Justin Commits To Climbing Out Of His Grief
Justin and his girlfriend were having one of those perfect days that you have when you are 20 and in love. They went to a barbecue thrown by her family, and then stopped by her cousin’s house who hadn’t been able to make the party. The two of them went bowling and then spent time at the beach. At the end of the day, Justin’s girlfriend asked him to stay over so they could go to church in the morning together.
Justin declined; it was his day off and he knew he’d want to sleep in. Justin’s girlfriend, who he only refers to as “the love of my life,” died in a car accident that day. That was nine years ago.
“I just went south from there,” Justin said. “I became an alcoholic. I drank every single day from that day on. I didn’t want to talk about it. I’d just drink about it and then cry about it later.”
Justin was on scholarship at Santa Ana College, and had the opportunity to move on to Cal State Fullerton. “I messed that up by being drunk. I never attended one class. I never had a chance. I could’ve had a lot more. But I let something take a hold of me that shouldn’t have. It was my own fault. There was counseling; my family was there for me. I just didn’t want the help.”
Four months into the program, Justin is feeling regret. “I’m realizing that there’s so much that I’ve wasted in my life,” he said. “But I’ve been able to talk about and learn some ways to deal with it. I couldn’t tell my story for the longest time and I used that excuse for everything. If I had a problem at work or a family member got mad at me, it was, ‘You can’t do that. I lost someone. I’m hurt.’ I used that for years.”
Justin bounced from job to job, and was homeless here and there. He eventually completed a three-month rehab program and stayed sober for 105 days before relapsing and getting arrested for DUI last year. He stayed in town awaiting his court date, which still hasn’t been set. But after some time, Justin decided he needed to make a change.
“Now that I’ve been here, I’ve been able to talk to the Lord,” Justin said. “With the love of my life, with her death, it took me four or five years to even acknowledge it, to even say, ‘God needed an angel.’ But there was always the question: ‘Why would you take that from me?’”
“I would only go to him when I needed him. Now I see that it’s about talking to him on a daily basis. That’s why I say I’m still in the womb right now, because I’m still learning. I have a lot to take in. But everything I’ve learned so far has been incredible and it’s changed my life and it will continue to change my life.”
Justin is taking it slow when considering his future. “When I think about what’s next, it’s more about how I’m going to stay around here, how I can help. As far as me, I try to take it day by day. Now that I have an opportunity to follow his path, that’s where the growth starts.”
“I have my own issues and my own excuses,” Justin added. “The only person that could solve them is the Lord and he’s still working on them every day. But now, when I think about the love of my life, I know that she was able to have fun and spend time with her family that last day. If that’s the way I get to go, I’ll be happy. It was an incredible day. There is no day that can match that until I meet my Father in heaven.”