“I have never been happier…on a HIGH where there is no next-day hangover…not feeling guilt or shame. Blessed assurance… Jesus is mine.”
Now…for rest of the story. “After a night of carousing, feeling as if I was in a dark abyss…I woke up as the sun was beginning to rise. My eyes were open, but darkness was still blinding me from The Light of Jesus Christ. Somehow, I knew I had to make a change.
“Being Easter morning… and still reeking of booze, I dragged myself to church…wanting to seek and find a way to God. So, I sat on the front row…practically crying like a baby through the entire service…oblivious to everyone around me…except Jesus Christ”
Those words came from Alex, 67, a native of Chicago, now living in Nashville who has gone spiritually and physically from being in darkness to Light. He was born into a dysfunctional family, the third child of seven whose father was an alcoholic who physically and mentally abused his wife and children. The mother, unable to cope with the abuse, became an abuser to her offspring.
NOTE: Alex now realizes he suffered as a child from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) a condition where a child does not form healthy emotional bonds with parental figures because of emotional neglect and abuse with trouble managing his/her emotions. He freely acknowledges as having mental and emotional challenges…and being gullible while growing up. In the brief time he attended public school, his state of mind resulted in lashing out with disruptive behavior. Their home environment caused Alex and his siblings to become wards of the State.
He wound up in a Catholic school run by nuns. They showed kindness and discipline while helping him academically. Someone asked him one day what he wanted to be when grown up. Without hesitation, Alex said, “I want to be a nun.” He became an altar boy.
Later, Alex was placed in an institution in Ohio for young men with mental/emotional disorders. “It was not a happy place for me…bullied in the daytime…even known as “pretty boy” but given attention at night which I craved regardless of the sexual abuse.” That added further to his spiraling identity.
His troubled life evolved into a gay lifestyle, gender confusion along with alcohol/ substance abuse while searching for purpose and meaning.
Alex was able to stay connected with his parents and siblings during those years even though their lives were miles apart. An older brother and Alex agreed that the military might be the answer to a new and successful chapter in their lives. They joined the Marine Corps under the “Buddy Plan”. With Alex being only 17, his father signed the papers and off the brothers went to Camp Pendleton, California. Alex excelled in all areas of Marine training although he had limited formal education (equivalent to eighth grade).
The father later became ill. The brothers got a leave to go home while their father appeared to be near death…his life being touch-and-go. They requested an extension to their leave…but stayed beyond the time approved and were considered AWOL (away without official leave). Their father rallied. Life returned to almost normal at Camp Pendleton once the two soldiers returned. Their charges of AWOL were later dismissed.
Sometime afterwards the father died. “I was so confused…and had to get away to sort through all my conflict.” He headed for Hollywood, not thinking that Hollywood would necessarily be the answer…just wanted to get away from the regiment of the military.
While walking the streets one night, a car pulled beside him with an offer of a ride. The owner listened to Alex’s brief story and offered to use his financial/political and legal connections to give support to the young Marine. Unsuspecting at the time, his offer also included a hidden agenda: free alcohol and drugs in exchange for sexual favors.
Being a lawyer with well-connected business, legal and political friends, he told Alex to return to Camp and to explore legal means of being honorably discharged. “Overall, I was an exemplary Marine…scoring good on physical tests, marksmanship…even earned PFC (Private First Class) …however psychiatric evaluation confirmed my emotional immaturity.”
Following his discharge, Alex fell further into the deception of Darkness. His so-called friend presented an appealing “ticket to a new life” But not without a hook. “I got into high-class partying. I thought I had discovered the good life in Hollywood, California.”
The gay bars and those relationships got Alex further into an abyss. “Then…I decided to head back to Chicago to be near my family.” His demons stayed in tow. “I became known as “The Queen of The Silver Dollar” at New Flight Bar…with judges, lawyers and successful businessmen.”
By: Ralph E. Vaughn