Comfortably numb. I’d spent nearly eight years in a well-crafted cocoon. No, I’m not waiting metamorphosis, but a little over eight years ago, the comfortable life as I’d come to know it came crashing on my head. My parents were separating, but moreover, my identity was gone. It was on that very day that I began insulating myself against the nor’easters of this world. It wasn’t until an uncomfortable, hot ride in the steel cage known as the backseat of a police cruiser that I had any inkling I’ve been missing out all these years. See, rather than moving on and pressing forward, I’d been spinning my wheels, finding a place where I could dull away and forget what troubled me, but I could be afforded this luxury no longer.

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Paradise lost. Eight years ago, I first turned to alcohol, then dabbled in pot. I didn’t know where else to turn, because God didn’t let bad things happen to good people, people couldn’t be trusted and I had never been prepared for that kind of pain. What’s a boy to do in this situation? I dulled the pain each weekend along with a few other senses, but I made sure to keep up the appearances of performance at school and on the soccer field.

Only a fool repeats his folly. You’d think that in eight years I’d have had enough wakeup calls and warnings to get with the program, but most of you don’t know how hardheaded I am. As with any unhealthy habit, I’d had plenty, even given up pot at the drop of a hat a few years ago, but alcohol was a much more enticing anodyne. Not only did it soothe away pain, but it can provide for a great social scene (just go to your favorite local watering hole).

In the company of strangers. One of the catch-22s of alcohol is it makes you friends with complete strangers. No, I don’t mean other people, but yourself when you get comfortable staring at the person in the mirror whom you’ve never taken the time or inconvenience to know on any level. After that period of time, nothing is familiar and the question of “Who am I?” only gets more daunting by the day.

Paradise found. There’s still much to deal with in the aftermath, but that car ride in the cruiser and the following night of joy in a cell was God’s grace in grand form. No one was hurt, no one dead, but my soul lurched to a start. It was the necessary wakeup call, painful as it has been, but nothing short of what I needed. Sure, I’m ashamed it came to this, but there’s much yet to come of it and for that I’m excited. Now, it’s time for me to move on and bring others through this with me. It’s time to bear my soul through the ice and fire of this world. I now know that if God is for me (and He must be), then who can be against?

Friend, how are you attempting to dull the pains of this life? Is it focusing on other people’s lives? Is it acts of service or even ministry? Take a good, hard look and answer that for yourself. No, there’s not a moment to spare. You can’t get it back and no one’s ever guaranteed the next moment. I’ve wasted enough for the lot of us. You have a promise, you have a purpose, now go and live them. The world is thirsting for you to fulfill your potential. Today’s the day we break free from our chains together and tell the world we’re no longer happy as the undead, living comfortably numb.