Welcome to my blog. I’m glad you’re here, and hope you enjoy and benefit from your visit.
The site is dedicated to my recently completed memoir: Hope for Misfits: A Prodigal Rides the Cycles of Addiction. I am in the process of submitting the manuscript to publishers. I ask for your prayers regarding publication. I will continue to periodically post excerpts from the book.
I pray that the book will inspire hope for the hopeless, as well as entertain. I welcome your comments and your prayers.
Here on the Home Page, I am posting the book’s Prologue. Excerpts appear under “The Book” in the menu.
About twenty years ago at the National Cemetery in Florence, South Carolina, a small gathering of mourners stood chatting under the meager shade of a scrawny pine tree. As we recalled the life of Jimmie Owens, a friend and former newspaper colleague, we also used the burial to catch up with each other and share where our own lives had taken us. Some of us had not seen each other since 1970 or earlier.
Most of the five or six men and one woman still worked in the newspaper industry, either at the Florence Morning News, where we had all worked together, or at other newspapers in the Southeast. At least two of us had gone on to other pursuits, but I had made the most astonishing career change. I had become a preacher. This shocked all who had known me because I had been a habitually drunk, immoral, unreliable lout when we worked together. The decedent had been a close friend of mine and a hard-drinking companion, but he had settled down years earlier when he married and had children.
A pause in our conversation was broken when an old friend, Luke West, the editor of a newspaper in Virginia, ventured an opinion that prompted the others to nod in agreement:
“If DeVere can become a preacher, then there’s hope for anybody.”
He was right. There was hope for me and there is hope for anybody no matter how far he or she has fallen. While this book is about my plunge into a quarter-century of chronic alcoholism and my consequential slide into a moral abyss, countless millions of people are starved for hope in their own individual circumstances. My frank confession of hitting bottom and the excruciating climb back into a moral, sober way of living offers hope for those who suffer from addiction of any kind, hope for those who feel like a misfit in their professional and personal lives, and hope for people who have lost hope for other reasons.
While alcoholism was the manifestation of my dysfunction and degenerate behavior, a lifelong feeling of not fitting in, of not belonging, was a contributing factor. A combination of psychological and physiological factors likely contributed to my downfall, but I leave it to the clinicians and experts to sort that out. I can state emphatically, however, that the solution for my degeneration lay in my willingness to surrender my will to the will of God. God’s grace and love was sufficient for my recovery and salvation as it is sufficient for others who read this work.
On the surface, I was not a likely candidate to become a self-destructive, depraved alcoholic. Particularly loved by a wonderful mother, I was reared in a close-knit family, and, interestingly, there was no history of alcoholism in my large, extended family. All members of the clan, from my mother and father’s generation and the generation before theirs were, to my knowledge, teetotalers – solid, respectable people. No relative in my generation has become an alcoholic or addict. In addition to a loving family, I was brought up in a small, nurturing church in a small town like Mayberry.
I can’t explain why I embarked on a rampage of drunkenness, sins of the flesh, and irresponsibility that left in its wake a trail of wreckage – a newspaper career, a marriage, personal relationships, my health, my finances, and my reputation. As I look back from almost three decades of sobriety, I find it hard to believe that that person was me. But when I seek to understand myself, I find confusion and hurt, so I have learned to allow the Spirit of Christ to fill my inner being, bringing love, peace, and hope.
Some of my misdeeds would be comical if the consequences hadn’t been so serious and damaging. Admittedly, some of my transgressions are so ludicrous they defy belief, and some may evoke a reader’s repugnance and resentment toward me.
My story is less extreme than some other miscreants and more so than many. It has similarities to that of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel of Luke: I left home, squandered my spiritual and moral upbringing on wild living, found myself perishing in alcoholism and abject degeneracy, awakened to my lost condition, and struggled back into the waiting arms of my God, the Father.
My confession is forthright, even sordid, but I can’t sanitize hell-on-earth or reveal what it’s like to go from the pit to the pulpit without honestly taking the reader into my degenerate mind and life.
This account of my journey is absolutely true in spirit. It is also true historically as far as memory, clouded by alcohol and the passage of time, permits. I cannot, for instance, remember exact dialogue from fifty years ago but have reconstructed conversations as they may well have occurred. I have taken literary license in some instances to fill gaps lost to memory and time, while staying true to the spirit of the event. All the people are real, but I have changed some names.
Travel with me on this road of agonizing degeneration and eventual redemption. Laugh at my outlandish predicaments. Cry with the loved ones and others I hurt. Experience the disappointment of those who got burned by trusting me. Come inside my head and heart and feel the sting of my self-loathing. Rejoice with me in hope as I surrender to God and reach out for sanity and redemption. And lastly, to quote my old friend, be assured that “…there’s hope for anybody.”
(I thank all those who have helped with my book. Firstly, I am eternally grateful to my encouraging and loyal wife, Cynthia, who never gave up on me. I thank Dr. Linda Hobson, my editor, and others who have edited and made suggestions. And I thank Juanita Coffey, a former parishioner, for the gift of the caricature of me on my pearl yellow motorcycle with clerical robes flowing in the breeze.)