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God made a my dad

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God made a my dad

Good Evening ?? my full name is William Bruce Dunn.? Recovery is a process and because of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, the 12 Steps, and Sponsorship and today I Celebrate Recovery.? I have a relationship with Jesus Christ who is my Lord and Savior.

In my past I was hopelessly addicted to alcohol, drugs and sexual behavior, co-dependency and a deep feeling of uselessness and self-pity.? The steps, GOD and sponsorship have changed all that.

My God ?? it??s so great to be alive and have HOPE.? There truly was such a long period of time where there was no hope.? There was only surviving in a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.

Mark 5: verse 19 ?? ??Go Home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how he has had mercy on you.??? You are part of my extended family and I pray this testimony can be of some use to someone in this Sanctuary tonight.
SANCTUARY ?? a place of refuge, protection, fugitives immune from arrest ?? SAFE.? It??s a gift to feel safe and protected.

My life before recovery was not life ?? but survival.? I grew up in a nice house, with everything a young boy could want.? Notice I said EVERYTHING.? A great house, plenty of food, Buick cars, vacations, country club membership and clothing.? It was like I grew up in a hardware store, but you can??t get bread from a hardware store.? Not once did I hear from my mom or dad ?? ??I Love You?? or have a meaningful conversation.? No one shared any thoughts, hopes, fears or disappointment or any feelings but Dad??s anger.? I am the oldest of FOUR sons and today I know they each did the best they could with the tools they had.? I have forgiven them.

My soul was restless until it found rest in Thee.

Alcoholism is a family disease and it has an effect on everyone.? Both parents were severely affected by alcoholism.? My Grandfather ?? Carl Dunn ?? was a WWI Corpsman who saw his brother die and tried to save him in a battle in France.? He came back a decorated hero ?? yet wounded, inside.? He coped with war with alcohol.? Today it??s called PTSD.? The memories and pain were too much.? He committed suicide on Easter Sunday ?? when my dad was TEN.? My dad rarely spoke of his father and if he did ?? spoke with shame, as a drunk.

My mother had TWO alcoholic parents who abandoned her at a young age.? She was raised by an Aunt & Uncle.? Mom never spoke of either of her parents,? EVER.? I just found out last year that my Grandmother died TEN years ago.? I never got to meet her.? I know just because we drank ?? we were not bad people.? Both Parents left Keokuk, Iowa and all memories of their past.? Buried.? History forgotten.? Everything? appeared to be JUST FINE.

Neither parent or I had a relationship with our fathers.? No coincidence there was no relationship with a Heavenly Father.

At a pretty young age I grew up knowing or learning that what you see on the outside is what??s important.? For a while that worked.? I was shy and afraid?? selfish is more honest.? I didn??t know much about this world at TEN, yet I acted like I knew.? If you asked questions ?? it drew attention and I believed you were dumb if you asked questions.

Over time I became inconsiderate and disrespectful to authority figures ?? teachers, coaches, police, sheriff??s, judges, doctors, lawyers and such.? Also, my biological Father ?? who was the County Attorney in Eldora, Iowa where I grew up.? Over time I learned to respect the ultimate authority figure ?? GOD.

From a very young age I went to church.? Had to go again with suits & ties making sure everything looked good on the outside.? Inside I was slowly dying.? I hadn??t even started drinking yet.? I guess I knew there was a God ?? yet had no relationship with anyone ?? no trust or communication.? How could I have a relationship with God??

I didn??t do well in school.? Truth is ?? I did poorly ?? didn??t enjoy studying or learning.? Didn??t follow suggestions or listen.? School was something you had to do.? Really no meaningful relationship with any teacher either.
Selfish, Self-Centered and Afraid.

Eldora is a small town of 3,000 population.? In 5th grade I??m doing my best alone, not asking for any help or telling anyone else what??s going on and now I??m held back a year.? With a class of 60 kids ?? you see one year you are with this group of kids and then next year they are ahead of you and you??re behind.? Something happened then.? It could have been a turning point towards a positive change ?? GET BUSY.? I used it against me.

I knew I was less than others now.? I had proof and every day I went to school I saw people in my old class ?? ahead of me.? Something was wrong, something hurt and I kept it all in.

The sad truth is I didn??t communicate with anyone about what I felt.? Shame, guilt, loneliness, fear.? Something was wrong and I was falling behind.

I am the oldest of FOUR brothers.? THREE younger brothers ?? all did good in school and liked it.? They all went on to college, studied law and became lawyers ?? just like Dad.? I enjoyed fighting the law ?? eventually the law won.
In school I went out for sports more to be a part of something ?? than to compete.
I enjoyed being on a team.? Again, if I would have listened and followed suggestions ?? READ the Play books ?? I would have done better.

In 8 th grade about TEN of us formed a gang.? We smoked, vandalized stuff, shop-lifted and caused trouble.? I liked it any time we could get beer or anything else with alcohol ?? WE DRANK.? Finally relief-- something to ease the pain of not fitting in.? I slowly believed I was less than others.? The BLACK SHEEP in my family.? I took pride in being a BLACK SHEEP.? Bad identity is better than none.

Looking back ?? which is part of the STEPS ?? 4 and 5 there could have been so many turning points in my life if I only believed I was responsible.? In recovery I learned that I was responsible for my Actions and Attitude?? NO MATTER WHAT.

Before High School graduation ?? I had totaled TWO cars while drunk; graduated 2nd from last in class of 1970; loss of jobs; driving all over Hardin County forging checks on the town bankers?? account --buying alcohol in country town bars - siphoning gas all over town for a trip to Kansas City to buy Coors beer.

Understand ?? I lived to drink, finally a solution to feeling better.? Not only did I like to drink for the affect, I liked to drink to get drunk.? I had found something I could do better than anyone else.? That week-end I drank more Coors beer than anyone else at a party house while a friends parents were on vacation for a week.?? I WAS SOMEBODY NOW.? I couldn??t do much ?? but I could drink anyone else under the table in Eldora.
I??m 17.? Over time I had learned that outside things made me feel better on the inside.

The next day a buddy who??s house it is ?? asks a girl to come over.? She walks in the house and goes upstairs to the bedroom with him.? Time passes.? He comes down and we all get a separate turn with her.? There??s no romance ?? no attraction ?? it??s just SEX.? That??s the first time I have sex with someone else.? I know today it could have been something special with someone I loved.? That??s the FIRST of many women I use for my pleasure.

Throughout school I don??t have many significant other??s.? The other guys are slowly growing up and having girlfriends.? I??m attracted to girls, but I don??t know how to talk to them.? PLAYBOY works.? I??m actually angry at some of my friends because they want to be with their girlfriends and all I want to do is drink more.

I took pride in always trying to please others.? I know today it was to get something in return.? I was a chameleon and liked it.? I could act like I could fit in anywhere as long as there was alcohol and drugs.? I could easily pick up on what was going on around me and blend right in with a group.

In dark smoke-filled rooms or a car listening to the Stones, Doors or Hendrix ?? sharing the same bowl or bottle ?? you were my Best Friend.? Nothing needed to be said and we couldn??t hear you if there was.? The music was LOUD and we were STONED.? There??s a song by Pink Floyd called Comfortable Numb.? For years I stayed comfortably numb and slowly slip-slided away.? Every day I USED ?? a few more lights within me were turned OFF.

I laughed along with other??s when they said to me ?? the lights were on ?? but nobody??s home.? I??ve always been a follower, except with God.

In 1970 I graduated from Eldora High School OR was passed through.? I didn??t like school.? I wasn??t a jock, either.? I wanted to get out of town.? I still wanted my Dad??s respect.? He was a Major in the Air Force Reserves ?? so I entered the US Air Force in November 1970.

It was a good decision.? A little discipline, a little self-respect, service to a country. A FRESH START.? I was surprised without alcohol or drugs in me ?? I studied and did well in Texas and became a Corpsman.? From 1970 ?? 1975 I served in 3 Emergency Departments.? Working in the ER was great ?? lots of excitement, drama, life and death.? One full day on ?? 3 days off.

The 1 st ambulance run the First week in California ?? is a gunshot wound.? We scream down the road ?? lights and siren blaring.? We run into the house and to the back bedroom.? A man??s sitting on the bed with an M-16 between his legs and his face and top of his head are gone.? I pick up brain and skull fragments and add it to the body bag and take him to the morgue.? Just Another Day.

I don??t talk to anyone about what we saw or did at work in the Emergency Room.? I??m TWENTY YEARS OLD on a base THIRTY miles north of San Francisco.? Alcoholism is progressive.? I??m now using beer, wine, whiskey, valium, Pheno-barbitol, acid, pot, hash and opium.

I do my job and I do it well.? I received recommendations and congratulations on work well done from the doctors and nurses I get to work with daily.? With one day on and three days off ?? it was easy to recover and be ready for work.? I took pride in not using at work.? You were an ADDICT if you used a needle.? You were a DRUNK if you couldn??t hold it.

Twenty-Four years old and I??m coping with life with all the tools I have.? The only tools I choose to rely on are self, drugs, alcohol and a wife now ?? Melissa ?? who I??ve known since High School.

It??s 1974 ?? I??m now at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Alabama.? The South is still Dixie.? I??m SIX months from completing a FOUR year term with (by God??s Grace) an Honorable Discharge.? I??m working in the ER with an auto accident victim.? The previous week-end I had done a bunch of mushrooms.? I have a Psyche Break ?? I??m AWOL for a week.? In my mind ?? somebody??s after me.? I??m FULL BLOWN MANIC.

We run to Florida ?? to a couple??s home in Panama Beach.? I want to mow his grass and get into a nest of fire ants in the yard.? I get bit by HUNDRED??s of fire ants and I can??t breathe.? I??m rushed to Eglin AFB in Panama Beach in anaphylactic shock.

I??m rescued ?? then institutionalized for FOUR months.? I come to in a 6 x 8 foot room with a FOUR inch thick door and screens on the windows and padding on the walls and a mattress on the floor.? At least THREE times a day ?? they would feed me and give me shots of Thorozine and Haldol.

After a few days the nurses would shuffle me out to a canvas bag at the end of the hall and I would beat on it until my knuckle??s bled.? Back to the room, another shot and I??m gone again.? This went on for a FEW WEEKS.

Over time, I learned to do the Thorozine shuffle.? It??s not pretty.? Doctors and Nurses and my Wife called my Parents asking them to come down.? I needed them.? They wouldn??t OR couldn??t come down.? My wife, Missy, stuck by my side because that??s what you do and I became dependent upon her to.

I??m discharged? Honorably on 100% disability.? Doctors suggest? -- don??t drink on top of this handful of meds you are now on.? Another Authority Figure telling me what to do.? I??m just fine ?? leave me alone.? Alcohol and drugs don??t have anything to do with my insanity.??? I??M IN COMPLETE DENIAL.

It??s 1976 ?? my first daughter??s born at Broad Lawn??s Hospital.? I??m in the Psych Unit after another breakdown mixing alcohol and skipping Psych drugs.? This time out of humiliation ?? I learn I need the medicine to live, survive and would not miss a dose.

From 1976-1981 a wife does love me as best she can.? I don??t know what Love is.? I look back and I know today.? The Lights were on ?? yet nobody was home.? She??s tired of taking care of a grown man.? She makes a decision to divorce me.? I move out to a convenient place across the street from the Waveland Bar and a Grocery Store.

I was not going to pay Child Support.? It was her fault.? She asked for it.? I still had the G.I. Bill and chose to go back to school.? DMACC.

I steal from a roommate and soon I have to move again.? I move to the worst place I??ve ever lived.? I refer to it as ??My Tomb.?? ?? The Eddy Apartments.? $85 a month paid for by Uncle Sam.? I??m drinking, taking my meds and more alone and scared than I??ve ever been in my life ?? and I want to die.? Everyone in the apartment was on disability and it was beginning to look attractive.

I know my Grandfather committed suicide.? I can get back at Dad for not telling me and I consider gas from the oven in my 6 x 8 efficiency.? Still today ?? I am SO grateful for the small flicker of HOPE that said ?? NOT NOW as I lay down after blowing the pilot lights out.

That last year I regularly went to a Sanctuary at Grace Methodist Church on Cottage Grove in Des Moines.? Not just on Sunday??s ?? but daily.? Crying my eyes out asking for help from a God I didn??t know or care much about at that time in my life.? The only place I could feel close to God was in a Church.? Because of Celebrate Recovery ?? today He is within me.? I was so powerless and a broken man; humiliated, ashamed, lost and guilty and so alone and afraid.? GOD, the steps and sponsorship changed it all.

I truly am a grateful alcoholic and addict.? I pray I never forget the desperation of a dying man and believe that if I choose to go back out ?? I will not start over but quickly pick up where I left off.? Alcoholism remains cunning, baffling, powerful and progressive.? Never better after a relapse ?? ALWAYS WORSE.

SURRENDER IS NEVER EASY.? Yet, I had to die to live.? I heard at an AA Conference? ??What God would use He first reduces to nothing.??? It hurts being nothing, useless, empty, a failure ?? powerless.
LET GO, LET GOD, SURRENDER.

I??m still going to DMACC ?? bouncing off the walls drinking, smoking Pot and taking V.A. drugs and a guy I refer to as my lifesaver ?? tells me about a place called the A.A. Whitehouse and I should go.? I go Sunday night.? I sit in the parking lot frightened to go in.? GOD helps me go in.

At my first TWELVE STEP AA meeting I heard ??Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed Our Path.? I disregarded the words We and Our Path.? Trust takes time.? With God??s help over time I was able to make one of the best decisions of my life.

On October 12, 1984 ?? I stopped drinking all alcohol, taking prescribed and Non-prescribed drugs.? I honestly believed that alone ?? I could get better.? If the alcohol and drugs really were the problem ?? all I had to do was stay away from them and I would get better, ALL BY MYSELF.? I was a dry drunk ?? desperate, afraid and stayed sober out of FEAR.? Meetings helped.? At one meeting I heard we??re all BLACK SHEEP.? If we??re together ?? we??re a HERD ?? no longer alone.

In Luke 15 there are 3 separate stories dealing with the Lost ?? Lost Sheep, Lost

Son and Lost Coin.? What I love about each of these verses is how happy God is each time we stop doing something that??s hurtful to us and others and ask for His help.? When I ask today ?? He answers.? Back in the 60??s I wasn??t ready to ask for help yet.

Sometimes the greatest growth comes through pain that helps us grow, but it??s not the pain that helps us grow ?? but our response to it today.? We can feel hurt and walk through the valleys with GOD.? I watch a movie, Shawshank Redemption, and I hear ??get busy living or get busy dying??.? I want to live but don??t know how.? I have hope.

I knew in my psychic withdrawing emotionally unstable? state that if I went to the VA with my record ?? they would lock me up again.? So, for over a year, I ran trails, walked trails??fought and yelled at God and went to sometimes? TWO or? FOUR? AA meetings a day.

What I learned from the Recovery Process is when the alcohol and all drugs were out of me ?? I began to feel for the First time.? EVER.? I hadn??t felt for TWENTY years.? Extreme feelings of sadness and loss.? Yes there was HOPE.? At TWELVE STEP meetings I heard others sharing for the first time feelings of loss of jobs, relationships, suicide,? anger at parents and the law along with the previous use of alcohol and drugs to live.? I was no longer alone ?? someone else really understood.? I was not so unique and if I was a newcomer and didn??t know a thing ?? I was the most important person there.? I was welcomed and wanted.? It felt like a HOME.

I also heard from Ed Emerson ?? SIXTY plus years ?? dies sober.? Plant your stake right here and right now.? First STEP ?? you??ve never made a decision before and stuck with it ?? try this thing.? Your life will change.? I heard change.? I thought get better.? Honestly, the first year sober was harder than the last year using.? The only tools I had I chose to put down..cause of pain.? I learn that the drinking and using was but a symptom.? I begin to see the selfishness, self centeredness, resentments and FEAR.? I??m 34 years old and I don??t know how to live.

Trust was a huge issue for me.? I didn??t trust or wasn??t able to rely upon anyone but me.? Going to meetings regularly over time ?? my Faith grew.? I knew over time if I wanted to drink or use ?? if I went to a meeting ?? it would change.? I heard? ??If it wasn??t for the Struggle ?? where would the Victory Be.??? Over years I noticed that some of the same people went to the same meeting and if I regularly went ?? they would know my name and I would remember theirs.
HUGE STUFF.? A COMMUNITY.? AN EXTENDED FAMILY.

Trust, loyalty, confidentiality, FAITH.? If I walked to a meeting ?? someone would be there.? ALWAYS.

Over time, A LONG TIME ?? I got comfortable sitting at the TWELVE Step table and not in the back.? I slowly began to share what I was feeling instead of what somebody else would say.

Recovery is a PROCESS. The STEPS are in order for a Reason.? In the beginning I so much wanted to be able to stand and declare ?? LOOK WHAT I DID.? I??ve been alone most of my life ?? it??s so great to declare that the further in me Doeth the Works.? I am proud to say today that I am a grateful Recovering Alcoholic and Addict.? It??s all due to the TWELVE Steps that were introduced to me by God through Alcoholics Anonymous.

Celebrate Recovery has transferred a God of my understanding ?? which was outside of me ?? to a relationship with the Father, His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit ?? within me.? I am more whole today when I??m in fit spiritual condition then I have ever been.

Memorizing the STEPS did me no good.? Self-knowledge availed me nothing.? I stood at a turning point and begged for his protection and care.? Over time I was able to work through all the steps with a Sponsor.? Someone I trusted ?? who accepted me.? The good, the bad and the ugly.? He didn??t say ??get out of my life ?? I never want to see you again.??? My foundation grew with trust.

The SECOND STEP was the Step that kept me coming back.? Doctors had diagnosed me insane --- discharged on 100 percent disability and told me to take a handful of meds for the rest of my life.? I know I was insane.? Today I can comprehend the word serenity and know peace.? Today I choose to be In-Sanity.

I was so empty, lonely, fearful, stupid ?? a failure , a VICTIM.? I knew I was junk.? Today I get to do things like this.? I know I get to do things like this because Christ is with me.? God does not make JUNK.? He??s taken a mess of a life and turned it into a message.

It??s so great to know, feel and believe there is no condemnation.? Through the STEPS with GOD and others in recovery we get to feel forgiveness and forgive others.? The Cross behind me is SEVENTY feet tall and SEVEN feet wide at each center.? I have been forgiven, the slate wiped clean.? God knows and I believe I used alcohol, drugs , sex and many other people until I became comfortable ?? slowly trusting Him.

HIS FORGIVENESS IS SUCH A GIFT.

I know today because of my experience ?? alcohol, drugs and sex worked ?? Right NOW.? I wrongly believed sobriety and relationships sober had to be the same.? The things in life are not important ?? Relationships take time ?? yet are so worth it.

Upon awakening I think about the 24 hours ahead and look forward to my spiritual readings and meditation and his gift of another day.

The benefits of working a Program are a belief that TODAY ?? No matter what comes down the road ?? I have power and tools from God.? The Evil one wants to knock me OFF THE PATH because He doesn??t want me to succeed or help others.? I am no longer alone, yet I can be alone.? I have Faith in Jesus Christ and trust that all the experiences I went though were for some reason.

Do you know how great it is to know I was JUNK and today there are others who actually see me doing something that is GOOD and HELPFULL.? That??s not me ?? but God IN ME.

I truly do like who I am today.? I have a host of friends who accept me not only for who I am today, but also for who I was.? I have meaningful relationships with others.? I have Forgiveness from my two daughters, brothers, Mother, Father, Employer??s and my Ex-wife.? Just as important, because of the STEPS I have forgiven others for what they did.

My walk with God has grown.? It started out with a Thirty, Sixty and Ninety day? chips that meant so much.? I??d never been sober 30, 60 and 90 days before.? I really thought?? I DID IT.?? It??s All His Glory.

To be a part of Celebrate Recovery ?? to be a part of someone else??s Recovery and know God is using me as an instrument to help others is Powerful.? The feeling of uselessness and self-pity has slipped away.? God is doing for me what I could not do for myself.? I am living a dream ??? No it??s a PRAYER ANSWERED.

I am more than reasonably happy with this life and believe that I will be suplemely happy with you, GOD, Forever in the Next.

Thank you and may GOD Bless us ALL??.


This Story of Hope was created in celebration of recovery and to let families know that there are pathways to hope and healing. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids is the only nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who are struggling with their son or daughter's substance use. Please consider sharing this page so that families know where to turn to for help, and that there is always hope.

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Comments

1. Martha
Keep going, love and respect yourself and let others see it is not easy but it can be done!... Congratulations!...
2. Julie
Thank you for sharing your story and congratulations to you on your recovery.