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I had become a control monster—Gary M.


My dad was Catholic and my mom is Jewish. We went to the local non-denominational community church on Easter and Christmas Eve. I virtually don’t recall much discussion about church growing up. God was not part of my life through high school and college. I chose the ways of the world. By God’s grace I got my degree, but was suddenly faced with the reality that I really did not have training make a substantial living.

As I entered the adult world, I discovered that a lot of laughter, jokes and “fitting in,” would allow me to move into a position I chose. I was quickly learning more about “Corporate America” and what was required to “Get Ahead,” to advance my career. Unfortunately, I did not see God as part of the solution. Essentially, I was learning to win at all cost. For the next 13 years I traveled extensively with my corporate job. I dated ladies in various areas of the country, partied too much and told anyone what they wanted to hear, so that I could move up the corporate ladder. It worked extremely well. Problem was, that I did not realize what the world was doing to me. It would not hit me for many years. I found my personality quickly changing to being arrogant, I was filled with pride, controlled every situation, loved the power of money and felt I really did not need anyone.

In 1976 I met Leslie. We were married a year later on November 12th, 1977. For the next 27 years we appeared to be the perfect couple. Financially, God provided for us very well, yet I was not satisfied with anything we had. Nothing was ever good enough. Behind the scenes, I had become a control monster. I griped about everything, demanded perfection, developed into a very angry person and sincerely thought that any problem I had, was from someone else. I was sadly wrong. God had had enough of my ways, and I was introduced to the word "humbled".

My world started to fall apart in about 1996. I was so demanding that my oldest son could not handle my temperment, and started having panic and anxiety attacks. It became so bad that we had to send him to a residential treatment center out of California for 13 months to get him help. With this new expense, which was not covered by insurance, my commitments came to about $12,000 per month. That was a lot of money then, and I simply did not see how I was going to meet my commitments. I can remember standing in the shower crying and started praying to God. I didn’t know what to say, but He knew the real pain in my heart. That was God’s first miracle in my life.

For the next 13 months, my business exploded and I never had to sell any of our possessions, or borrow any money. Ten years later, Mike has recovered and now is a manager over young men, ages 13-17 that have different types of issues at the school that helped him! One would think that this experience would have permanently changed me to start looking at my issues. It didn’t. Life returned to routine, along with my anger and controlling ways. There was constant turmoil of some type in the house. Tension was so prevalent in our house, it felt like we could cut it with a knife. I could sense that Leslie and I were having problems. My thoughts became reality in September and October, 2004 when she stated that she could not handle my anger and verbal abuse anymore and asked me to leave our home and family, and that she wanted a divorce.

Initially, I thought that it would take her a month or so to get over this. I was wrong; God had other ideas. I decided to “check out” Celebrate Recovery and joined the Men’s Anger Group. I completed CR’s 12 Step Program. Being confronted by other men seemed to have a lasting impact on me. A couple of weeks after joining CR, a brother introduced me to the Separated Men’s Group. The honesty and accountability that poured forth from the men in my group was unbelievable. I learned that a true friend doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear and move on. A true friend will point out issues and blemishes they see, but they will also help you address those issues. These men became my true friends in Christ.

Close to two years has passed and I want to reflect on my life now. First, my wife asked me to move back into our home and I did on June 30th, 2006. I consider this the 2nd miracle God has given me. He resurrected a totally dead marriage and we will celebrate our 29th anniversary in November. I can’t express how wonderful it is to be able to speak with my wife and show her the respect and love she deserves. I have emerged from denial. I’ve read the Bible three times and have quiet time every day. I’m not afraid of reaching out to people that I sense are having issues in their life. The Lord saved me, and I feel motivated to give my time to helping others, to glorify Him. Although I still have normal problems, I don’t seem to worry about those problems like I use to. I make a lot more time for my family, my wife and enjoying friends. I’m more generous and have the feeling that God knows what I need and will provide. I show others more compassion.

I see these two years as a gift from the Lord. A time He craved for me to fix myself and to grow in what is really important in life. I tend to reflect on the Serenity Prayer often to let me know the power God has, and I don’t. I firmly believe that my experience will not go to waste, and that I was chosen by the Lord to be a leader in the Separated Men’s Group. To take the wisdom The Lord has given me to use His power to help men with the issues they face and the marriages they have made a commitment to God to keep. This is my way of providing glory to God through the great things he is going to do through me to help these men and their families. I know that since God called me, I will not fail in His mission.

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