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Your Holiness: Discover the Light Within by Debbie Ford

Excerpted from YOUR HOLINESS: Discover the Light Within by Debbie Ford, copyright 2018. Reprinted with permission by HarperOne/HarperCollins

Drenched in Holiness


Dear God, Spirit, Divine Mother,

On this day I ask you to grant this request:

May I know who I am and what I am, every moment

of every day;

May I be a catalyst for light and love

And bring inspiration to those whose eyes I meet;

May I have the strength to stand tall in the face

of conflict

And the courage to speak my voice, even when

I’m scared;

May I have the humility to follow my heart

And the passion to live my soul’s desires;

May I seek to know the highest truth

And dismiss the gravitational pull of my lower self;

May I embrace and love the totality of myself—My

darkness as well as my light;

May I be brave enough to hear my heart,

To let it soften so that I may gracefully choose faith

over fear.

Today is my day to surrender anything that stands

between

The sacredness of my humanity and my divinity.

May I be drenched in my holiness

And engulfed by your love.

May all else melt away.

And so it is, and it is so,

Amen.


I was in my fourth drug treatment center, and it was day ten of a

twenty-eight-day program. For over fifteen years I had suffered

drug addiction and the underlying insecurities and self-loathing

that had birthed it. I had been in and out of treatment centers and

could never seem to make it all the way through the program. At

around the ten-day mark I would begin to feel strong, willful, and

hopeful, and convinced that I “had it.” I don’t know what I thought

I had, but the ache that had led me into the treatment center

would usually fade away by this point, replaced by a desperate

need to escape. But on this particular day, I was keenly aware

of where my “prison break” would take me. It was no mystery,

because it had happened so many times before. I would finagle my

way out of the treatment center, claiming I was healed and had

found enlightenment and freedom from my addictions. And then,

either hours or days later, I would be back in the same vicious cycle

of filling my small body with drugs, chasing a feel-good

moment, and sinking back down into the depths of hell and hopelessness.


This particular morning, by the grace of God, I was finally

able to see where the path of running away would lead me. And

I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I couldn’t do it one

more time. I knew that if I ran away, I would either find myself

back in the same place or, worse, not survive. Even with this

awareness, the urge to escape continued to well up inside me,

and the voices in my head grew louder and louder: Run, Debbie,

run! Get out of here! You’re not one of them. You don’t need this. You

can do it alone! For hours I turned my attention to this inner voice

and listened. I wanted to believe it. I wanted it to be the truth.

But the harsh reality was, this voice had let me down many times

before. So for the first time I decided to resist the urgings of this

voice, and I chose to at least explore the possibility that there was

some force inside me that could give me relief, that could help

me where I clearly was not able to help myself.


So I excused myself from my group therapy session

(joyfully so) and proceeded down the dark, dingy corridor

that led to the bathroom. I have to tell you, the bathroom of

this treatment center was a disgusting place. It smelled like

dried urine. The stench was almost more than I could bear.

The tiled floor and the grout between the tiles, which probably

had started out gray, were now black with mold. I am a bit of

a clean freak, and my top priority is beauty. I need it. I crave

it. This bathroom was neither clean nor beautiful. But I was so

filled with toxic emotions and so desperate for help, I decided

to do the unthinkable: I got down on the floor on my hands and

knees in a prayer position and began to pray. I asked God—or

my higher power, as they call it in the twelve-step

program—to come to me, to help me, to rescue me from my pain and my

self-destruction. My body was shaking, and tears were rolling

down my cheeks. I was desperate. Although I had heard people

talk about God in many twelve-step meetings, for me God was

nothing more than a concept in my mind. The actual experience

or knowing of God did not exist inside me.


For a few minutes I listened to the ranting in my head about

how stupid this was, how disgusted I was to be here, and how

embarrassed I felt begging some power I didn’t even believe in to

help me. I felt angry at God, at my parents, and at all those who

had hurt me, believing that if it wasn’t for all of them I wouldn’t

be here, stooping to an all-time low. I tried to convince myself 

that I could get up and leave, but my fear that I would die if I ran

away now urged me to stay.


I thought back to the day before I had entered this round

of treatment. I had been living in an apartment at Turnberry

Isle Yacht and Racquet Club in South Florida. I owned a

thriving clothing store in the Aventura Mall with one of the

most prestigious men in the state as my business partner. From

the outside, it looked like I had it all: I drove around in my

white convertible Porsche, wore the hippest clothes, hung out

with the coolest people, and regularly partied among Miami’s

nightlife until the wee hours of the morning. Certainly my outer

shell looked just right. I was the girl who had money, success,

opportunities, friendships, and the world at my fingertips. But in

the quietness of my inner world, I hated myself. I hated my life. I

was angry, judgmental, confused, and disorganized. I was tired,

desperate, and lonely, and the only thing that ever took away my

pain was the carefully selected mixture of drugs that I faithfully

consumed each day.


The truth was that the drugs had stopped working long

ago. And although I could barely endure the thought of having

to live without them, I knew I wouldn’t live much longer with

them. Just two weeks before, I had scored a bottle of Percodans

from a girl I had befriended who worked in a pharmacy. I

thought I had struck gold when I met her. She was the answer

to my dreams and the solution to the countless hours I spent

trying to round up enough drugs to get me through each week.

But on this dark day, this day of reckoning, that bottle was now

empty. It wasn’t that I had never experienced an empty bottle

before, but there had been a thousand pills in this big brown-glass

pharmaceutical bottle, and less than fourteen days later they

were all gone. I now needed to take at least ten Percodans to

catch a feel-good moment, when a few years earlier I had needed 

only one. The bag of cocaine I dipped the ends of my cigarettes

into, to accompany my Percodan high, was empty as well.


Here I was, face-to-face with an out-of-control,

all-consuming drug addiction, surrounded by ashtrays, empty

cartons of Salems, and the bottle of 10-milligram Valiums I used

to begin each day. I was obsessed with trying to figure out how

my life had come to this. I seemed to be a genius at rationalizing,

denying, lying, and making up excuses for my bad behavior, but

on this day, with the empty Percodan bottle in hand, I knew in

the depth of my soul that I just couldn’t go on living like this. I

couldn’t pretend that I was okay for one more day.


All my clothes were thrown all over my room since I had

ransacked every drawer looking for pills I might have hidden

and dollar bills that might still contain a residue of cocaine. My

purses were scattered across my closet floor from my tireless

search, knowing there must be something, some residue,

somewhere. All the plastic pill bottles in my bathroom, where I

would typically hide a few pills here and there, now lay uncapped

on the marble countertop.


As I had frantically searched, I felt the desperation, the fear,

the powerlessness of needing a fix and being unable to find one.

I could have picked up the phone, but I was too ashamed and

humiliated to call even my drug dealers. No one could consume

this amount of drugs in such a short time. No cute leather dress

or outrageous dangling earrings could hide the pathetic nature

of this scene. Even my drug dealers would know what a loser

I was. When I realized that I would be embarrassed in front of

people I considered the scum of the earth, I knew there was no

other option. I had to get help. The thought that I was going to

die had been second to the sleazy feeling of being a blown out

drug addict—the poor little rich girl. There I had been, with

everything, and yet with nothing, because I had lost myself.


After recalling this desperate and painful scene, my mind

snapped back to the present moment, and I once again became

aware of the cold tile underneath me. On my hands and knees,

not knowing what else to do, I recited the Serenity Prayer: “God

grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the

courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the

difference.” I focused intently on each phrase because I ached

for some serenity. More than anything in the world, I wanted

a few minutes of peace inside my noisy mind. I whispered the

words, just loud enough so I could hear them, over and over and

over again: “God, give me the courage to change.” I wanted to

change. I needed to change so badly. I began begging and crying

hysterically. With my head in my hands, I sobbed uncontrollably

until I suddenly realized that something inside me had shifted. A

calm had come over me—a silence that was palpable. In asking

God, this higher power, to enter my awareness, something

inside me had opened up and relaxed. The stress in my body

had released, and the screaming voice in my mind had subsided.

Peace had enveloped my entire self. Even the filthy, disgusting

bathroom floor didn’t look so bad. There was a release inside me,

a letting go, a clarity, an expansiveness, but more importantly,

there was hope. My God, I had hope. Just what I needed.

That morning I had experienced something very special.

Even though I didn’t know what it was, it had lifted me out of

the pain of my emotional body, at least for the time being, and

brought me to the perfection of the present moment. I knew then

that I could make it through another day. And at that point, one

more day was all I really needed. Suddenly I was filled with joy

and excitement, and I wanted to stand up and shout out to the

world, “I can do it!”


I share with you this experience on the bathroom floor

of the Palm Beach Institute because it was the moment when 

I knew that a power greater than myself existed. It was the

moment when I began to heal and transform my inner world and

form a deep, loving relationship with the power that I now know

as God. Every day for the next eighteen days, I made the choice

to find my way back into that bathroom, which became my holy

sanctuary—a place where I could reconnect with the all-loving

presence that had delivered me to a higher aspect of myself.

Through this daily ritual I found the strength to finally make it

through all twenty-eight days of treatment.


On a warm summer day nearly twenty-four

years ago, I walked out of my last treatment center, knowing that I had

tapped into a power and a source that could move mountains,

change people’s lives, and lead me to a future that I couldn’t even

fathom yet. I knew in every cell of my being that I needed to

further explore, understand, and devote myself to finding and

knowing God. Hallelujah!


Dear God,

Dance with me.

Hold me tight like a lover.

Spin me around until a smile covers my face.

Lift me up, and when my feet touch the ground,

Let me know that I am one with you.


As I resumed my life, I was consumed by the need to

understand how this shift had occurred. Why had I found

the strength this time that I had failed to find so many times

before? How had I gone from feeling deep pain, agony, and

despair to experiencing peace, joy, and contentment? How had

I felt so alone and separate one moment, then, a moment later,

completely connected, one with all that is, seen and unseen?

How had I gone from seeing the world through the self-centered

eyes of my wounded ego to glimpsing the unbelievable intricacies

of my spiritual path?


To this day I remain awed and fascinated by what’s available

to any one of us when we open ourselves up to the unseen forces

that exist within and around us. The quest to understand this

powerful source has led me on a long, unbelievable journey, from

the depths of darkness and despair to unimaginable moments of

light, love, creativity, and joy. And now, excitedly, I share with

you what I have learned from the greatest spiritual teachers of

our time, as well as the ancient sages and spiritual masters whose

teachings continue to live on in our awareness. In the pages

that follow, you will find a process that will unleash this power

within you, so that you can heal your heart at the deepest level

and return to your rightful nature, your truest essence . . . your

holiness.


Debbie Ford


Photo: Joyce Ostin

DEBBIE FORD
(October 1, 1955 - February 17, 2013) is the national bestselling author of Dark Side of the Light Chasers, Secret of the Shadow, Spiritual Divorce, The Right Questions, The Best Year of Your Life, Why Good People Do Bad Things, and The 21-Day Consciousness Cleanse.


YOUR HOLINESS by Debbie Ford

HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers

Hardcover ¦ $22.99 ¦ ISBN: 978-0-06-269494-2

On sale MARCH 6, 2018. 




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