By Lang Martinez, with Bonnie Rouda
Peace and Hope
…. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
You don’t have to be homeless or caught up in an addiction or in a real bad situation for these verses to apply to you. Every one of you can tell your own personal experiences or what you have been through, but it’s through God’s grace that we have persevered. I would like to share with you what I stay focused on through my journey on a daily basis. One thing for sure is I never have to go back to the life I once had not so long ago. The first thing I do when I wake up is thank God for one more day of being clean and sober. I’m grateful for the life he has given me. How he has put someone in my life that I can be of service to by sharing my experiences, strengths & hopes with.
Chances are by this time in the morning Pastor Gil, my spiritual advisor from Dove Ministries where I am also a member, has already sent me a text on what chapter in the Bible we are working on and what Bible verse that he has chosen that speaks to him. I do the same chapter as he recommends. Currently we are in 1st Peter 5. Pastor Gil has chosen verse 7 as this is the verse that speaks to him. If we ask God, He will surely forgive our derelictions, but by no means does he render us white as snow and keep us that way without our cooperation.
When I prayed, I used to omit a lot of things for which I needed to be forgiven. I thought if I didn’t mention these things to God he would never know about them. I didn’t know that if I had just forgiven myself of my past deeds, God would have forgiven me also. I was always taught to prepare for the journey through life, never realizing when I honestly became willing to be taught forgiveness that life itself is a journey. The journey of life is a very happy one, as long as i am willing to accept change and responsibility.
Now i am ready to start my day. Usually I make a commitment, whether it’s in the morning or at night to go to a 12 step meeting. During the day, I am always on the phone talking to someone- that helps me by either taking directions or making suggestions how to better myself. You have to remember that my thinking is not always the best and it’s not a good idea for me to do anything that affects my life by my thinking alone. I have to remember that best thinking has never worked for me. My thinking for 55 years is the reason for my failures. There’s a saying, “you’re thinking is like a bad neighborhood and you shouldn’t go there alone”!
At night I go to page 86 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous; “when we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving towards it all? What could we have done better? Are we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, or what we could pack into the stream of life? But we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making a review, we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken. After I do this I get on my knees and Thank God again for one more day of being clean and sober and all his Blessings he has bestowed on me. AMEN.
Editor’s note: Mr. Martinez tells us that he has most benefited from a faith-based approach taught him.
Previous installments of “Nobody Knows But Me”:
Editor’s note: The formerly homeless author of this article told us he’s spent a total of about 6 years on the streets (non-contiguously) in LA and Oxnard and been in multiple recovery programs. He says he is clean now and taking one day at a time, trying to help local homeless people.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal.