Origin Story - Finding Help

Jim:    So, I had another episode and was in another place.  And, apparently I was called down to the – what I would call the head shed, yet once again because my roommate thought I was disturbed.  Imagine that.  He was in the same place I was.  He thought I was disturbed because I knew – having gone to some 12-step meetings, that I knew enough to pray.  What I was praying to, I had no idea.  However, I’ll never forget this particular interview.  When I sat down the psychiatrist came in.  There was a person taking dictation.  And, it was one of the shortest interviews I ever had.  He asked me, so tell me, Mr. Ellermeyer.  I understand you pray.  And, I said, yes I do, doctor.  And, he said, tell me Jim, what is prayer?  And, I said, I believe it’s talking to God.  Then he said, oh, you talk to God, do you?  And I kind of knew where this conversation was heading.  And, I said, yes, I do.  And, then he asked me does God talk to you?  And I said, well, I like to think so.  And, then he asked me the question:  Do you hear God talk to you?  And, being a little upset, and having gone through these interviews before, I said to him of course I do.  Don’t you?  And, I saw him shake his head then write at the bottom of his form psychotic.  And, he dismissed me.  And, as I walked down the hall I thought to myself well, Jim, you’ve just breathed your last breath of fresh air.  You’re on your way to Mayview – which was the state hospital at the time, which is now long-since closed.  So, sitting in that room, I thought to myself well, you have to talk to someone sane.  Being where I was, there was no one available.  So, although I was no longer involved in Catholic church, I was at a place where there were some Catholic churches close by.  So, I called.  Remember folks, nothing happens in this world by mistake – and we’ve talked about this before.  We talk about serendipity.  We talk about synchronicity.  Okay, and this is one of those moments.  A priest answered the phone and in twenty (20) minutes he was there.  And, his name was Father Rapheal.  And, he sat down in that room with me.  And, I told him my story.  And, then sat next to me and he put his hand on my shoulder.  And, I’ll never forget this – remember there’s moments in your life that are specific and meaningful and impactful.  When we talk about full-impact mindfulness, this is one of those impactful moments in a person’s life.  He said to me God speaks to everybody.  Very few people listen.  And, this is where when I talk to you about if we’re present and aware – if we’re paying attention on purpose, a person, place, thing, or situation – some event in my life will be there for you to witness and have some type of meaning.  However, we must be there and avoid our time travelling exercises.  So, after getting out of that particular environment, I was on what people would call enforced sobriety for the next nine (9) months – which for those of you who do something simply because you’re forced to, I think everyone will understand that when I refer to some of these previous podcasts as being restless, irritable, and discontent – that’s exactly the way I was.  I had done nothing to deal with myself.  Nothing at all.  Nothing involved having a change in my thoughts and a change in my actions.  I began to drink again, of course.  What does a person do?  You go back to what worked.  Although it didn’t work – that’s  a thing that you are comfortable with.  And, when we talk before – when we talk about those neural pathways, when we talk about those eight (8) lane super highways that we jump on that are well-traveled and well-maintained, this was a well-established pattern of behavior that would at least take you away from pain for a little while.  However, it would return just as intensely.  I distinctly remember losing contact, which is what some people would call a psychotic break.  I specifically remember being on top of a mountain, and it was completely dark.  I was standing right at the peak and I was all alone by myself.  The only illumination was flashes of lightening.  And, my dead relatives were calling me to join them.  All I remember was screaming.  And, the next thing that I knew – that I remember, the next lucid thought I had was sitting on a bed with a psychiatrist’s hand on the shoulder.  And, she said to me I’m going to help you.  And, she did.  So, keeping in mind that I was never a physically abusive or verbally abusive type of individual – however, when you’re involved in those type of activities you don’t have to be definitely involved in some type of addictive behavior to be emotionally absent, to be a ghost in your life, to be a ghost in an environment.  And, really, a ghost that other people could only see and not interact.  And, that’s what happens to people in life when they become sheltered, when they become withdrawn, when they become isolated, when they become depressed, when they become anxious.  They feel like they’re not part of – and become emotionally absent from not only others’ lives, but their own.  So, I remember specifically one night – it was actually the day that changed my life, was I was sitting in my house.  And, of course, I was all alone by myself.  And I remember being consumed with fear.  I remember being consumed with fear that I was unable to put a name on – and keeping in mind that one of the things that I encourage and desperately want to get across to people is the ability to label and describe thoughts and feelings because without them you have absolutely no control over them.  They come in and dominate your life.  So, I became very afraid.  And, I had no idea what of.  I had no idea whether I was afraid to be sober, afraid to live, afraid to die – I had absolutely no idea.  Having no connection with the Divine, having no connection with the Creator, I was in desperate trouble.  And, the only person that I knew was to call my best friend, who I thought had some type of connection.  And, I asked him to pray for me that night.  And, I specifically remember – and you can think what you want about this, however, I was there.  I remember getting up in the middle of the night.  And, of course I had disturbed sleep patterns.  And, many of you out there may relate to having disturbed sleep patterns throughout your life when your thoughts and feelings were running wild and you had absolutely no control over them.  I remember getting up out of the bed in the middle of the night and getting down on the floor weeping.  And, I didn’t call out to Jesus, Buddha, Allah, or the Great Spirit.  I just called out for help.  I made the most sincere prayer that any individual in Hell.  I said I’m done.  And, I didn’t just mean done drinking.  I was done.  There was nothing left.  And, I said please, help me.   And, it wasn’t until then that I had the honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness to try.  I was done, and I surrendered.  I understood that I had no control.  And, that night I received that help.  And, that changed my life.  So, that next morning when I woke up, I knew that the first person that I had to see was my mother.  Now, keep in mind – when we’re engaged in a certain mindset, and we’re only involved with ourselves – so if you remember, one of the commonalities of people who are involved in different activities are selfishness and self-centeredness.  And they only think about themselves.  So, I used to go visit my mother.  And, when I would go visit her, she wouldn’t judge me or yell at me.  However, my own behavior would make me feel bad.  Remember, that’s the cognitive dissonance.  So, how do we create consonance?  Well, maybe a normal person would either try to alter or modify their behavior.  However, to seek consonance – to seek a level water in my own mind, so I could actually live with myself, I actually stopped going to see her.  And, I didn’t visit my mother for two (2) years.  And, that’s truly sad.  So, that morning when I walked into her house, she said to me Jimmy, what are you doing here?  And, I said, I’ve got something to tell you.  And, she said, oh no.  What now?  Well, it could have been anything.  But I asked that old woman to sit down at that table.  And, I took her hand.  And, I said, I’m not going to promise you anything.  I’m going to try.  I said, I’m going to try to stop my behaviors.  And, I’m going to enter a 12-step program.  And, that old woman just laid her head down on that table.  And, she cried and cried.  And, she said, thank you, God.  How I’ve prayed for this day.  And, it wasn’t until that moment that I realized how I’d impacted her life.  And, I sat back in that chair, and I thought to myself, what have I done to this woman?  And, I thought, what have I done to myself?  What have I done to my family?  What have I done to the world?  Those feelings and thoughts are overpowering and overwhelming.  And they can be.  I urge everyone out there to please have some close friends.  Seek some professional help.  Be able to learn how to identify, and label these thoughts and feelings.  And, understand that you are not them.  Understand that you can think at these thoughts rather than from them.  Let’s try not to have them be the travel agent to take you on a significant ride to a not a good place.  

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