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“I need some time alone right now.” I said to my roommate. I shut the door, walked to the middle of the room, and felt my knees buckle as I allowed my body to collapse to the ground. The floor was cold as well as the room. My body was weak from enduring days of heroin withdrawal and months of using. Tears flowed from my eyes and dripped to the floor. Sweat covered my forehead, neck, and chest. I felt my heart pounding, ears ringing, and it was difficult to breathe. There I was, on my knees, on the floor of a detox facility, feeling alone and defeated. I admitted myself into a detox treatment facility after a relapse that lasted about four months. I was back at Square One in recovery which frustrated every cell of my body. The Monkey was screaming in my ear, “Get up and leave! You can check yourself out; you have that free will, remember? Why don’t we leave together and we can go get some dope and this pain will be all gone?” As convincing as that monkey sounded and despite the little bit of truth he was saying, I knew I needed healing much deeper than what The Monkey could give me. I stretched my neck back as far as it could go, closed my eyes and pleaded aloud, “God… help me.”
“I know I don’t deserve your mercy right now, Lord.” I continued, barely able to gather enough breath and strength to speak. “I know I did wrong. I know I really turned my back on you. I went astray. I’m so sorry, I’m so, so sorry! Please forgive me! Please come into my heart and take this pain away! Bring me back to you, please! I know I said this before, but I’m here again. I don’t want to live like this! If You have a plan for me, please give me strength. I’m weary and I know You give rest. I need rest! Please, Lord, please!” More tears began to flow as an overwhelming feeling of shame, pain, guilt, anger, and confusion took over my body and mind. I remained on my knees and used every last bit of energy I had left to shut out any distractions, so that I could have complete silence. I wanted to hear His still, small voice. I put my faith to the test to see if God had even heard me or cared. I interlocked my fingers together and placed them on my lap. I bowed my head and focused on breathing in hopes it would encourage His presence.
“Shhhhhhh.” Came a sound of a voice, a thought maybe. The voice was my own, but it came from my mind that I did not put there. It was the same comforting noise a mother uses, as she rocks her newborn baby as it cries. I lifted my head up, glanced around the room and saw no one. Could it be God? Was it really Him?
“It’s ok my child, I am here. I have always been here. I have been waiting for you. You are going to be ok, just trust me, I have you now, do not fear,” said the voice again. It was Him! This was a voice that was a familiar stranger in a way. I had recognized it, but haven’t heard it in a long time.
Immediately after hearing God’s voice, I felt an out-of-body experience. I felt all my fears, worries, guilt, shame, unworthiness, dirtiness, sadness, and anger leave my body. A sense of warmth covered me as if I was relaxing in a bubble bath. God immediately showed how real He is to me that moment. Unknowingly at the time, several similar moments were in my near future.
Three years before this moment, I found myself at my knees as well. I was carefully scooping up heroin from my apartment floor that I had spilt. My hands were shaking, I was deep into withdrawal, and this was all the dope I had; wasted. As I franticly tried to recover any bit of the spilled dope, fear conquered me because I knew that it was impossible to collect enough to relieve the withdrawal symptoms, and I had no way of purchasing more. I had sold a stolen item that took me more than twelve hours to successfully steal and sell in order to buy that heroin. Those past twelve hours were brutal, but once I finally purchased the heroin that I desperately sought after, I felt at ease. That ease was quickly destroyed the microsecond it took to knock over all of my dope. There I was, Square One all over again of the search for heroin or the money to buy it. I stopped scooping the dope and realized how pathetic and desperate I must have looked being on my knees searching for it. I felt disgusting and worthless. I even had the audacity to ask God to help me rescue the spilled dope. His voice was far gone and The Monkey’s was loud in my ear suggesting ways to scheme money.
I’ll never forget how different those two moments of being on my knees were. I wanted God to answer and speak to me both times, but He didn’t. He answered only when I had sincerity, truth, and a desire to follow His lead and do the right thing.
I’ll never forget the moment I found myself on my knees again, ninety days after I was released from the detox facility. I was awake late at night with a craving for heroin that overpowered me. The Monkey was screaming in my ears and dancing in my face. I felt alone and afraid. I didn’t want to give into this craving. I remember sitting on my bed, room dark with only the light of the street lamp casting shadows on the furniture. I was weeping and began to fold and tuck my legs under my arms. I cradled my legs as I rocked back and forth saying aloud repeatedly, “Shut up, shut up, shut up! Don’t do it, Ally. Don’t give in, Ally. I don’t want to get high! I don’t want to get high!”
The Monkey’s voice was overpowering mine; I didn’t know what to do. The only way to shut him up was to get high. I felt as if he was a dragon breathing fire down my back and burning me. I became so afraid which gave me the idea that if I get off my bed and onto the floor, The Monkey will leave me alone. So I quickly slid off the bed and hit my carpet. Unlike on the detox facility’s floor, this time I got on my knees and touched my forehead to the ground. I once again interlocked my fingers and rested my arms above my head.
“God please, please make this craving go away. I am so afraid and all I can hear is The Monkey. He won’t leave me alone, please help! Please, Lord, I don’t want to use! Help me! Help me! Make it stop!” I prayed.
I stayed in the curled position with my forehead to the carpet and tried to breathe a normal pace. My face was hot from sobbing. As I began to breathe deeply and slowly, The Monkey was mute. My craving ended. God came and rescued me once again.
I find myself at my knees, and sometimes my forehead, often. I ignore the condition of the ground and I fall to it fast with thanksgiving that God will hear me. It’s at my knees that I find healing, comfort, and love. Life knocks you down no matter how “good” you are. Sometimes life makes your feet trip, but you catch yourself. Other times life makes you stumble, but you get back up. However there are times where life knocks you completely down. It is when I was down on my knees, The Monkey laughing at me, that I realized that I was in a perfect position to pray. I willingly and unwillingly find myself on the floor, but when I use the floor to humbly connect with God, He reaches His hand down at me. I no longer see myself as desperate when I am on my knees. I grab ahold of His precious hand and am quickly brought back up to my feet, stronger than before I fell. When you see someone fall, reach your hand out to them, because a lot of times the only way to get back up is if someone helps you stand. It also doesn’t do any harm to get down on your knees as well and pray for and with them. And when you are alone with no person to see, reach out to God because His hand is outstretched waiting for you to grab ahold. I promise that His tight grip will lift you up and allow you to continue walking.
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