By James Davis
Hello, once again, to all of you who follow my column, and I thank you for your support and encouragement!
In the past few articles, I touched base on some issues I was reliving that I had allowed to overcome me; and I was on the brink of contemplating suicide. You see, my own negative self-defeating behaviors began to arise, and I tried to fight them alone — BIG MISTAKE!
In this past year, I dealt with many hardships that not only physically affected me but also mentally as well. My son was incarcerated, my family relationships began to falter because I was not following the steps I needed to maintain responsibility, and I lost my housing. I ended up on the suicide floor in a hospital due to my anxiety/depression and self-talk that further pushed me to giving up.
Had it not been for a higher power (I call mine God) and Pastor DeWayne Hill with my High Praise Destiny Center family being there for me without judgment, I probably would not be writing anymore. So I thank them all.
In this article, I wanted to do some focusing on how I and a few others in recovery found ways to pull out of the downward spiral and get back or stay on track when inward issues resurface and begin to haunt us.
I spoke with two gentlemen of the Nu-Way House Incorporated who have made many changes in their thoughts, actions and behaviors. These gentlemen are now giving back strength and hope via their work environment and their experiences.
Ed and Tony are African American men with stories that prove if you change your life and reactions to situations, inner peace will follow.
They had various struggles that lead them to a common place of surrender, be it growing up in a dysfunctional home, delusional thinking of what relationships should be, or just sabotaging situations by not wanting to accept the fact that there was a problem in the first place.
In general, many men do not feel comfortable about the issue of child sexual abuse and often feel ashamed to discuss it. When these issues are not addressed it can lead to confusion, self-esteem issues, inadequacies and depression.
Many turn to street life: gangs, drugs and various hustles that make things worse.
When asked, ”What made you say, ‘Enough! I can do better than this!’?” their responses were:
Ed: ”Nothing was working out for the good in my life, so I got to the point of accepting defeat to the illness of addiction — not just with alcohol and drugs but with dealing, gang banging and whatever else I thought gave me power at the time.
“I decided that my life was worth something and [that] I deserve to live a more productive successful life.”
Tony: ”I had lost my character; I always had a close supportive family, but somewhere along the way I lost my values and let pride and ego get in the way. I wanted to do it on sheer willpower. I stopped resisting against this illness. [Thinking] ‘This shouldn’t have happened to me!” became the hardest part of the beginning of my journey to success.”
What had brought these men to the brink of destruction and back was not their giving-up point but the point of ”I gotta change for me, because I do have a purpose!”
Today, these gentlemen are working at NuWay House Incorporated and giving back to others with their experiences, strength and hope, as well as leading by example.
I am a believer in the power of leading by example, and Pastor DeWayne Hill does just that. His ability to love unconditionally (as God would have it) is not only an inspiration but also an encouragement to me to know that all things are possible with a higher power.
One of the most encouraging things I see that is helpful to our African American community is understanding and accepting that life is so much better when we are connected — and stay connected — with positive people and relationships.
I have watched parents and kids in High Praise and other spiritually connected families and am so thankful that it helps me see that I can come out of my self-beating ways and be encouraged by the love they have for one another.
Anastasia, Ariel, and Addison are products of God’s love through spiritually led parents. These siblings show this not only to others but also to each other without reservation, envy or any other thing that would hinder one another’s growth.
I also see this type of camaraderie with many of the High Praise members with their families, and to see it right before my eyes lets me know it’s reachable.
Our youth today struggle with many forms of pressure, and without positive influence and guidance it can affect them later in life, as it has Ed, Tony and myself.
Understanding that life will have its ups and downs is the first step of accepting that there is always room for learning, which leads to growth.
There is strength in numbers, and when you might think, ”No one knows my pain or understands my struggles,” you will be not only be surprised by how many do, but also encouraged by listening to those who can relate and not feel so alone or ashamed.
There is hope!
In closing, I am grateful for the snowstorms that came this year. I witnessed people pulling together and helping each other, be it pushing someone out of stuck positions, giving to the homeless, or just general courtesy to one another; and that is what builds unity. What a blessing to see the glass as half full instead of half empty.
James Davis welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.