At this very moment you are creating your life. You always have and always will. You cannot change this, it is how you were created. Through simple, yet very profound shifts of inner dialogue you will begin to create the life you desire.
No matter who you are—and regardless of the state of your life—if you are still breathing you can discover a life of purpose, passion, and joy.
Today you can begin the journey of discovering the authentic you and realize your magnificence.
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"I Am" The Creator
Empowering Life with Purpose, Passion, and Joy
By Steven Dieringer
Balboa PressCopyright © 2014 Steven Dieringer
All rights reserved.
January 18, 2004
I finished working the lunch shift and proceeded in my usual manner. First stop, purchase two sixteen-ounce beers to consume on the drive home. Next two stops, buy the night's supply of my salvation. In my drug-addled mind I thought if I bought my daily required dose all at one place, then they would think I was an alcoholic. So I made multiple stops to procure what I needed to make it through the night. This became one of the markers of the insanity to which I had descended.
Upon arriving at home I retrieved the mail, which contained an official letter from the Davidson County Circuit Courts addressed to me. I had developed the habit of never opening my mail, however, this letter looked ominous, and for once common sense prevailed and I opened it. It read, "Mr. Dieringer, you are due in court on January 20 at 9a.m. where your probation will be revoked and you will be sentenced to eleven months and twenty-nine days in jail."
January 20, 2004
Honorable Judge Mondelli: "Mr. Dieringer, I'm giving you the option of eleven months twenty-nine days in jail, or treatment." Me: "I choose treatment."
My thought as I stood in baffled shock in front of the judge was, how had my once so promising life come to this? My life of incredible accomplishment had disintegrated into a desolate wasteland to the point of near death. Over the preceding twenty-seven years I continued to accept lower lows, and descended into the abysmal state I called life. I finally found myself in a corner I could see no way out of. The legal system finally had my attention. God finally had my attention. I could not accept the newest bottom being offered me, yet I had little choice but to accept.
The offer and acceptance of treatment brought with it no comfort. Due to the fact I had attempted very sincerely, to get sober on several occasions in the last decade and never succeeding with more than twenty-one days, I was convinced I could never be sober.
Even crying out to God in all earnestness had not worked. So in my mind treatment was nothing more than a delaying tactic. I knew I would eventually find myself in front of a judge again and this time no option would be given.
During the twenty-seven years of active addiction I was arrested three times for DUI, remarkable because I was eligible for incarceration on most nights during that time.
On those occasions, the few hours I spent behind bars drove me insane. I knew exactly how a caged animal felt. The concept of this being my reality for a year was terrifying, yet I knew this was what the future held for me. As I drove home that day completely shaken to the core with fright as to where my life was going on an increasingly steep and slippery descent into hell, I never once thought of God. Never once thought of praying.
Without any conscious thought, upon walking into my house I just stopped, and started saying over and over, for how long I have no idea, "I quit ... I quit ... I can't do this ..." When, all of a sudden I had goose bumps from head to toe, and a peace came over me I had never known. There are no words I know of to adequately describe this event, as in my head I heard the words, "It's okay, it's going to be alright – It's okay, it's going to be alright." I knew in my current state this voice could not be my own. Afterward, as I sat on my couch in peaceful silence, I knew Jesus to be the source of those words. To my amazement, I have been sober since that day and have had no desire to be anything other than sober. This, to me, a third-stage alcoholic, is absolute proof I Am loved beyond measure. In this I know I Am not unique. All of God's creations are loved beyond measure.CHAPTER 2
At the age of seven I and my family flew from Chicago to San Diego to spend Christmas with my father who was in the Navy, and stationed there. I remember on takeoff being nervous but once we were at cruising altitude I fell in love with the experience. From that moment on my sole intention was to become an airline pilot.
At the age of twelve, after discovering KISS I decided I was going to be a rock star but in the end I only took up the destructive life-style of many artists.
In high school, I briefly thought I would follow in the footsteps of my uncle, a truck driver. He was my hero and the closest thing to a father I knew. My parents divorced soon after my father retired from the Navy and we lost all communication with him.
However being an airline pilot was always there. I soaked up everything on the subject. I even at one time could recite the pre-flight checklist for a Boeing 747. At the age of sixteen I began taking flying lessons.
I had been informed that the only way to my chosen career was to go through the military. If I could afford to pay for the flight hours necessary to become eligible for consideration then I didn't need a job in the first place. Irrelevant in the end, I discovered this information to be inaccurate twenty-five years too late. At the time it played a crucial part in the course of my life.
At the age of fifteen I became very ill due to a ruptured appendix. My appendix being not where it was supposed to be, I was misdiagnosed. I spent the next three months in the hospital, undergoing eight surgeries, leaving me with seven huge scars on my abdomen and back and losing forty pounds. Years later it was revealed to me I was not expected to live. I'm so glad they forgot to inform me of this at the time. It's amazing what you can do when you don't know you can't do it.
After graduating high school in 1977, I found myself at the military entrance examining station in Chicago. The first half of the day I spent completing the aptitude test. I scored the highest out of 550 applicants. When I learned this I wondered about the state of our military. I'm not that smart. With my father's service in the military, coupled with my test score I was automatically eligible for acceptance to any military college. The second half of the twelve hour ordeal was spent, clad only in underwear going through a barrage of medical testing.
Eventually I found myself at the end of the line, where a doctor, holding a clipboard took one look at my stomach and declared me PMR: Permanent Medical Reject. My world was in that instant swiped out from under me. I was in shock.
According to the surgeon who saved my life, I had no disabilities. I returned three times to Chicago fighting to overturn this death sentence, all to no avail. My rudder had been cut off. I had no clue as to what to do now. This was a body blow that took more than a quarter of a century for me to recover from.
I formed a great and vast pool of self-pity which turned into a life driving blinding anger. I blamed God for allowing me to get sick. I blamed the doctor who misdiagnosed me. I blamed my mother for not taking me to the hospital sooner. Eventually, I blamed all of you for not joining in my pity party. Life had become a cruel joke.CHAPTER 3
Welcome to My Nightmare
Soon after being rejected by the military I moved to Denver in a customized van, very special to me. Before the move, my best friend Don and I put many miles on this vehicle as we drove all across the countryside, nightly drinking beer and smoking pot.
Upon first sight of the Rocky Mountains, I fell in love and knew I had found the place I was going to live the rest of my life.
I spent the first month of this new adventure living in my van. After work every afternoon I would drive into the mountains exploring and eventually find a place to camp for the evening. I was in heaven.
When I arrived in Denver pot and alcohol were the only drugs I partook of. It being the late seventies cocaine was exploding onto the scene and everyone was doing it. I resisted for the first two weeks. I remember the first seven times I snorted cocaine nothing much happened, then on the eighth time it rocked my world. I was in love. I was Superman come of age. From this point on the only thing that mattered was doing more, which was actually the same phenomenon that occurred after my first drink.
In the beginning I would invite everyone over to share my new friend. Eventually I would lock myself in my room alone to do it. As the addiction took over I progressed to buying from people none of my friends knew so no one could be sure I had any. Of course this was a fantasy in my mind, everyone knew. I had become a slave, completely under the yoke of cocaine, unable to entertain the possibility of being without. It wasn't long before no one wanted anything to do with me.
By now my long forgotten van sat on the street with a flat tire and a dead battery. I would not consider spending valuable cocaine money on purchasing even used tires or a battery, especially when I could bum rides from my roommate.
Then came the fateful afternoon when, with no money, no one willing to lend money to me, and in desperate need of my master, a commercial came on television saying, "We buy junk cars for cash." Within seconds I was on the phone calling. In complete joyous anticipation as the wrecker pulled up, I bolted out the front door. When the man asked for the title I said I did not have it as I was still paying on it. In truth, I had quit paying for it. I was not going to waste valuable drug money on a junk car. My mother being the co-signer was now saddled with the payments.
Because I didn't have the title, he informed me the van could only be used for scrap and offered me fifty dollars. This revelation caused me to pause for brief seconds before consenting. Six hours later the half a gram of cocaine was gone, the buzz was gone, and my once precious van was gone. I was in a state of shock. What had I done? I knew something was wrong. I was an out-of-control train wreck, with many much darker days to come.
Consuming alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogenic mushrooms in as large a quantity as I could on a daily basis, my mind was mush. I could not tell fact from fiction, yet I knew if I were to live I had to leave paradise. So it was, three short years later I found myself leaving in the middle of the night, telling no one, leaving all of my possessions behind.
As the sun rose, I boarded a bus and watched the Rockies slowly fade, too numb to shed a tear, most painful to me were the friendships I had destroyed. I departed in the hopes of being able to save my once, fantastically skyrocketing life that was destined for greatness. It was a body blow that has taken thirty years to recover from. This was all intention, realized in a state of unconsciousness.CHAPTER 4
Time references for me are vague. Much of my ability to accurately place the time of events are, before or after high school graduation, before or after living in Denver, before or after my marriage and divorce, and before or after sobriety.
I became homeless for a brief period after my divorce, with my daughter Jessica I believe in middle school.
Living with my sister, with what I considered to be of the best intentions, I said some things she did not appreciate and I was invited to leave. By this time having removed myself from all human contact I had no friends to turn to, and so I lived in my car for ten days until amends were made.
While the experience was brief, it none the less opened my eyes to a new world. As everyone else got off of work and drove home, I got off work, reached my car and was home. This also revealed to me the insecurity the homeless experience when it came to sleeping. In my car I was always aware I was vulnerable, especially when asleep. I was also very embarrassed at work, with my car full of clothes and possessions, it was easy for anyone to glance in and know this was my home. As for personal hygiene I would go to the local sports-plex and swim, then shower.
It's interesting to me that I never really considered myself homeless. I am not sure why, as I also do not remember having any thoughts of looking for a place to live. That to me is evidence of how far gone my mind was.
With it having been for as brief a period as it was, I actually soon forgot all about the experience, until I began writing this book. Being homeless however, was definitely an integral part of my story of descent into a very dark place that was my life.CHAPTER 5
The Light Extinguished
Reading fiction had become an integral part of my life in addiction. I would spend countless hours reading and replacing my life with the characters because my existence had become so unbearable. Most of my reading was done at a parking area by the airport where I would drink beer, smoke pot, and torment myself by watching planes I should have piloted, take off and land. Unconsciously this cemented the proof I should be pitied.
On this day, as I drove my dilapidated car, which was barely running, and of course with no means of repairing or replacing. (Again, there is to be no spending money on things that would not get me high.) While driving with a joint in one hand and a beer in the other, the thought came to me that all of the good life had to offer had already happened. The only thing left to experience in my life was that of ever increasing bad quality. The only question was, how bad and how quickly it would occur. With a finality to the truth of this thought, I accepted it as being true. And with that the light in my soul was extinguished. I would now live free of the anger that had been my constant companion for most of my life. For to have anger one must have at least a seed of hope. In me there was no longer any hope of my life improving, only disintegrating. I was now numb to life.CHAPTER 6
(and the worst day of my life)
By this time the state of my life had devolved into a state of complete and deep depression. I had become unreceptive to any of the joys life had to offer, and unconsciously receptive to all of the misery offered to me. I lived completely separated from humanity with minimal interaction. I kept my mother, sister, and brother as distant as possible. The only time I willingly called my mom was to ask for money. I once called to ask for money on her birthday and after she agreed, I didn't even wish her a Happy Birthday. This still makes my soul groan with sadness.
The only brightness my life held was that of my daughter. I loved and cherished her completely. Because of my total love for her she became my greatest source of pain. This absolute love led to her being my greatest source of burning self-hatred, for I knew she deserved so much more that I was providing. Not just financially did she deserve more, what she needed most was a father who was mentally present.
Jessica's mother and I divorced when she was two due to my alcohol dependency. Even so, her mother wanted Jessica to have her father in her life and agreed that I would keep our daughter two days every week.
My intention was to be as sober as possible on these days, and yet I somehow managed to fail in doing this. Of course I was under the spell of full blown, out-of-control addiction, and perceived myself as unable to disobey the commands of my master.
On this fateful morning while driving Jessica to school, I asked her a question. Instantly her eyes cut toward me. Filled with a look of disgust, she replied, "You just asked me that last night." I had no memory of having asked this question. Filled with grief as to what my beloved daughter must think of me, an overwhelming pain cut to my soul, one which I could not bear. I made a dreadful life changing decision in that moment.
To avoid any further embarrassment I would no longer ask my daughter questions. With this decision I knew I was slamming the door shut on a most wondrous daughter-father relationship. My daughter who mattered more to me than anything and was the only source of brightness in my life, whom I loved dearly, was now relegated to a distant, polite relationship.
Many times in the years to follow I wished my decision had been to get help. Instead I rejected love. Self-hatred mushroomed and took complete control of my mind.
The hole in my soul gaped wide with an unendurable pain and blew hurricane force winds. The only solution coming to my mind in unconsciousness was to numb myself further with more drugs. And so it was with my life for several more years, feeling nothing, daring not to look within for I knew I would only find an even deeper hatred of self.
Excerpted from "I Am" The Creator by Steven Dieringer. Copyright © 2014 Steven Dieringer. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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