My story is one that is important for me to share. Beyond the professional and educational experiences I have had; deeper than the events, the degrees and the accomplishments are the personal struggles that have really formed my capacity and drive to do this work, this ministry to which I have devoted myself.
The greater part of my life has been one in which I experienced the love and joy of family and friends. For the very most part, I had a loving family of origin. I was blessed with a marriage and children. I had many wonderful experiences in my formative and adult years.
It was in my late thirties, however, when depression and addiction began to manifest themselves in me. Certain events triggered what had been sleeping in the shadows of my life for a number of years. A few incidents and situations in both my professional and personal life triggered a pattern of depression and behavior that took me into some very dark places. Depression came first, which then led to my attempt to medicate with addiction. As with any addiction, shame kept me wanting to admit and get help for with my struggles. I prayed to God for help, both to relieve my pain and halt my addiction. But both the depression and addiction spiraled deeper and deeper. There were points along the way at which I considered suicide. I struggled off and on for a number of years.
Unfortunately, the affects on my marriage, family relationships and career were great. I had so badly hurt those I loved the most. Ultimately, it led to my wife and I divorcing. At the time, neither of us wanted it, but we both realized it was necessary.
That first year afterward was one of extreme grief and floundering in which I struggled to find my way. I had deeply wounded my wife and my daughters, as well as others who had put their trust in me.
It was then I gradually began to own my struggles and behavior and take responsibility for my recovery. Counseling, group work and a month intensive recovery stay at the Mercy Center in Colorado Springs were transforming. It was in that work that I came to realize and understand the sources of my depression and addiction - the loss of my mother in my youth, an incident in which I was abused shortly afterward, and abandonment by important people in my life in whom I trusted. It was also in that recovery work in which I realized God's forgiveness which I knew and taught, but that I had needed to truly embrace for far too long. I learned about the extreme importance of forgiving both those who had wounded me and as well as myself.
I have continued to heal, work on myself and grow both spiritually and mentally. Today I am at a significantly better place. I have learned so much on so many levels. And the unconditional love and support of a few significant people have made all the difference. Today, I pray that my experiences, the struggles and the successes, will benefit others and help them live lives of wholeness and wellness.