honors and on the Deans List with an AA in psychology. These are all things I never even dreamed I could do.
There is one more milestone on my very near horizon. This June, I will be embarking on a Ride Across America to Stomp out Shame, a fund-raiser for The Courageous Healers Foundation. I will be riding my bike from Indio, CA to Beach Lake, PA bringing awareness and educating as much of America as possible about the devastating effects of sexual abuse of boys.
So, keep coming back and don’t leave until your miracle happens!