After a few years of this, I began to feel drawn back to God. I was no longer angry at Him for what happened to me, and I began to turn to Him for the healing that I needed and which only He could give. Of course, I needed someone with more “skin” on them at various times for talk-therapy as I worked through the painful experiences in the first few years. This talking out of the experiences is necessary for all trauma survivors. You need this to slowly, carefully bleed off the wound as you try to grapple with exactly what hurt and why. You need to understand the experience and need to talk about it if you want healing. Then you need to tell the story again and again until it no longer hurts so much. For me, the therapy sessions with some wonderful people, such as a sweet, wise lady at West Point/Highland Falls, New York, were critical. It was also helpful to journal about these experiences – any method of retelling the story until it no longer caused pain. And, it was critical for me to have those few precious hours every day after work in a place where no people could get to me, thus giving me a feeling of safety and security, a safe place where no further pain could get to me through people who were largely responsible for my pain.
At a certain point, though, I realized that the therapists and psychiatrists couldn’t help me with all the pain. This is when I started turning to God. The last few years of my therapy were handled almost entirely in prayer to God. Once I was no longer angry at Him and didn’t blame Him anymore for what happened to me, then I could finally turn to Him for the help I needed that only He could give. Again, the people who helped me were critical for the healing process, but there was a limit to what they could do to help me, and when I realized this, I began turning to God, spending all those hours alone in the forest praying to Him. When I realized that He didn’t care whether I was inebriated when I prayed to Him, this was such a tremendous breakthrough for me. So long as I had a clear enough mind and a willing heart, the alcohol was not a hindrance to my prayers, nor were they rejected by God. He knew why I was drinking, and He did not judge me for doing so. So in my “safe” state of inebriation, I was able to talk about the trauma, discussing with Him just as I had discussed with my "people" therapists exactly what was on my mind with all naked honesty. I found, too, that I didn’t need to have my eyes closed. I could be walking around in the area of the forest where I had chosen for my safe place for that day.
The interesting thing is that, bit by bit, as I lifted my prayers about my painful experiences up to Him, the pain diminished a little more every day. In addition, He started turning those experiences to the good. It was just like the story of Joseph in the Bible (Genesis 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, and 50). In that story, what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good so that He could work a great work that would save many people from the famine, especially the tribe of Jacob/Israel (Genesis 50:20). In the same way with me, what Satan and people who had traumatized me meant for evil, God meant it for good, transforming those experiences into wisdom, building His Power and Love up in me, and using me for many good works to thousands of people over the years who have come into my path. From my trauma, I had developed such a tender heart that I was able to minister to so many people that I would not have otherwise been able to minister to. Moreover, that pain has motivated me to be a much better father for my family since I did not want my children to suffer as I had. And the pain also made me a much better military leader during my career in the Army because I had a deeply compassionate heart for all those that I have led over the years.
I pray that, if there is pain in your heart and soul, that you would begin turning to God and allow Him, bit by bit, to take away the pain and transform it to something good and beautiful in your life.