Chapter 3: The Godself
An excerpt from You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
Life is patient and kind. You will offer yourself as many opportunities as you can handle to learn your life lessons. If you choose not to learn the lessons, you will be given more opportunities. Yet each time you decide not to learn your lesson, the circumstances surrounding such opportunities will become more pronounced. This you do for your own good. This you do in order to listen and pay attention. Ultimately, you will pay attention and you will learn what you are trying to teach yourself; it is simply up to you to decide how and when. It is up to you to decide when to start listening to what’s going on in your life. The longer you decide not to listen, the louder you will turn up the volume. You can choose to pay attention and listen before or after your ears start to hurt. It is your choice. You control the volume, and you control your attention and the station. Your Godself will turn up the volume until you choose to listen. You have turned to the station you want to hear. Once you hear what it is you are trying to tell yourself, and learn what you are trying to teach yourself, you no longer need to increase the volume or repeat the lesson.
I began drinking during my freshman year of college. When it was time to party, my friends and I drank a lot. I remember my friends bringing an industrial size garbage can into our dorm room, and the whole goal for the night was to fill it up with empty beer cans before we went out clubbing. During my sophomore year, I remember having eight of my friends in my small four-seater car and driving onto a sidewalk because I drank too much. I literally could not keep my car on the road. My friends thought I was joking around, but looking back it was definitely no joke. Nothing happened that night, but looking back, it was pretty scary.
In my junior year, I remember being pulled over by a police officer. I was totally drunk. Thankfully, he let me go even though I failed the “follow the flashlight with your eyes only” test. For those who don’t know the test, it goes like this: you must follow the cop’s flashlight with your eyes only, and not move your head. Sounds simple enough, but it took me four tries to get it right. The bottom line was that the cop did not want to do the paperwork, so he asked me if I was going home. I said “Yes officer, going right home.” He let me go and off I went to the next bar. I was awakened the next morning by a jogger’s dog. I was in someone’s garden in the middle of Denver. I had to call my brother to pick me up. He asked me where my car was and I couldn’t tell him. Finally, after an hour of looking for my car, we found it.
During my senior year, I was pulled over again for drinking and driving. That night, I had only had a few beers, so the officer was very unhappy when he could only cite me for DWAI (driving while ability impaired), a charge below DUI. With a good lawyer, I had the charge reduced to driving a defective vehicle. But that did little to stop my drinking and driving.
A year after graduating, I was drinking and driving around 130 miles an hour on a highway. I had just left the highway, took a turn, and seconds later, found my car with its front end climbing a tree trunk. The tree was on the grounds of a synagogue. How much of a clearer message could God send? I couldn’t get the car to start, so I left the scene. Thankfully, it was around 3 a.m. and the accident only involved the synagogue’s tree and me. Not giving all the facts away, I was able to pay the synagogue for the tree, pay for the repairs to my car and did not get in any trouble with the police.
Two years after graduating, I experienced my first blackout. This happened five or six times. I would wake up in the morning, not remembering how I had driven home. Thankfully, I never found any damage to my car; obviously I made it home without incident. If you have ever experienced a blackout, you will understand that it’s a scary experience not knowing what happened toward the end of the night, or how you got home.
A little while after my blackouts, I became allergic to wine and champagne. I literally choked if I drank it. Fearing the possibility of liver damage, I decided that it was time to make a change. My problem was not one of drinking regularly. It was that when I drank, I drank a lot. And although I believed I could control it, I chose to give it up completely. So on my twenty-fourth birthday, I had my last drink, and haven’t had alcohol since then. My abstinence is now going on sixteen years.
I share this example simply to illustrate that little by little I kept experiencing more repercussions from my drinking problem. I knew that drinking and driving was not good for me, but I kept doing it. I knew that when I drank, I drank too much, but I kept doing it. I kept turning the volume higher and higher, until I had to listen. Life was kind and I was kind. I gave myself opportunities to learn my lesson the best way I knew how. As I was unwilling to learn this lesson, I gave myself more pronounced opportunities in order to finally learn what I was trying to teach myself. And just when my ears started to hurt enough, I decided to learn my lesson. All these opportunities were, in actuality, gifts to myself. Gifts of growth, the DWAI, the blackouts, the crash, the allergic reactions, all helped me learn my lesson. Most people would perceive the DWAI as bad luck, others would perceive the crash as an accident. But to me, all those situations were, in the end, gifts I offered myself. The police officer was kind enough to give of his time to assist me in my growth, and I now smile every time I carefully and respectfully pass the tree outside the synagogue.
To illustrate the seriousness of drinking, we now know that Jellinek’s disease (alcoholism) is responsible for:
- 50 percent of all auto fatalities
- 80 percent of all domestic violence/abuse
- 30 percent of all suicides
- 60 percent of all child abuse
- 65 percent of all drownings
It is estimated that when a woman contracts the disease, her husband leaves her in nine out of ten cases. When a man contracts it, his wife leaves in one out of ten cases. 4
– Kathleen W. Fitzgerald
4. Kathleen W. Fitzgerald, Jellinek’s Disease: The New Face of Alcoholism, Copyright June 2003, (Wales Tale Press).
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