Patrick Tassell

Hi, I’m Patrick, and I’m a faithful believer in Christ Jesus who struggles with a severely addictive personality and low self-esteem. 

As I remember, my childhood was pretty happy. I got along well with my parents and life was fun and adventuresome.  But when I turned five started going to school, problems started.  I had learning disabilities and behavioral problems and was held up to ridicule by my teacher.  In one of my rehabs, the went over fetal alcohol disorder and all the symptoms rang true. I haven’t been able to get officially diagnosed, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ve it.  So my struggles with alcohol go back even earlier than I had imagined.

At this time, my dad started drinking more and more frequently and screaming and raging.  He’d always had a bad temper and drinking intensified it,  One day he came home drunk and screaming and my mother walked out.  My brothers and me went to stay with her at a friend’s house for a few month while my dad desperately tried to win her back  I was overjoyed when she agreed and we went to live with my aunt for a while.  We were all set to move into a beautiful house of our own and the night before we were to move in, my dad went out and got obliterated drunk and my brothers an my mom and me wound up living in a ghetto housing apartment.  I’d never thought much about Jesus, although we did go to church earlier in my childhood.  At a school fair, a lovely lady had a booth and talked honestly and inspiringly about the good news and I wanted to start going to church.  My mom said I could go, but I’d have to go on my own.  I chickened out.

I still had trouble at school and got into the habit of skipping class.  I still struggle with the urge to give up and withdraw, even when things are going well.

My parents eventually got back together, and although my dad maintained his sobriety, he was still a rage-aholic.
My mom was heavily into the occult and my dad followed and I was raised to shun Jesus and His Church.
My dad left again and life improved dramatically for me, but I had no direction and I still had the habit of cutting school.  I dropped out and tried to join the navy, but they rejected me for admitting to being suicidal at one point. I got a job as a bike messenger and my drinking career was off and running.  I eventually started working in the office which brought some stability to my life and around this time I got a living bible out of curiosity and felt the spirit for the first time. I was flabbergasted none of the crap I’d heard about Christianity was anywhere in the gospels.  I started going to church and began my Christian life.  I’d like to report that I straightened up and lived out a Christian existence, but I never even slowed down my drinking.  From what I’d heard and read from others, my life was supposed to automatically get perfect and I’d get a great job and the perfect wife just for asking.  I still had a lot of un resolved issues and the one thing I didn’t want to do was get sober.

I did manage to get a great job on the Alaska State Ferry and kept attending church and even went to AA, but never managed to achieve sobriety.  I was always going to do it later.

Somehow, I got cross-addicted to inhalants. At first I was able to maintain but I eventually lost everything.  I wound up driving under the influence of inhalants and had a head on collision.  I’m still paying the consequences of this bone-headed maneuver, but I wasn’t badly hurt, and thank God, neither was the guy I hit. 

Still, after all this, I continued to use.  After my last binge, I was left destitute and half-dead.  I called my pastor, who took me to the emergency room where I was admitted to the hospital.  From there I went into rehab.  I knew after all this that I was alive and functioning only by the grace of God.   It was time to follow Jesus all the way.  I knew I didn’t stand a chance unless I got into long term treatment.  I applied to several yearlong programs and just happened to get accepted by the Dream Center.  From now on, Jesus was my higher power and I’d be ready and willing to declare it without shame or fear. 

The main thing I’ve gotten out of going to meetings is hearing my story from so many other people.  I don’t have to feel  alone or like a freak.  Since being at the Dream Center, I’ve read the bible through from Genesis to Revelations twice.  I joined the staff.  I’ve also learned to play the guitar sober and even wrote a few songs.  I got certified as a substance abuse counselor, but found an unexpected roadblock to making it a career.  That would have destroyed me in the past and sent me right back to boozing and drugging, but I praise God for His mercy and provision and look forward to serving Him in whatever way He has for me in the future.

(Patrick is currently serving as men's support at Friendship Mission, and we couldn't be happier!)
September 2019