Written by Rob Lohman
My past does not define me, but shapes me into the man God is calling me to be.
Ever wonder how you ended up where you are? I have. Are you living the life you imagined as a child? I’m definitely not! I believe my journey has become the divine plan He has had for my life, but it wasn’t just going from A to B with a few detours. I chose to go from A to Z, on over to C, down to F, around to P and eventually made it to B – where He was calling me to be all along.
The path God has allowed me to get to is definitely a calling for me, because this is not the path I would have chosen nor dreamed of as a child. I wanted to be a doctor, a veterinarian, a marine biologist, and an ADDICT?!? Hold on…where and when did becoming an ADDICT enter the picture!?
My professional calling as an Interventionist and Addiction Recovery Coach has some backstory to it though, so I’d like to back up a bit and share about my journey through my addiction into my calling. Along the journey, God showed up in so many wonderful ways where His beauty was seen throughout many trials as well as on the other side of trials. Ones that seemed never ending, others that seemed hopeless. Through it all though, I believe He called me to help people struggling with addiction and remind them that God does not make junk!
As a child, I was wired differently than most kids, feeling less than or greater than, and scarcely in between. I was the kid with braces, glasses and a witty sense of humor. Being the center of attention counterbalanced my insecurities. At age 14, a light bulb turned on as alcohol became my subtle master. I allowed alcohol to steal my joy, my heart, my identity and my passions for life. I lived like a chameleon; blending into any social situation to ‘feel’ accepted.
Fifteen years later, my life started spinning out of control faster than I could lower my standards. My tolerance had grown to the capacity of two bottles of scotch in a 24-hour period. Hallucinations of my death illustrated the depths of my hidden pain. While I did not WANT to die, my subconscious was telling me differently. The more I WANTED to change, the strongholds in my life strengthened. Satan did NOT want me FREE…but deep down I KNEW God had more for me and had a calling in my life to help others!
On June 7th, 2001, I was hanging out in a bar in Fort Wayne, Indiana like I did eight nights a week. One night when suddenly the bar became dead silent, I heard “YOU’RE DONE!”, and then the bar noise escalated back to full level. Unsure what had just happened, I said to my buddy “Sean, I gotta go!”, and I immediately drove home.
Moments after entering my apartment, my back horizontal on my workout bench…. my heart beating out of my chest… eyes staring at “the gates of hell”…sweaty palms gripping the 300+ pound steel barbell… elbows unlocking preparing to to drop the crushing weight upon my chest to “take me out of the game”…
Quickly God intervened through my amazing dog, Jake. Jake’s eyes gazed into my soul, penetrating my heart while doing that head tilt thing dog’s do. Thoughts started to flood my mind. “Who is going to feed you in the morning?” “What about my parents!?” “My brother!” Lastly “What the hell am I doing?”.
In that moment, the strength of my Father placed the barbell back on the rack. I know this because I couldn’t even bench 225 pounds, much less 300+ pounds! Together, God and I poured out every drop of liquor. I felt His arms wrap around me, comforting me with a peace I had not felt in years. I suddenly knew He had more for me. My desire to drink or drug has never returned. Now that is a MIRACLE! No detox. No withdrawals. Just gone! No more desire. I wanted to tell the world!
Upon awakening, my mother received that phone call she prayed about for years “Mom, I need help! I cannot stop drinking or gambling!” Sixty-minutes of emotional release followed. Shortly thereafter, my aunt took me to my first recovery meeting. I met people who were laughing and talking about how great their life was in sobriety and I just listened. I believed them because last night I tried to kill myself and today, I realized there was a huge great life ahead of me. Obviously, sobriety was part of God’s plan for my life.
Over the next several years, I learned a great deal about trials and believing that there is a great blessing on the other side of each trial… even though some of the trials of life can seem hopeless at times.
When I went from hating the image in the mirror, to loving the image and the potential within, a huge paradigm shift happened. I have definitely made errors in sobriety, but it is in those life lessons I have discovered the beauty in learning from my mistakes.
Getting sober was the easy part. Living life on ‘life’s terms’ was the challenging part. Around 2007 life started to get busy. New marriage. Children. Startup business. All the ingredients for a “Recipe for Disaster” had been taking shape for some time. I had drifted away from recovery meetings, working my program. I was surviving on less than 5 hours of sleep a night for numerous years, two or three energy drinks and eight cups of coffee daily. There was a lack of exercise and a poor diet in my life. My adrenals were shot. Not to mention feelings of inadequacy as a husband, a father and a man. I struggled with multiple negative beliefs about myself. Fear overcame my faith. And I lost my business.
Those ingredients mixed with emotional, mental and spiritual bankruptcy lead to my nervous breakdown on February 15th, 2012. Desperate, isolated and disconnected from reality, I lost all my senses and impulsively reacted to my fears. I had an out-of-body moment as I grabbed a box of matches and lit some boxes on fire on our covered patio in our townhouse community. Once I realized what happened, it was too late. WHAT HAD I DONE?!?
I sprung into action to get my entire family out of the house, along with my adjacent neighbors. As my family and I walked out the front door, the entire covered patio exploded and fire rushed into our town home.
My actions caused a ripple effect of destruction in the lives of my wife, my children, my family, my neighbors and my community. I know if I would have had a momentary buffer to process what was happening, the fire NEVER would have happened. Fortunately, nobody was physically hurt, but I know emotional damage ran through my family and community.
To this day, I continue to pray for the opportunity to listen to the hearts of my neighbors to hear how my actions hurt them and express to them my remorse for my actions and to ask for forgiveness.
Desperately wanting to know HOW and WHY this happened, I sought out countless hours of counseling and spiritual guidance to gain deeper insight into my weaknesses, triggers, defects of character and shortcomings. I jumped back into the rooms of recovery. I started to lay a solid foundation for my future and a deep self-awareness of my makeup. I surrounded myself with Godly people and spiritual mentors. It was time to rise up!
Not sure what the future would hold, I knew I needed to press into God and seek Him for guidance. I believed without a doubt that He was and would be in all of the details. I committed to Him that I would no longer walk in fear, but in FAITH. Uncertainties (fears) would now be opportunities (faith) where I believed and trusted He would reveal Himself in His timing and not mine.
I opted to turn the biggest mistake in my life into the greatest opportunity to RISE UP and seek God’s purpose for my life. It was time to RISE UP and become the man God created me to be. The husband my wife deserved! The father my children deserved! For me to live life believing in Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11 and Hebrews 11: 1 and James 1: 2-8! Satan was not going to win again. Believing what Pastor Don taught me about my identity on Christ, through Neil Anderson’s book “Victory Over The Darkness.” Believing what Pastor Chad pounded into my head about Hebrews 4:16.
Once I chose to fully surrender to His will and walk in faith and integrity, God showed up in so many ways; It was miracle and blessing after miracle and blessing. God began to reveal His plan for my life. His plan for the trials my family and I endured and the ones we were about to go through.
He showed up in the details. He showed up on the other side of the trials. He is here now and will forever be with myself and my family. His Word says that He will never leave me, nor forsake me. I BELIEVE that deep inside my heart.
The calling God brought me into, that I opened my heart to receive, is one where I am blessed to walk through life with families who have loved one’s suffering from addiction. Addiction tears through families like a tornado destroying everything in its pathway and I have been called to help others because of my own journey.
I am blessed to help people break free from addiction, to discover who they truly are without substance, to realize the beautiful life they can live and to find their own purpose in life. My Calling is to help change lives in a positive way going forward.
Now, that was the backstory to my addiction. So, you may be asking what happened as a result of the fire on February 15, 2012? What legal consequences came from this? Did God choose to restore my marriage? How did God show up in the details?
READ Part 2 of The Roller Coaster Ride to God’s Calling in my Life to hear the incredible ways God revealed His plan for me along the journey. Hindsight is always 20/20, but to see His plan unfold “in” the journey was and has been truly incredible.
STAY IN THE LOOP. SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST!