Every time I hear "High" by Jamar Rogers, there are a few emotions that tries to escape that I can barely get through the song. It reminds me of a difficult season that expanded most of my life. I remember everything that I went through. To struggle with something for twenty years is exhausting. I am so grateful that I can honestly say that GOD DELIVERED ME FROM IT.
The song says:
Feeling worthless…Feeling helpless…I wanna shelve it…I can’t help it…
All of a sudden here they are again…Those things I keep remembering
I’m pretty used to this regimen now…
So I fumble…Take a tumble… I’ve gotten humble from all of my blunders
So I kiss what I know so well…Because I know that it will never tell
Knocks these thoughts right out of my head…
So I gotta gotta gotta get high
To kill my low
The altitude’s so high I can barely breathe
But I don’t mind at all cause my problems can’t reach
I feel so numb
I am sure that we all can relate to these lyrics one way or another. Now the song writer has his own story about what he was referring to but this song is speaking to me about my Alcohol Addiction. This vice actually started from a suicide attempt at the age of twelve. Is anything really that SERIOUS at that age? Maybe not but that was how I was feeling and that made it real for me.
In probably the silliest attempt at ending my own life, I drank a whole bottle of 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. I read the bottle that had a warning to call poison control if ingested so in my mind I just KNEW that I would be poisoned to death. My flawless plan didn’t demand the “courage” to shoot or cut myself or jump from something tall. I told my sister goodbye and I still remember the confused look on her face. I struggled mightily to digest that horribly pungent taste of rubbing alcohol completely. After my teary-eyed and silent apology to GOD, I folded my hands across my chest and went to sleep. It was like I wanted to make it easier for them to lay me in the casket. The strangest thing happened though, I woke up so drunk that I was seeing triple. I stumbled around my room scared but laughing at myself. In all of that, I forgot about everything that was going on at the time that encouraged my attempt to die. I became addicted to that feeling.
I would sneak quite a few drinks but my alcohol addiction didn’t fully manifest until I was fourteen. By then my life was, in my estimation, “unbearable”. There was so much going on at the time in addition to the normal teenage issues. Emotionally, I was very unstable. I was unable to handle rejection, disappointment and many other life issues that we all have to deal with. Alcohol became my god. Despite being in church every week, I depended on the bottle to help me through my life. The alcohol activated the biggest benefits of troubled times; forgetting and escaping reality.
As with any addiction there are personality traits that come along with the addiction such as: lying, stealing and whatever else you had to do to hide the truth. I mastered all of them because people didn’t have a clue. My personality enabled me to get away with it. I got away with it at home. I was in high school drunk every single day. I was at church drunk. I got kicked out of school for being drunk. I didn’t even care because I was numb. I stayed numb. I had to. Reality was too hard.
When I became an adult, hiding it became less important. I was drinking to everything. The birth of my children…I’ll drink to that! A new job…I’ll drink to that! I woke up….I’ll drink to that!! Looking back, it was really ridiculous. The more things happened the more I hid behind the bottle. I couldn’t allow life to penetrate me because I couldn’t handle it. I tried to be a big boy a few times. I even stopped drinking for a few months. Life didn’t stop happening though and to keep up the image of a man who stopped drinking, I began to drink in secret just like I did back in high school. I was drinking at lunch and any other secret time I could find. I got tired of hiding my drinking after nine months and just stopped concealing it.
Rock bottom is where I was when I reached out for help. Which takes me back to the song:
But then you come….and bring the sun……You turn my heart around…
You take my hand…Say I’m better than…..this mess I call a life…
Now I’m feeling so high…..’cause you took my love…….the altitude is high but I don’t need to breathe…just stay by my side and keep loving me…..I feel alive
For the first time ever in life, I found myself in Cook County Jail in October 2008. It had nothing to do with my addiction but those three days changed my life. After being humiliated with the strip search, I was put into a cell. When I walked in, my cellmate knew me. He asked me if I was that church boy that sang in the choir at the church in his neighborhood. It was years prior but he remembered my whole family. Not only was I ashamed internally but my embarrassment was now exposed completely. He thought that if I could end up in a place like that, he didn’t stand a chance. I told him that he couldn’t base his situation on me because I was flawed just like he was. He had a bible so we read the bible and prayed together.
I talked to GOD that night and asked HIM to take the taste out of my mouth. I was spiraling out of control and needed HIS help. I was tired of just going to church. I wanted to live a different life. It took a couple of days after I was released but November 1, 2008 was the last time I took a drink.
For many years I ran from everything and the things I tried to avoid, I was forced to face all of it seemingly at once. Dealing with the childhood memories and the different things that had happened to me was grueling. It was overwhelming at first but I kept praying and asking the LORD to help me through it. HE did. After all of those years of drinking, I asked HIM to help me to stop. HE did. Just like that.
I don’t need to get high like that anymore because I now live ELEVATED!!!