I RAN INTO AN OLD nemesis a few weeks ago through a dear friend. I didn’t recognize her at first because I hadn’t seen her in thirty years and she had changed her name. The only way I knew it was her is because she had not changed her game.
Knowing that she was bad news, I asked my dear friend why he would associate with her. Once a man of purity, integrity, endurance, and an upstanding citizen, because of her, his lifestyle has changed.
He’s now hanging out with criminals and facing a felony charge for possession of methamphetamines.
When I shared my concern, he just looked at me as if I were from a different planet. I then realized he was in the early romance stage and being with her is euphoric. He didn’t say it in so many words—in fact he only shrugged his shoulders—but the look on his face spoke: Why would I leave the woman I’ve been searching for my whole life? She is amazing.
That’s what new love does, right? Puts an extra beat in one’s step, gives feelings of confidence and removes inhibitions; even makes one feel powerful, invincible, and grandiose. When a seductress captivates, all reason and judgment leave an otherwise intelligent brain and nothing else matters.
I understood when I reminisced back to the1980s and the high I felt the first time I made a big sales deal that netted me more money than I earned the entire year before. My seductress, with a different name, had me at “hello”. I was enthralled and no longer was my focus making money.
My focus was making the deal. For the rush.
For the euphoria that took me to that place where I felt like somebody, when I had for so long felt like nobody.
My seductress was now my nemesis; such as it will happen with my friend, if not already. I was not happy about the road she led me down and I was disappointed in myself, especially when many of my deals could have landed me in prison on fraud charges.
I loathed the truth when the deal stopped being enough and I added illicit sex to enhance the orgasmic feelings I craved. I deplored the damage I was doing to my own self-esteem and the way I hurt innocent people who loved me.
I detested the way my secrets led me into a darkness that revealed how depraved I was, and I hated the effort I had to give to deny it.
I felt dirty because I was dirty.
I was out of control and I knew it, but I couldn’t stop. Inside I didn’t care if I died because most days I was afraid, tired, depressed, and unable to sleep or shake the feelings of shame, guilt, and disappointment in myself. But at the same time, I was afraid I would die if I tried to break free from the prison in which the days were long and the months and years were short.
I was baffled because I had the financial freedom and power to leave, but instead I complained and blamed others for my circumstances.
The fear of withdrawal was greater than the fear of engaging in one more deal.
Just one more deal. To say goodbye to the friend who had once brought me so much joy.
Just one more deal. To have the courage to leave.
The fear of withdrawal is very intense; not only because of the physical pain but also because of the emotional pain we suffered before meeting our seductress of choice; the emotional pain which seems like a greater enemy.
It is the fear of having to give up the only thing we know to abate emotional pain, which we also know will return to lead us back to rinse and repeat.
Withdrawal was not an option for me. By the time I realized my seductress was not good for me, I had been replaced by the persona of me, wearing whatever mask I needed to get through the day. And when I could not rest nor find peace or happiness outside a fleeting moment of counterfeit euphoria, I knew I was dead.
I no longer knew who I was—a most frightening reality.
Some people think God is only for people who are afraid of going to hell after they die. For people like me, who were rescued from the clutch of their seductress, known to us by her real name—Death, we know Jesus Christ is for people who are living in hell right now.
Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
But you, O Lord, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid! Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog! Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You who fear the Lord, praise him! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him. (Excerpts from Psalm 22 (ESV)
As always, it is my intent and hope that my words may encourage you wherever you are in your journey.
Please share your thoughts in the comments below or go to the group tab above to share your own experience. It only takes a minute of your time to register (and you can be anonymous), and your words may help others.
If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.--Jesus (Mark 4:23)