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Real Spiritual Experiences

Two Lives

 

All of us have had our own journey in this life.

We all have our own story to tell. Some unique some common. Some have told others, others have kept it inside, and still others who insist upon taking it to the grave. Imagine how many stories there are in just one town, one village, one area we knew so well from our memories if we all shared them? They can be expanded even further if we think of the places we visited. This story of mine, explains to the best of my ability, how God had saved my life and changed my life. I am an alcoholic who has been in recovery for many years. When I reflect back, I know that what I went through was more of a blessing than what I felt it was; a curse. I am in recovery in A.A.

In A.A. We try to come to terms with our past. If we can't, or won't, we will never go forward. We'll stay where were are... Or were. We are presented with a stop sign that had been, for many of us, unseen for many years. But now we can see it. We recognize it.

My story is common in one respect and different than many others. After all, it's our own. Sometimes, when just starting to speak at A.A. Meetings, I've heard people ask me, "Did I sound ok?" If you don't know, no one else does either. How can you sound bad, when it's your story?! The best stories are one's that come from the heart. When a person is honest and sincere, people can feel it. We don't have to be loud or dramatic.

Some say we were alcoholic when we were born, and others say we were not. It makes no difference to me, because it's what I had become one way or another. Believe it or not I really didn't know what I truly became until I was able to admit it inside. To me, this was a hard thing to do. I had to be physically and emotionally beaten down completely. Yet, through the grace of GOD, I survived. But, like most alcoholics in recovery, it was a close call.

I was brought up on Long Island, about 50 miles east of NYC. As a child, my household was, in my opinion, just a common family on the block. I wasn't. At least after spending some young years in a Catholic school. It wasn't until 5th grade that my happy-go-lucky attitude toward life had slowly disappeared. It wasn't because of a nun or a lay teacher. It was my own peers. The bully bunch that most schools have probably all had. I saw that they all used to pick on this one boy, and he used to just laugh. I couldn't understand how he was able to do it. But, it's just how he was. After a while, his family was to move, and so he left our class and our school. I can still recall his name. It became quiet without him around, because they were looking for another one like him. It just happened to be me. I was not a loud mouth, or the class clown. In school I was quiet. At home, I was more myself, which was louder and happier. When they started taunting me in class, I did not laugh, and never thought it to be funny. They did. They had nothing to be concerned about, or fear. I found that you could not fight just one guy, and think it will stop. It never did. I also found out you could not fight four or five, and sometimes more, and win. You would have to physically injure one of them so badly that they ended up in the hospital, and then you would be held responsible. I felt there was no way out of this. Even the most peaceful can turn violent when pushed too far.

Every school day, from 5th through 8th grade in that school, I was taunted and hit. In the class, it was from behind. Outside, at lunch period, they just waited in a group. Teachers never said anything, nor the nuns, and a couple of them even laughed. Not one boy could I ever say was truly my friend. Never did one ever say, "I got your back." I hated school, and dreaded every moment of it. I couldn't learn a thing. My thought was how to get through the school day, and get home quickly. I was athletic, and played sports regularly, especially basketball. But, even there, I could not get away from them, because some of them were on the team also. Especially, the worst one; the instigator. The one who laughed the most. If I only had one good friend, and two baseball bats, there could have been a terrible injury for a couple of them. I can't see any other way around it when it comes to bullies. I fought the biggest one in the school at the time, and lost. I wasn't small at all, just skinny, but I never backed down when he told me he was going to fight me. It didn't matter anyway. They would never stop as long as I was there. It was humiliating to the core. This caused me to develop social anxiety, only I never knew this until many years later. It was something I realized after it was defined and explained to me. I lived with it a long time.

I started to skip school in the 8th grade, and my family's house was right behind the school. We had a nice size backyard, and there was a little patch of brush way in the back. I loved it. I lived a block away from a canal off the Great South Bay, and I would always hear the fog horns in late Spring and Summer as the ferry's left for their daily trips to "Watch Hill" and "Davis Park," which were on fire Island, south of Patchogue.

When I started to leave school, I would go into the brush in the backyard and sit, or in the garage that was separate from the house. If my mother wasn't home, I went into the house, and would go in the cellar. It was mostly crawl space with a lot of sand. It was very dark, and I would sit on an old chair by the oil burner. It wasn't fun, but I was free of my peers. I was always trying to avoid getting caught. First, by the school, and, of course, by my parents. School always ended at a certain time, and I knew exactly when I should arrive at my house. I never would tell them what happened. I was too ashamed. After a couple of years of this, my thoughts were usually questions. Why? Why do they hate me? What was wrong with me that these bullies hated me? I had no answers as to what to do. What happens to us as a child can have a tremendous effect on us as we grow older. I could not depend on anyone to help me in school, classmate nor adult, and I knew this. A couple of teachers went right along with these bullies. I did not have a high regard for teachers, even though there were one's I liked. I could never be relaxed or concentrate in school because of all of this. I had nothing against the Catholic church at all.

I was taught, and believed there was a GOD. I believed in Jesus Christ, but could never understand what they meant by Jesus dying for our sins. I know now I was too young to comprehend this. Like many families at that time, we were made to go to church every Sunday. It was usually boring. I just daydreamed or looked around at who I knew. Both my brother and I became altar boys. When I was in the church one day, I remember taking money from the poor box. I shook the box, and coins fell out. Quarters, nickels, dimes. It was enough for me to get candy at the small deli I always went to near my house. I never remember doing it again, but also never forgot it. Obviously, I didn't know God at all. What sank in, for me, was when I was hiding in the brush in the backyard one day, and I was looking at nature. I really noticed the birds and their markings, their different and unique songs. The flowers, and their designs and beautiful colors, swaying with the slightest breeze, and the ants that were walking like an army near my feet, doing what they do. They all were different, and they all had a purpose. It was then, that I realized the reality of GOD. I thought to myself, "Of course there's a GOD. Who made all of this?" It just seemed like common sense to me. After that, I always believed in GOD, and loved the peace I found in nature. No one there was a threat to me in any way. I was relaxed. But it was an escape from reality. They had a purpose in life, but what was mine? My younger brother caught wind of what was going on somehow. After all, word gets around. He had told my parents. I said nothing, because of my shame. What could they possibly do, anyway? This was my problem, I always thought. They had absolutely nothing to do with it at all. I tried to tell my mother that, when I heard her blaming herself. That was nonsense to me. But, who was I to say? I had never been a parent. I was just sad she thought that way.

I somehow managed to graduate from the 8th grade, and started going to a catholic high school. I had to take a public bus, which I did, but I started skipping school soon after. I would just ride the bus back to the town I lived, and walked around. Usually I'd go in the laundry mat, or the train station, because there was always cigarette butts there. Although I didn't mention it, I began to smoke. Not long after, I was ejected from that school, and started going to the public school, which was just down the block from where we lived. Even though in the ninth grade my peers were not the same, in my mind, school was a bad place. By this time, I had become very quiet all the time, and continued to skip school every day. I always had to make sure I had a place to stay without being seen. I was always alone. After all, no one was around. They were in school. I wanted nothing to do with them. I felt as long as they left me alone, we'll get along fine. Sometimes, I would go to the public library and write or read. Any word I didn't understand, I would look up. Writing was really my only means of communication and release of emotions and thoughts. My favorite books were "A Christmas carol," and a story about Emily Dickerson.

I started to get tired of this running away and hiding. It was catching up with me. I remember once taking a half a bottle of aspirins, and didn't even understand why at that time. All I received was a stomach ache. One day, while I was sitting in the dark cellar of my parent's house, I leaned my head against the boiler. I began moaning. My mother was home. The cellar had stairs that led up to the kitchen, and that's where she was at the time. I heard the door open. "Eddie, is that you?" she asked. I continued moaning. She again asked, "Eddie, is that you? Then I finally answered her and said "Yes."

She told me to come upstairs, and she talked to me. I can't remember the words I told her. The only thing I do remember is her calling my father, and then the social worker of the school. The social worker called my parents and asked if they and I would come down to talk. Then he advised my parents that I get help. So the social worker set it up, and I was sent to a state psychiatric hospital known as C.I. It was a terrible place to me. I saw a giant skeleton key lock on the one door that they brought me in. I looked around and realized I was the only child in there. They were all men, and looked severely mentally ill. Some just rocked back and forth, and sometimes would scream, that scared the daylights out of me. Still, I felt sorry for them, because something was frightening them to death. I did not feel comfortable in here. At night, there was a big room with just cots that were all laid out. No rooms at all. We all slept in the same place. I didn't trust what I thought could go on here at night. I wondered to myself, "Why am I in here?" There was one man playing pool one day, and he seemed the only one of sound mind. Then he said he was in there for killing someone. After the first week, my parents came down with a priest. They talked to me, and after a couple of days, I was transferred to a private mental institution called "Brunswick." I was put in a locked ward for a week. When I first arrived in that locked ward, a tall man tried to kick me in the face in some martial arts move, and I ducked. The orderlies immediately grabbed him. He was never a problem again, nor anyone else. But some of the sights you see in these places are eye opening. Still, it was better than the other place. There wasn't anyone my age in there, either. But some were in their late teens and 20's. I stayed there a few months, and I was discharged. I was never given any medication there. There were questions the psychiatrist had asked me while I was there that I didn't have the answers for, because the words weren't there to give him. There were things I didn't understand at that age. I did not understand what depression was, or what was wrong with me.

Not long after I went home, I started to experience drinking beer and sometimes booze. All I knew was that it was fun being drunk. That's all I knew. I really liked it. Even after throwing up from booze, I couldn't wait to do it all over again. I wanted that effect.

Since school, I had never felt comfortable among my peers. At least not in any group setting, unless it was all family and family friends I knew. I went to bars once in a while, but always felt very stressed and uptight. Many times when I was drunk, I still felt this way. I rarely said anything, and was tight as a clam. I was not the life of the party, so no wonder people just stayed away from me most of the time. I usually hung out with people older than me. I just felt more comfortable.

Anytime I went out I always looked serious. I never knew this for many years. It was a defense mechanism that worked well. I also grew some too. One bully I remember seeing, as I was walking on the railroad tracks going west, and he was going east. He saw me, and got off the tracks, and walked around me. Quite a difference from when I was a few years younger. I was much bigger than he was, and he was just signaling he didn't want to tangle with me. That was fine. I liked walking on the tracks. It was surrounded by small woodlands, and peaceful, unless you get some punks walking around looking for trouble. Most people just wanted to drink, just as I did. So we would know each other after a while. Once I had a fight with a guy who had his friend with him. He was my height, but his friend was about six foot three. He lost, and went home holding his head and his stomach. His friends got hold of me a few days later as I was delivering on my newspaper route. So what good was any of it?

I went into public high school, which was a few miles away, and again, kept up the skipping of school continually. I would hear my name being called on the loudspeaker as I was walking in the hallways. In 1971, there were no security guards at school. No reason to. I would just walk out and head a few miles to the village I lived in. I always tried to get my hands on booze, somehow. Since I was very young, I would mow lawns, and shovel snow in winter months. It always gave me money. I had a dish washing job part -time at night, and it was great. The restaurant had a low light with a nautical environment I liked, and they played eight track tapes with nice music. They served meals with a free pitcher of Sangria or beer. When the waitresses came back to me with the dirty plates, they also gave me the pitchers. Many of them were still full of beer or sangria! I couldn't get over the patrons would pass this up! This was great I thought. I handled those pitchers with great care as I moved them in back of me. I wouldn't spill a drop. They were very delicate to me. I was drunk after any night I worked. But I still had to deal with school.

Inevitably the school wanted me out. I somehow made it to the 11th grade. My father told me, either you get a full -time job, or go into the service. I chose the military. I have no idea why. I just thought to myself, "why not?" Of course, boot camp is never easy, and many men were discharged in boot camp. Either they couldn't or wouldn't take orders, or they didn't have the physical strength to go through with it. It was nine weeks training. I stayed an extra two weeks because they didn't have my orders ready. I was on SP patrol, which only consisted of bringing men to "captain's mast." That's when guys are in trouble. But after I left boot camp, the green light was on to drinking all the time at night. I went on the base, off the base, and sometimes way off the base. I was in two different bases in Florida for a while, and got to see some sights in the drinking arenas. I became so bad, though, they mandated me to A.A. I wasn't alone, though. There were other men who were with me in this little van we used to go to the meeting with. They gave me antibuse. I spit that pill out immediately, because I had no intention of stopping. By the grace of God, I received an honorable discharge. I was very quiet in the service, also. Once, my brother said he met one of the men in my company, and he asked him, "why is your brother so quiet?" He had no answer to give him.

After the military, I was able to get a job through a neighbor working in a factory. It was initially in a place they had called, "The red mill." It was a sweater factory. They had moved after the big fire, and we were now in another town. I was just steaming sweaters, called a steam presser. At the turn of the century, most of the town had worked there, and I saw pictures of them on a wall. It was a nowhere job for a nowhere man. One of the guys I worked with was a big drinker, and had a college background. I couldn't understand why he was there. Whatever, he was a good friend for years, and the boss didn't care who drank, as long as the job was done. It was great. We would drink while we worked, usually after 12 o'clock. I stayed there for about 5 1/2 years until it finally was starting to close down. All I did was drink, and give rent to my parents, which I did since I started working. When you get money, some of that goes to mom and dad. No free rides. I had different jobs after that, ranging from an "NC operator" to lawn maintenance, landscaping, and wall St. Writing music seemed to be my only dream or goal I wanted to achieve. I picked up playing the guitar by myself, and wrote songs.

I was never looking for that big paying job, just a job I could like. I finally found one I did like. In the beginning, it wasn't much money. It was driving a van for a wholesale outfit. It gave me experience with the many roads on Long Island. After a couple of years or so, I landed a much better paying driving job. It was the most I ever made. I found out over the years many men were making much more than I was in other companies, trades and other jobs. But, I had no wife, or family. Just girlfriends. So what did I care. I had no thoughts of buying a house, or getting married, or having children. This was my twenties, and I was just drinking it away. I needed girlfriends, but I needed the beer more. Also, I began recording music I wrote for years. It was all good.

One night, in the late 80's, I overheard one of my sister's girlfriends talking about A.A. I was drawn to her as she spoke about it, and asked if I could come along to see how it is. It was the first time I volunteered to go to A.A. After all, nothing was happening in my life, at all, except for drinking and listening to music. That's about it. I had girlfriends, but they simply got in the way of my drinking. It didn't feel it was on purpose. I needed to drink. I didn't realize it though, believe it or not. Why, I don't know. Two girlfriends' I had were smart. They started to bring over beer for me, and that would get my attention. They didn't drink, so they didn't care. Why they hung out with me, I'll never know. They were all wonderful women.

Anyway, I went with my sister's girlfriend to the A.A. Meeting. There were a lot of people. But I saw women dressed in skirts and dresses, or neatly pressed jeans, looking terrific. I saw some men with suits on too. I said to myself, "These aren't like any alcoholics I ever seen." Not by the way they dressed, that's for sure. What did I know? Others were dressed casually like myself, except my jeans always had holes in them from work. But when I listened to some of them speaking and sharing, I could identify with some of their feelings and experiences. I was interested.

I wanted to come more often. I was able to get there just about every night. I was very quiet, and very tight, with that serious look on my face. Only one guy came over to me after about a week and said hello. I never forgot him, because it meant a lot to me. I wasn't capable of doing this. I would never, ever raise my hand to share how I felt, but respected those who did, and wished I could have done it too. I was fearful of this. I thought to myself, "These people expect me to say how I feel inside? What are they nuts? There's no way that's happening." I stayed behind the biggest person I could find in the back of the room, and just listened. That's really all I wanted to do. For the first time, though, it made me think of myself inside. I didn't know what I felt about my drinking, or my life. I never really thought about it much at all. I just dreamed about what it could be if my music was ever sold. I remember looking through an entire college catalog, listing the courses they offered, and I wasn't really interested in any of them, except maybe wildlife, or music. I always had aquariums and small animals since I was a young boy. I lived near the woodlands in the mid 60's, and wildlife was abundant then. My mother never knew what I was bringing home. I'd have a frog in one pocket, and a snake in the other. I had attended college once, taking up "Understanding music" which was boring to me. It was a night course, and most of the time I just spent in the bathroom with my pint of blackberry brandy anyway. I received a B+. I think college is great for anyone, if you can use it in your career. The meetings also helped me to think about God. I had stopped going to church when I was in my late teens. Yet, I remember once while I was in Florida, being drunk and broke late at night and, being far from home, I saw a church. When I tried the front door, it was open. I went in, dark as it was, and just laid on the pew. I was nervous that God might be mad that I was in His church. I just hoped no angel would show up and kick me out! After that, I was walking along early in the morning, and found another church. I went in, and there was nobody except the pastor there. He was a very nice African -American man. He greeted me, and I sat on a chair in the front. Then people started coming in. When he started his service, he yelled so loud, I about fell off the chair I was sitting on. I was still very hung over, and he just woke me up in a rude way, I felt. I left, and looking at the front of the church, saw that it was Baptist.

A few people had told me that after 90 days of being sober in A.A., you had to speak. I said, "No...you have to speak." There was no way they were getting me up there in the hot seat. No way. No how. Not sober. So, I had met a few girls there, and I hooked up with one of them. After the ninety day mark, we were together, and both of us relapsed that night. That's why getting into any relationship during the first year is no good. They have a better chance of getting you drunk, then you have of getting them sober. You will also concentrate on them more than your sobriety. The person is just not strong enough yet to even take care of themselves, let alone someone else. I refused to listen to this, and experienced the reality of it. We were together for a couple of years, and it was the worst relationship I ever had with a woman. I had never had a girlfriend before that was an active alcoholic or drug addict. It wouldn't have been bad if we both were really focused on our own recovery, and went to our own meetings, understanding the seriousness of becoming sober. Rarely does it ever work out. This is just based on my own experience as I witnessed it over the many years I've been sober. I have seen people get into serious relationships, and even get married, after they had been in A.A.for some time. They had a good foundation. Some stayed together for life.

This woman stayed at my apartment after I had asked her to leave. So one day I took the few things I had, and left my own apartment just to be free from her. I knew I had to get back to A.A.somehow, and forget my pride and embarrassment. It worked. I went back to the same meetings I used to go to, and started to feel good again. But I was still a clam. I had not changed, and did not do what was needed or what was suggested of me to do. So, after about 6 or 7 months, again I relapsed. I wanted to make sure none of these A.A.people were around when I did, so I went north of the town I lived in, and went through the back door of a liquor store to buy a pint of vodka. Went home, started to drink it, and felt like crap. All I remember saying to myself was, "This is just that 'ol familiar feeling again." I also knew I had the chains back on. I was in bondage of alcohol again, like someone going back to jail to do another bid. Like one of the saying's go in A.A., "Nothing changes, if nothing changes."

But, after about three years later, something did. I found myself having panic attacks while I was driving my work truck. It started on the city route. After I did my usual deliveries in Queens and/or Brooklyn, I would head back to the L.I.E... This is when it would normally happen. As I would drive back east, my hands would sweat, and I would start to shake. I remember looking at the road signs and reading them, but nothing would really register in my mind. That really made me nervous. I knew I had to get off the expressway, but feared I would get off at a parkway instead. When you're faced with it, what else can you do but take a chance? So that's what I would do. After I got off the expressway, I immediately looked for a liquor store. I needed something to calm my nervous system down. I would find one, and buy a half pint; enough to get me back home. Then I would be thinking, "What if a cop, or the D.O.T.pulls me over?" So I was very stressed about it. It was only on Mondays during the city route at that time. I had brought many men with me over the years on my truck. They drove "Shotgun" because I needed help on some days that were very busy. I found men in the streets where I lived that I knew. I would bring guys from A.A... Many times one of my uncles. My brother. My nieces and nephews too, when they were young, and off from school for the summer. I could never count all the many men that rode with me on my routes. There were also many stories they would tell me. Each one was interesting to me. Some passed away from alcohol or drugs. Some were on parole or probation. Some had done a lot of time upstate. It never mattered to me. I needed help, and they liked to come along, and get a few bucks in their pocket, too. Of course I would bring veterans whenever I found one who wanted to go for the ride. One of my friends served as a Navy Seal for six years. Another was a policeman. Another becoming a policeman. None of the homeless I knew ever thought they would become homeless one day. A couple of them owned their own businesses at one time. Trauma seemed to be the culprit that caused them to give up. They did not want to come back into society and start over again.

In time, I started to have these panic attacks more often. It seemed that it didn't happen when I drank beer, but if I had booze, usually vodka, it would trigger it. I started to have them after I woke in the mornings.

One morning, I had pulled in back of a supermarket and parked my truck between a few trailers. I drank my need, and started to feel exhausted from doing this. I ended up pulling the truck over in front of my apt, and calling the office up by phone. When they answered, I told them who I was, and to pick their truck up at my apt. So, after many years of working for them, I was now out of work. They picked up the truck.

I stayed at my mother's apt, on her couch. (God rest her sweet soul) She had lost my father in '87. So, here I am in my late 30's at Mom's apt. No job. No money. Nothing. I pawned my guitars, one that meant a lot to me because I played it so much. But, I needed vodka. I used beer too. Beer used to be my main alcohol drink for many years. It was always beer. I never wanted the drugs. I guess I was scared of that stuff. I did use pot once in a blue moon when I was younger. But it left me hungry, horny and paranoid. If I was drinking, and then smoked it, it was like putting rocket fuel in my beer. I really got wasted quickly and my eyes would be double-crossed. Other people would tell me about their stories of woe taking different drugs they were on. They said the trees would talk to them; the flowers would wave to them. I wanted no part of that. I wanted to get drunk. One old man said he owned a bar in upstate New York. One night, while he was bar tending, someone slipped him some acid in his drink. He had never had it before, of course. He said when he got home that night, he saw penguins jumping out of his swimming pool. No thanks. I'll stick with beer or a pint of vodka.

I couldn't stand walking in town during the daytime when I was drinking. At that time, I knew everyone on the streets of the village. I would see them sometimes when I would sit by the railroad tracks. We would talk, and drink. After the booze or beer was gone, most would take off somewhere. One of my sisters lived in back of the tracks where I used to go. She would never mind if I came in her house. I never remember ever causing any scene. If it was at night, I would sleep on her couch. I would try to get money from anyone I could that I knew. My sister gave me a few dollars sometimes. She had it hard herself. My mother would also, but she knew what it was for, and didn't like to do it. She also had it hard. A couple of times, while she was at work, I went into her bedroom and opened this tin canister, which held change she used for the Laundromat. I took enough change to buy me a pint or two, and that was it. But I felt like a total dirt bag. Who would do this to their own mother? I adored my mother, yet, look what I did. It never left me. I really enjoyed hanging around the railroad tracks in summer. They were peaceful and tranquil. No one bothered me, and I bothered no one. I would just sit off to the side of them and just drink, slowly. Some people don't like the chaos or yelling in a gin mill, bar or night club.

My brother and sisters were concerned about me, even though they had their own issues. My brother and one of my sisters were very heavy drinkers, and more. Regardless, I would walk the streets at night, not knowing what to do, or where to go. The only place I'd usually go was my sister Bonnie's. She had been going to a "born again" Church with her husband at the time. She was more peaceful than I had ever known her to be.

In the Winter of '95, on Christmas eve, I had walked around at night as I usually did. Around midnight, I remember walking toward my sister's church, and I could hear music, so I knew they had service going on. As I passed by, the front door opened and there was my sister Bonnie and her husband. They came out to have a cigarette. My sister and I were really surprised. After all, what's the chance of that happening!? "Eddie," she said. "Why don't you come in with us?" "No. No thanks," I replied. So she went on talking to me, really wanting me to go back in with her. I still refused. So they went back in, and I started walking away. I didn't go very far, when I stopped and thought to myself, "why not go in?" I took out my half pint of vodka, finished it, turned around, and went back. I walked in the church. It was a small congregation. It was a mission. People had lined up in the front, and my sister urged me to go up there too. I didn't know what to expect. I lined up with the others, and just listened to the pastor. I had a feeling he knew I was somewhat drunk, because, out of all the people, he came up to me first. "What do you want me to pray for?" he asked. I didn't know what to say, and then I said, "help." Afterwards, I went home feeling there might be hope for me. I'll find out tomorrow, I thought. When I awoke the next morning, I was still in my normal hangover mood. I thought to myself, "It didn't work." I remember going on my knees to pray, something I hadn't done in many years, and asked GOD to help me. Then I went on looking for alcohol. I had tried to stop a few times in the beginning of '96, without success. Reason being, these panic attacks, and depression was doing a job on me. Sometimes, my insides would shake so much from panic disorder, that I would lay on the couch or in bed for two or three days, in an embryo position, just praying. I would dream of Jesus walking with me in the woods. Jesus had a staff, and the small animals were all around. It gave me a little peace getting through this suffering. No one knows just how much suffering can go on inside a person unless you're feeling what they are at the time. There really are no words. When the phone rang, I jumped. I hated the phone ringing. Sometime in winter, my sister Bonnie had given me a cd of a woman she knew who sang gospel songs beautifully. Her voice was outstanding. I had met the woman personally soon after. She had anointed me with oil on my forehead, and said some prayers quietly over me. I took any prayers from anyone at this point. If it could help, I wanted it.

A few days later, I had put her tape on, and it started playing. As I walked through the hallway to my kitchen, I felt a surge of some sort inside my head. It was like a tingling sensation. I wondered about it, but let it go. As I was coming back through the hallway to the living room, it happened again. This time, it went from my head to my feet. It stopped me in my tracks, not knowing what to make of this. The feeling gave me goose bumps. I went in and sat down amazed at what happened. The shock reminded me of when a person puts their tongue on a nine volt battery fully charged, only in my head. It was hard to explain.

When I told my sister what happened after playing the tape, she laughed a little, and said, "Eddie, that was the Holy Spirit that you felt." I asked her, "What do you mean?" So, she explained the feelings she felt when she felt the presence of the Holy Spirit coming upon her. She also said it's common in her church. I knew nothing about this at all. My sister had given me a book, called, "Welcome Holy Spirit." It was a small book, but I read it. The writer explained how to invite the Holy Spirit into your life. So, through prayer, I started doing this. I had never been taught about the Holy Spirit. All I knew was the name. I felt kind of jipped, because my church never preach about the Holy Spirit, except that He was with us since baptism. I knew nothing about feeling God inside. I wondered how many other Catholics never knew either. I remember staring at a picture of Jesus Christ my mother had on her kitchen wall. I just stared in His eyes. I needed help. I had went on my knees to Jesus Christ, because I knew at this point no man, no one, nothing could have helped me. And I could not save myself. I walked once late at night in early summer after drinking by the railroad tracks by my sister's house. I was scared, tired and alone. I didn't know what was going to happen to me. I asked God to please take me, or help me.

I had sat late at night a few times at my sister's house looking at TV while her and her family slept. I found this channel that just showed video of nature. Then soft music would play in the background, and verses from the Bible would show on the screen. I really liked it. I saw words I could identify with, about fear and reaching out to GOD. I realized many times, at the end of the verses, were the name "Psalms," or "King David." I never knew there were words like this in the Bible. I never read it, so how could I know? But I liked it, and identified with what I was reading on the television screen.

What was to happen starting around July of '96, was to turn my life around like never before. One sunny July afternoon, I came to my mother's apartment. She had been working, and I always had the key. So I went in, and sat down on a chair on her dining table. It was quiet, no one around. Out of nowhere, I heard two voices start to sing. It was a man and a woman's voice. That's all I knew. I looked at the TV, and I saw a man and a woman singing. The only problem was I never turned the TV on. It was off when I came in the apartment, and I never turned it on. I tried turning the TV off, and it did nothing. I had no idea what was going on. The lyrics sounded like they were singing about Jesus. But after listening, I heard foul language, and realized they could not have been from God. Then they started using that foul language on me. I didn't know what to make of it. I got up, and while I was walking to the hallway, I heard, "I'm going to kill her." It was the man's voice from the two that sang. I looked where his voice was coming from, and it was a picture I had of a little four year old girl from Guatemala that I had been sponsoring. I could see his face on the corner of the picture. This was crazy, and it angered me a little. I just walked on through the hallway to the kitchen. Then it stopped. Whatever it was, it seemed to be gone. Who could that have been?

The following night, I was sitting on my mother's couch, reading the Bible. I felt the desire to do this after watching that Christian nature television show at my sister's house, and after what I had experienced. As I was reading it, out of the corner of my left eye, something was spinning like a top on the floor, but something in a spiritual form. I would not look at it directly. I kept on reading. It wouldn't go away, and it was making me nervous, based on what happened to me the day before. I think anyone would have been also. I realized after a while, this wasn't going away. So I finally turned and looked at it. Immediately upon viewing it, I could see it was white in color but it was sort of transparent. It spun from where it was quickly to the front of the hallway that leads to the kitchen. Then it expanded upward, and appeared to be in the shape of a man, except only in spirit. I could see it had arms, because one of the arms moved forward and back. I could see the whole outline of a man. I said, "My God, it looks like a man." Then, again, it changed its shape to look like a mass of mist. It went in front of me about five feet from where I sat on the couch, but well above me near the ceiling. It just stayed there. I had no idea of what this was. I ended up falling asleep out of exhaustion of what I had gone through.

The following morning, I called my sister Bonnie, and I told her what happened. I asked her to bring me in the hospital to see a psychiatrist. She picked me up, and we went. As we sat in the emergency room, something inside told me to leave. I said to my sister, "I'm going to leave." she said, "Why? You're probably going to be called soon." But, I insisted on leaving. I asked her if she had any money for a pint of vodka, or a half pint. She didn't want to give it to me, but it happened. So at least I had some booze to calm me down a bit. It was midday now as I arrived back to my mother's apartment. All I was hoping for was whatever that thing was would be gone. My sister dropped me off, and I went in. Would you believe that thing was still there, in the same place! It wasn't going anywhere, so I just kind of accepted it being there.

Whatever it was, it never spoke, just hovered there in place. It reminded me of mist in the shape of a tiny cloud. At night, I again opened up the Bible and began reading. As I did, I heard people speaking outside. My mother's apartment was on the second floor, and she lived on a main road where cars and people would pass by. So it wasn't unusual for a group of people to pass by at night, especially in summer. So, I let it go. It stopped. Then, a short time later, again I heard those people speaking. I went up to the window to see who it was, and their voices stopped. I saw no one walking on the sidewalks. Strange. Although, at this point, nothing surprised me. Sure enough, again I heard those voices, and it was starting to annoy me. This time I very slowly walked toward the window. I needed to know where this was coming from. As unbelievable as it will sound, I heard the voices coming from my mother's 30 gallon aquarium. I kept looking at it further, and it seemed to be coming out of the outflow from the hang on filter connected to the aquarium. This was really strange. But, later, it made sense. For now, I just sat down, and just listened. Then, they stopped.

The following evening, the voices started in again. This time, I heard my name being spoken. Every move I made, it seemed they could see. But I could not see them. They sounded as if they were all together somewhere, like in a holding place. They were all talking at once, so I felt they didn't know where they were. They sounded confused. They did not sound like they were in any pain at all. I also heard a child this time. Then, I finally said out loud, "Who are you?" A woman's voice spoke above the others, and said, "We're from flight 800! I didn't say a word for a minute, just trying to take in what I just heard. Then I spoke to the cloud of mist that now always seemed to be there. I said, "Is this true? Are these the victims from flight 800? It actually spoke, and said, "Yes." It was a male voice. It was the first and only time I heard from who I later believed to be the spirit of God. I said "what do they want from me?" They seemed to need help, but how could I possibly help them? The spirit, or this small cloud of mist, said nothing this time. But I knew there had to be a reason for all of this. I never heard from these people again. I had been aware of the terrible plane accident that happened with flight 800, and felt bad, as everyone else did. But, never could I have imagined this would have happened. One thing I didn't know was there were children on this plane. Many months later I went to the public library to find out who was on the plane. There were children.

The next day, I started to realize who this small cloud of mist was. It just came to me. I asked, "Are you the Holy Spirit?" No answer. I then said, you can't be because nobody ever sees you!" Immediately after that statement, the small cloud of mist came over toward me. He went on my left arm, and it felt moist. He then proceeded to go inside of me. I could feel Him. I felt him going through my whole body, then up into my head. It was an amazing feeling. Something I have never, ever felt before. I had all goose bumps. Then I could feel Him poking me very gently on the face, as an adult might do to a young child. I was not nervous at all. My fear turned to awe. It took me to recognize and acknowledge Him as the Holy Spirit before he responded. I was amazed. I asked Him, if He wasn't going to talk to me verbally if He could answer my questions in another way. So this was done. During this time, I also asked him about a few people. I mentioned my sisters, my brother. I asked about a few other people I knew who had passed. One was in Heaven, the other two were not. When I had asked about my nieces and nephews, only one there was a concern with; tammy. Why, I don't know. This communication was not verbal, so it was not explained to me. All I did ask was, "If I stop drinking, will she be alright?" The answer was yes. I believed in the answer completely, and still do.

I asked God how I could help these people I had heard from flight 800. After all, I had no idea. After certain questions to narrow it down, it came to me that He wanted me to call up all the Churches and ask them to pray for seventeen weeks. Why seventeen, I don't know, and I didn't ask. All I did say was, "they're going to think I'm nuts." No response. So, I opened up the telephone book, and started to call the local churches. All different denominations. Some said they would. Others said they already were. Still others seemed like they didn't believe me. How could I blame them? One church I called was a very large church called the "upper Tabernacle." The woman who answered was very nice, and seemed she was taking down the information I gave her. She said they would do it. I have to say I didn't think they would have responded this way. After I finished, and a couple of days went by, I asked the Holy Spirit, "Did it help them? Are they okay?" But, again, no response. I said, "That's not fair, to me." I wanted to know if I had been able to help them.

When I asked this one man I met months later, who was a born-again believer, and heard my story, he said, "God wanted to see if you would do what he wanted you too." He said, "The answer is not important. You did what he asked of you." I accepted that answer. I had none. The aquarium and the water made sense to me now because of where this terrible accident had occurred. It was over the water when the plane blew up.

In the morning, the Holy Spirit, or who I believe to be the Holy Spirit by now, came to where I was laying down on the couch. I felt a feeling in my left calf. I then felt a spinning sensation in the same area. At first, I became nervous, and thought the Lord was going to take me home. But he signaled no. I asked, "Why was this done? Is this a mark or some kind?" The answer was yes. I can't explain how these questions would come to me, only that they did. After a couple of days, the Holy Spirit was no longer around; at least that I could see. But, I could feel tingling in that same area on my left calf, and a couple of times, in my head. But, it was not over.

These bad spirits, who I now knew very well were demonic, had come back, and started the taunting again. There were two other one's who I never saw visually, but heard. One had a female voice, and the other, a male's voice. The male had a deep voice, and spoke like he was well spoken and educated. He also sounded African-American. I was reading the Bible a little, and they started reading it with me. When I read, they would laugh and mock me, because at that time, I didn't know how to pronounce many names or places. I never read it before. So, I stopped. When I look back on it, it's probably what they wanted me to do.

On one night, I'm not sure if it was still July, it could have been August, I sat outside on the wooden porch. It was a beautiful, star filled warm summer night. Very light winds. Quiet. I heard a spirit's voice. I thought to myself, "Not again." It was female. I had a pint or half pint of vodka, and she said, "Put it down." I did as she said. Then I became a little defiant, and went into the bushes where I threw it, and went to grab it. But she responded, "Don't touch that," in an authoritative voice. So, I let it go. Then, I heard the most amazing thing. Music started playing, and sounded like I was in a concert hall, but with no people around. The acoustics were remarkable. The music was coming from the skies somewhere. As I listened, it sounded like a rock song, but with acoustic guitars. It was a woman's voice, and it sounded very much like Melissa Etheridge. Her name was the first that came to my mind. But there was words that almost sounded like yelling, singing very strongly. I can remember the chorus though. She sang, "Put it down, put it down, put it down, put it down, put it down." I was getting the picture. How I wished others I knew could have sat and listened as well. But, even if they had, they probably would never have heard. It was meant for me to see, hear, and feel; all of it.

After the song, I heard a few spirits talking. I saw one spirit, who was all white, with long white hair; her hands straight ahead of her, flying up passed the street light. I could see it was a female spirit. But why pass through the street light for me to see her? I saw others, too, and they seemed to just come up to me, and left. Then, so did I. I went back in the house.

The following day, the evil spirits were back. This time it was the original ones. I didn't have to see them. I knew their voice. Basically, they were just there to spew out curse words at me. The male said to me, "Why don't you go back to your sister's backyard again?" All I thought was," how could they have known I had gone there, unless they had seen me there?" So, I now believed, these demons follow every place we go. They see everything. We just can't see them, as human beings, unless God allows us spiritual eyes to see. If this happens from God, it is for a reason. The next night, or so, they again started in with me. This time it was the woman who did the yelling the most. I, finally went on my knees, and started praying to Jesus Christ out loud, but quietly. The male demon spoke up, saying defiantly, "What are you praying to Him for? He's not going to help you." I still kept on praying, trying not to listen to them. Then, I heard the voice of a female I never heard before, and she was verifying that what I was praying was true. She had a very soft and soothing voice, and I had no fear at all. Then I saw a light on the dark wall I was facing. I could make out a figure. She was all white, and inside her were white flames. I sat back on the couch. I knew she was an angel. She said, "Jesus loves you, very, very much." She repeated this many times. "He loves you very much. Jesus loves you very much." Then I didn't see her. I looked around, and I saw her on the wall to my right. She started singing, "Jesus loves you very, very much, very, very much, very, very much. She looked like she was going up and down to the song. It was a very simple melody that I never forgot. I asked her a couple of questions, and one of them was, "will I be able to sing?" I was curious. She said, "I will ask." She never left, from what I could see, yet she had an answer. It was that fast. It told me they communicate very differently than us. The next thing I saw was that she had a container, like a half gallon milk container, and a glass in her other hand. She poured some kind of white liquid into the glass. Then she pointed to the glass. It appeared to be milk, to me. But what does that mean? Her fingers looked somewhat different than ours.

Then, she appeared again at the other wall I first saw her at. She said, "Turn around, the shade." I turned around, a little nervously, but saw nothing. I asked, "The window shade?" She said, "The lamp shade." So, I turned around, and there was a small lamp shade in back of me. She said, 'The Holy Father wants you to see this." The only time I had ever heard of the Holy Father was when someone was referring to the pope. Now I knew, GOD was my only Holy Father, in Heaven and on Earth. I watched the shade and I saw what GOD wanted me to see. There were three women lying on the ground. Their eyes were closed. I could only see them from their neck up. Someone or something put their hand in one of the woman's mouth and opened it very wide. I don't know why. Her eyes were still closed. I finally said out loud, "Leave her alone," and whoever it was took their hands out of her mouth, and she opened her eyes, and looked in gladness, like someone had heard her. The background was dismal and cloudy, nothing in sight that I could see except what looked like a small dying tree in the far background. Then I remember another scene which was of another woman lying down. I could only see her legs in this one. I knew from seeing her legs, it was a woman. Some sort of an animal appeared, and walked up to her legs. It looked like a medium sized dog, but had a snout like a pig. It looked as if it was going to feed on her. I said out loud, "Leave her alone." The animal looked up at me, and growled. Then went back to her. Again, I said out loud to leave her alone. Again, the animal growled, then looked up at me and growled. I saw another scene which was dismal, all grey and cloudy. There was some sort of body of water, like a pond, which looked filthy. There looked like people who were pushing the heads of other people under the water, as if in drowning them. I didn't understand this either. It was strange to me. Were they torturing them? It seemed like it; I don't know. I said I don't want to see anymore, and immediately it stopped. Later in years, I wish I wouldn't have said anything, and saw more.

Then the angel appeared on the right side of the wall again, and said, don't forget this and that. Then showed me, again, her pouring the milk, or whatever it was, from the container into the glass. Then she went to the other side of the wall where I had originally seen her. She started to say, "Our Father, who art in Heaven." At this point, I went on my knees, and she confirmed that it was the right thing to do. Then, we both repeated the Lord's Prayer together over and over again about 6 or 7 times. At the last time, toward the end, she started going upwards, and she was gone. That was the last I saw of the angel. I wanted her to stay.

It was now the end of August. The evil spirits had returned. The one's I had not only heard, but seen. This time I only heard them. The male, sounding infuriated said, "You're not going to no detox." I had bought a six pack of beer from the deli around the corner, and went back home. As I was drinking it, I suddenly felt the inside of my throat constrict, and I couldn't breathe. It was in the morning hours. I stood up, but don't remember anything else. My mother had been in the kitchen, and heard me. She said I made a strange sound, and she came in the living room to see me. She said I looked grey then started to shake, and fell down. She said my whole body was still shaking, and she called the ambulance. Then she just held my hand until they came. They took me to the hospital, and my sister and mother waited. The doctor told my sister and mother I would be alright, but probably wouldn't survive another one. I remember I returned to my mother's apartment. I don't remember if it was the same night or not. Soon after, I had gone to a detox. I had stayed there a few days, and went home again. I knew I needed A.A. And had to go.

I was nervous the first night, and laid prostate on the floor, praying to God in the darkness. I prayed for forgiveness for anything I had said or done that was wrong. I felt cool air pass by my head, and I knew it was the angel or the Holy Spirit. When I heard the evil spirits again, I asked the Holy Spirit to please remove them, and get them out. As the woman demon was yelling foul words, I could hear her voice going away, as if being pushed back. She was threatening me. This happened a couple of times until she was finally gone. Her threats, and the others, were never heard of again. My prayers went on. It is important to know that, even though we cannot see Satan and his demons, they are most certainly around. Many people are already there's as far as Satan and his demons are concerned because they are so easily influenced by them. Although most of us cannot see in the spiritual realm, we are seen. I am certain of this now. I am sure that I would never have survived if it were not for Christ hearing my prayers and pleas to Him. I needed to trust in Christ; to trust in God. I could have been healed immediately, but God wanted me to go through what I did. All of it was important for me to witness. God allowed me to see and understand what I probably would never, ever have, if I wasn't in such turmoil. There was a reason. How could I explain to someone what happened to me? I didn't have the words to define what I had saw and felt because of the power of it. In telling a couple of pastors, they mentioned the number seven. They said it was a common number in the Bible. How could I have known this? I was marked by the Holy Spirit, and believe I was baptized by the Holy Spirit.

Even though I didn't pray for a long time in my life, after this, I started to everyday. I asked the Holy Spirit to help me pray, because all I knew was the Lord's Prayer, and I wanted to have a personal prayer as well. This was done. I also asked the Holy Spirit to help me to remember God as soon as I woke up in the morning. It was done. All of this still remains today.

For a long time, I was not myself at all. I was so preoccupied with all that had happened to me. All I could think about was God, and the angel. I felt like I was in a trance-like state. I wanted to continue to see them. But, even after all these years, I always feel the Holy Spirit on my left ankle when I pray to God. I feel connected to God.

I started to smile most of the time, and appreciated what God had created in this world. I was never the type of person who could fake a smile. It just didn't fit who I was. So, if I smile, it's because I feel good inside. I feel grateful inside. I feel God inside.

I really didn't know who to tell about what had happened to me. I tried to tell my mother, but I realized she really didn't believe me. She was a religious person, but when it comes to the reality of someone actually witnessing what I did, I understood it was difficult to believe. It hurt, but I got over it. I was very naive, thinking everyone would believe me. Boy was I wrong. I didn't know any better. I didn't even think they would question what I had told them. Imagine that! God must have laughed or felt bad, one or the other. I had gone to an alcohol counselor for my first two years in recovery. I had told the counselor some of the story that happened to me. The next time I went to see her, as I was walking to her office, an older woman that worked there also came up to me and asked to talk to me. We went in her office, and she explained she was an hallucination's expert. So now I knew why I was in there. The counselor had told her about my story. I understood completely. She asked if I would tell her, and so I did. But, instead of calling the men with the white coats, she said, "Eddie, you didn't have hallucinations. I believe everything you said." I felt glad and surprised. She said from her desk, "Hallucinations are when you see purple people walking on the desk. Also, hallucinations don't go on this long." I guess she meant from alcohol. I don't know. There wasn't much left to say, and it ended. The alcohol counselor never brought it up anymore. I never had, no ever will, share this story with a psychiatrist or psychologist. The reason is common sense. There is a very high possibility, almost guaranteed, that they will medically and scientifically analyze it. This is what they do. To speak to them about this made no sense to me. I don't want to be diagnosed with something I don't have. I am far from the only one who has had experiences, encounters or awakenings in the spiritual realm, and from God. I had realized a person can feel the Holy Spirit inside them. It may not have happened overnight, but it certainly did. The presence of the Holy Spirit is an amazing feeling. It is unlike any that I have ever felt before. It is not realistic to you unless you experience the Holy Spirit for yourself. I have asked people who were very religious Catholics, and they knew nothing of what I was talking about. Their faces told the whole story.

I had to know what was in that Bible. I was drawn to it like a magnet. Since I was young, I never knew if we had a Bible, nor gave it a thought. But now, I had my own, and needed to read it. And this I did. I asked the Holy Spirit to please help me to understand it as I read it. I understood that the Bible never ends. It is not a book you just read once, and that's it. It is to be read over and over. It is a way of life. It needs to be incorporated into one's life, just as much as everyday prayer. Prayer, to me, isn't for just Sunday church service. God is not a Sunday morning event. It is for every day. My prayer consists mostly of thanking God, and thanking Jesus Christ. Thinking of all that Jesus Christ went through for us. It is all thanks. Then, if there are people I need to pray for, I do. I cannot go without prayer. It must be done.

I wondered if I should tell my story in A.A. After all, this was now a big part of my story. My experience, my strength, my hope. No one else's. It was then I saw a show on TV about people who saw angels. One showed a little toddler that had cancer and either the mother or father was taking video of her. I heard the toddler talking to her mother about the angels speaking to her at night. They told her they had ice cream in Heaven. There was another about a WWII veteran who was telling a story about him and other soldiers that were alongside each other exchanging fire from the Nazis. They saw angels above them fighting against demons on the Nazis side. He said they didn't know if they should tell anyone because who would believe them? They saw, but they weren't sure about telling anyone else. That's understandable to me. It's not as important for others to believe in what happened to me, as it was for me. These awakenings, or encounters, were for me alone to realize. However, I had always hoped that some would realize the truth and the reality of what happened to me so that it may help them also.

Growing up in a roman catholic church, I never once heard any priest talk about literally feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit in our bodies. A priest and an older nun I talked to had no idea what I was talking about. I hope one day this is addressed in the Catholic Church. You can feel the presence of God within you. This is the Holy Spirit. Go to a Pentecostal, or born-again church and they will help you. To feel the Holy Spirit is an amazing experience. Just open your mind and your heart. Invite the Holy Spirit into your life. Welcome the Holy Spirit in your life. Believe. Learn what you are missing. Realize the proof you need. Feel the Holy Spirit inside of you. I, and many others, have, during their life, felt an emptiness that needed to be filled. Sometimes we felt it was for a significant other, which it may have been for some. But for others, they had that significant other in their life, and still, this feeling would not go away. God can fill this need.

I was the last person I thought would ever have been allowed to see, hear and feel what I have. All I know is that God heard my prayers and pleas. I was not someone who went to church, or said prayers to God. I am an alcoholic, and a man, that's all. So many of the one's I knew in the streets from that time had died as I was becoming sober. Funerals and sad news about people you know dying from alcohol or alcohol/drugs let's you know that God wants you around for some reason. That reason is not just to help you, but eventually for you to help others as well. What good would it be if we just became sober, and never helped anyone else who was suffering from this evil? The medical society can call it a disease or whatever they want. All I know is I saw the evil that is behind it for every alcoholic. It is a bondage, a compulsion, an obsession that God will remove from any of us if we believe in Him, and are sincere about stopping. You can never try and fool God. God sees us from the inside.

I believe whatever God does is for a definite reason. I don't believe God would allow someone to see the spiritual realm if God knew they would just dismiss it as being an hallucination or from something that they feel would cause it. There always have been, and there always will be, people who refuse to believe. I don't think anyone ever expects to see and hear in the spiritual realm. I know most people would have been very frightened to see what I saw. It can be very stressful. Your mind and body reacts to something supernatural. Even though people love to see movies and shows like "Touched by an angel" and other shows where angels take on human form. They will also believe them. But, let an actual angel be shown to them from the spiritual realm, especially if it is a demonic angel, also called, "Fallen angel" and their mind and body will certainly react. I saw both. Ones that let me realize who is behind the alcohol for an alcoholic, and one that was from God that let me know that God loves me and is with me. The demonic ones know when an alcoholic sincerely wants to stop and is calling out to God. They use fear as a means of trying to prevent the alcoholic from doing this in different ways.

More than I, people who had known me knew I was changed. Even those in A.A. Knew something had happened to me. They saw how I used to be, and how I was now, after I returned to my meetings. I understand that we need sincerity when we pray, and nothing can bring that on like suffering, pain and desperation. It is so difficult to go through, yet can act as a gift later on. Suffering can physically bring us to our knees, where we belong. I thought to myself about how little we really know about life, except what we have experienced. In most cases, it's defined only by what we have seen. But what of the unseen? They are as real as we are, but we don't have the ability to see them, unless God has allowed us for a definite reason. Nothing is hidden from God. What happened to me reaffirmed my faith and belief in Jesus Christ, the Holy Father and the Holy Spirit. To say God doesn't exist, is to say we don't exist. We deny our own existence. Not to mention the trees, or the birds, or the grass, etc. None of it exists without the creator. It only takes common sense. You don't need any degrees or be a graduate of an Ivy League university to understand this. Look at life around you in a different perspective. You can see the beauty in a flower, and learn what it is made up of, and how it grows and reproduces, and the beautiful markings and colors on it. But if you don't also realize that God created that flower, then you're not looking at it in the right way. Everything that is beautiful on this Earth, I associate with God. I am amazed how God created it. The diversity is astounding. There is so much beauty I will never see while I'm on the Earth.

So what did all this do for me? God allowed me to see how evil is behind every alcoholic, trying all they can to keep you from stopping and recovering, aside from believing in Jesus Christ. I was shown I am no longer alone. When they angel appeared and spoke and sang, the demons stopped. Also, I felt protected. When the Holy Spirit was there, I knew I was protected. I believed I was sealed somehow through what happened to me inside my ankle, which I still feel today when I think of God or I pray. I realized Jesus loves me very much. It was hard to understand this because I am only one in probably billions of people on Earth. I felt death inside of me more than I had ever before until all this had occurred.

In my early recovery, I had no place of my own. I was in mom's apt. For a while, then one of my sister's, and other people's. Then, one day, I found myself without anywhere to go. A man and his girlfriend came up to me, and said I could stay at the rooming house they were living at. So, I went there, and told the woman, who was the landlord, I had no money. She said don't worry about that now. The guy and his girlfriend set me up with a blanket, a pillow, soap, a towel, a tooth brush for my failing teeth, and other necessities. I was very fortunate to have met them, and I believe it was meant to be. They soon found out that I was in A.A., and all of them, except for the land lady, was alcoholic and/or addict. One came in late at night, sat on the floor, and asked how you become sober. In time, about 5 of them had come to A.A. A couple had passed away, but unfortunately this happens so many times. God does not put that drink in our hand; we do. When an alcoholic is active, they are doing their will, and not that of God.

When a person is quiet and doesn't smile much at all, they tend to not have friends. After all, who wants to be around them? That's how I was for many years. It was only through the grace of God that the lock was broken, and for the first time, felt free. I was free to be myself much more than I ever had. I was able to talk in front of people, and not be intimidated by how or what they thought of me. How can you go wrong by telling others what you know is true about yourself? It can be very difficult at first, because you're letting down your guard. But I thought to myself, "There isn't anyone in this room who is better than me. They're just alcoholics." This helped me also. I knew it had to be done to break the ice concerning speaking in front of others. I took longer than most, but, through God, all is possible. I still tend to like the feeling of keeping myself company when I'm alone, but I would be lying if I said I don't get lonely. I had taken up different hobbies, and still do. I help people whenever I can, as many others, and I always go to A.A. Meetings. I realize the Holy Spirit is with me, and ask for conviction when I say or do something wrong. I thank God for God. I ask God for guidance, His input and His will in decisions I feel are important. Then I have confidence the right answer will come. Living without God means living with my will; not good. God knows far more than I will ever know. God never said His angels had all male voices as a couple had mentioned to me. God can do what He wants to do. But whatever is done is for a reason; a reason we can't see sometimes when we're blinded by the way things are.

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