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The Hamster Wheel


For many years I knew there was something wrong. What had started as a harmless routine in my life became a habit, which in turn became an addiction. Drinking was controlling my life and the more I drank, the more relationships I was losing around me. My life could not continue with the way things were going. I knew that I needed to make a change, that I needed to figure out where this drinking behavior was coming from.

Though I have been to therapy many times throughout my adult life, the burden that led me to my dysfunctional drinking behavior was still there to carry, so I knew that whatever changes I needed to make had to be more than just the results of my therapy sessions. I also knew that I didn’t want to go to any of the programs available for addictions, like AA, for example, because even though I had seen them work for others, I was looking for more than just the cessation of drinking. I’d pray to God for help in finding something that would help me to deal with all of the stuff —the burden— I was carrying.

That something came on April 14th, 2017, when my wife and I agreed to go to an inner healing class we had been invited to check out. Once there, we heard a couple teach about family of origin roots and the pain we carry from them, using a plant in water with its roots visible through the glass vase it was in as a prop to explain the far reaching implications of dysfunctional family traits. It was at this moment that I realized that God had answered my many prayers.

Over the past three and a half years since, I have realized that I have been carrying a lot of pain, anger and shame in my life, that what I had thought started during a specific time in my life had actually begun to affect me long before that time. In fact, I learned that my pain had its origins while in my mother’s womb! I have come to understand that none of it is truly my mother’s fault, but rather the result of the circumstances we were living under at that time. These circumstances —good or bad, right or wrong, engaging or apathetic — truly set a dysfunctional course in my life full of pain, anger and shame.

This three-and-a-half-year journey of discovery has not been easy. There have been times when I’ve wanted to pack it in and walk away from it for good. Other times, I have challenged this program and have said, “this will not work and no one is going to change me.” It felt like my life had been on a hamster wheel for many years, moving faster as life demanded, yet tripping over the same obstacles that I ran into as life happened. Yet I didn’t know how to get off. I could jump off, but the wheel, life, kept spinning. Until this year.

I am thankful for this year, because even though it has been very unusual, with many losses to many people, it has forced me to stop everything in my life, from work to going out to dinner, to having lunch with a group of friends to finally putting an end to the spinning hamster wheel life that I was living.

God works in many different and crazy ways. I have no doubt Papa never gave up on me. I also chose to not give up on me. And asides from God, the one person who has been by my side throughout this entire journey when I was running endlessly on that hamster wheel of a life has been my wife. As fast as that wheel was spinning, she was there standing next to me and patiently waiting for God's miracle to take place. I owe her so much. She has truly shown me unconditional love.

I know that I can easily jump back on that hamster wheel, where it feels familiar.  But I don’t want to, because I’ve truly gotten a taste of life without chaos, what life off of that wheel is like.

As a result, I see things changing in my home. My wife is changing, my kids are changing, even my dogs are changing toward me! I do not want to go back.

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