I then began a slide down into a pit that would take me years to recover from. It was a trip for my family, into hell. I entered the automobile business and soon became associated with those who influenced me, rather than my influencing them for good. It wasn’t long before my routine changed drastically. I cut all ties to the church, gave up my ordination, and found solace daily, in alcohol and other vices.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had retreated into a dark, depressed condition where I reached the place that the only way I found relief was in the next drink. Within two years, this former preacher, pastor, church executive, who had never had a bad mark on his credit rating for 25 years, had to drag his wife with him into Bankruptcy court. It was one of the most humiliating experiences I have ever had to endure. We lost our beautiful home to foreclosure, and for the first time in our married life, we learned to live with cash. If we had the money, we could have it if we needed it. It was a new experience.
I took a job in retail automobile sales and Milbre went back to work with a Government civil service job. It was during this period that I reached the bottom of a horrible existence. I felt that all hope was gone. In fact, I was seeing a doctor and he asked me to write down my feelings. When I began to express my thoughts, I was amazed that I, who was usually a jovial, happy person, had reached a place of despair and hopelessness. My guilt and sense of depravity was overwhelming, but I felt there was no way out. I continued on this pathway for a few years, all the while my faithful wife was attending church, and I would pretend and go with her once in a while, when I couldn’t offer any other excuse. I didn’t know it then, but the bankruptcy was probably a slow turning point.
In October 1989, Pastor Wayde Goodall was installed as Senior Pastor at Calvary Temple in Auburn, Washington. We had moved to Auburn and Milbre was looking for a church home, she visited there for the first time. It was a good beginning and a giant step forward for our family.
Soon, I attended with her, and had the opportunity to meet Pastor Goodall. It was a life-changing event, ordered by the Lord. He was the first Pastor that I met since my resignation that I felt I could share my deepest thoughts and trust him not to judge me, but help me. And help me he did! I had reached a place where I couldn’t go home after work, without going to the bar for drinks, first. About two hours before I would get off, I would start thinking about how good a drink would be. I realized then that I was becoming dependent on alcohol.
Pastor Goodall prayed and counseled with me and helped me slowly to begin to walk out of the muck and mire that I had put myself into. For the first time in years, I began to feel that there might be hope. I was not interested in ministry, preaching, or anything else, other than being restored.