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“There’s something wrong with Daddy.”

That’s what rock bottom sounds like.

I thought he was too little to notice. I couldn’t fool my wife, my brother, my boss, myself, but I thought he was too little to notice.

Alone on a couch at 3:00 in the morning, desperate to stop shaking, desperate to slow the racing anxiety, desperate to die and be done with it all. That’s what rock bottom feels like.

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My wife had banished me to that couch. She was angry but she didn’t do that out of anger. It was love.

“I have babied you since I’ve met you and this time I’m not doing it. You are going to lay in here and figure it out by yourself.”

Jacob wrestled God in the desert. She decided my main event match should happen in the living room. The only problem was, I did not believe in my opponent. I hadn’t since life didn’t go the way I thought it should.

It was four years before that—she was almost done with nursing school. We were going to move to Nashville. I had worked to make connections there. I had songs being pitched to major artists. In my mind, fame and fortune were around the corner. I got offered a job at home, too good a job to turn down. I cried when I took it.

I had prayed, telling God I would follow his will, but I didn’t mean that. I wanted my will, my way, my plan. His was different. I hated Him for it. Hated Him so hard I decided He didn’t exist.

With nothing to hold it back, the hate had spread. I hated my life, myself, and my music. That last one stung. It was the only thing I’d ever been good at. It had been there when nothing else was. Now it wasn’t there. I pushed God out of my life, so He took the gift He’d given me with Him.

I was an atheist. I didn’t say that too much, but as I walked into the bedroom and begged her to let me back in the bed and hold me at least until the detox was over, there was zero belief in my heart.

She held strong. It hurt her to do that. I could tell it did. I had been manipulating people my whole life. There was no doubt in my mind I could use her hurt to let me back in the bed. Sometimes things are done in the name of love that hurt you more than the person you’re doing them too.

She wouldn’t let herself be manipulated this time. No matter how much it hurt her. She held strong. I gave up.

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Twenty steps back to the couch, four years in the desert, 10 years since accepting salvation, 30 years on the earth . . . one desperate, broken, prayer:

“GOD! I have made a mess of my life. I can’t do it anymore. I will do whatever you tell me to do if you will help me. Maybe I am getting a divorce, maybe I am getting fired, maybe I never sing again. I don’t care. I give up. I will lay concrete if you tell me to. I will do whatever you tell me to do if you will help me. PLEASE HELP ME!”

OK.

“OK”? That’s what I heard in my spirit. That was it.

No angels descending. No thunder from the throne. Just “OK.”

But clearly not my voice. Clearly His voice. The voice that whispered, There’s a song in that when things happened around me. The voice that told me to marry Amanda. The voice that told me everything would be OK during the hardest times of my childhood.

A voice I hadn’t heard in a long time.

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I felt like I was 20. I felt something different in my heart. I was smiling. I went to the bathroom mirror. I was certain someone else would be looking back at me. I knew in one moment life would never be the same again. I knew what to do at home to fix things, what to do at work, how God wanted me to serve others from that point forward.

They weren’t my answers for once, they were His. They worked.

That was seven years ago today. Seven beautiful years filled with moments I couldn’t have dreamed of. I sing again. I hear songs again. I sleep in the bed with a woman that loves me and I feel like the King of Alabama every time I get to slide in my side and hold her in the dark.

I love my job. I truly love and care for the people I work with. I have connections in Nashville and songs being pitched to major artists again. I have a son that’s amazing. He still thinks there’s something wrong with me, but that’s because he’s about to be 12 and I’m his dad. If I’m lucky he’ll figure out I ain’t that bad by the time he’s 31.

The bottom line is, I have a life.

I had a suicide plan. I had an addiction. I had a cold, dead, empty heart. I had no hope.

Now, I have a life.

Thank you, God in Heaven and on this Earth for allowing me to suffer, break, and surrender to your plan.

This post originally appeared on the author’s Facebook page.

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Will Stults

Will Stults is a Father, Husband, and Mental Health Advocate from Russellville, AL.  His column “There’s a Way” is a regular feature in The Franklin County Times.  As a Songwriter Will has been featured at The Bluebird Café, Moonlight On The Mountain, The Red Clay Theater and other venues across the Southeast.  His debut album “Hearts Get Heard” is available through all digital music services.

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