“I’m able to see the good in those who face the darkness because I’ve been there myself.”

“Facing the darkness” can mean many things to many people, but for me, the legs of my spiritual journey most devoid of light have been the ones in which I was under relentless attack by the demons of my Bipolar Disorder, Alcoholism, and Porn Addiction.

And for those of you whose soul has been pierced and shredded by the thorns of mental illness and addictions as you woven your way through that same dense and seemingly endless thicket of black locusts, I feel you. We are brothers and sisters in suffering.

There were times when my spiritual and intellectual pain were so great, my coping skills so limited, my environment so miserable, and my desire to escape the pain so great that I chose to do things that harmed others and myself in very profound ways.

There was a time (when I was drinking, acting out, and manic) that I hated myself for what I was doing and who I had become.

But many years of recovery and spiritual growth have taught me to “walk in the light.” By God’s grace and by hovering near that light, my demons have been mostly at bay and my path relatively clear for the last 8 years.

Through the course of taking a “searching and fearless moral inventory,” sharing it with another person, defining my character defects, becoming willing to let them go (despite the fact that many were the faulty coping mechanisms that had kept me alive), and making amends to those I had harmed, I began to see the good in me.

Taking it a step further with consistent thought of others and being of service, I began to “build self esteem through esteemable acts.”

I realized that I had not been a “bad person.” I had been a sick person doing harmful things because I was in immense pain.

Most importantly, I ultimately realized that I am a good person, and looking back over my years of facing the darkness, I could even see the good in myself during those times.

So for those of you facing the darkness of untreated mental illness and/or active addiction, I can see the good in you too.

And I do “look for the good.”

Yours in Solidarity.

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