God got me sober to do one thing, be of service and help another drunk achieve sobriety. When I lose this fact, I lose you. This is a reflection of what I do. My whole life is one of service. God continually removes things. Back then, in the midst of my active alcoholism, I got thrown out of the apartment I was in. It was a nasty place when I got thrown out of it. I began this thing called homelessness. I remember the first night I was on the street. I thought, “This is pretty cool. No one can check up on me. This is great.” But I was actually petrified. I don’t do the streets well. I got beat up a lot. I got beat up by police, got beat up by drug dealers, and just got beat up a lot in general. I was walking around this sense of impending doom all the time. I can only imagine what I looked like when I wound up outside the Manhattan port authority on the Upper West Side one fateful day.
To be honest, I don’t know how I got there, and I don’t know what happened to me afterwards, but God gave me truth for a moment. God interrupted this whole mess of me to serve me truth. I was drunk and God got me instantly sober. With this moment of clarity, it was as if my life passed before my eyes. I thought of my mom, thought of my brother’s daughter, my dad, and my whole life. I realized what I had turned into. I’m literally a bum in the street. I was twenty-seven years old. I had blood stained soiled pants on. I was walking around with a turtleneck and a jacket and I was sweating. I was freezing cold at the same time and was severely dehydrated. I hadn’t eaten. I was living to get a pint and eat some Valium. That’s all I did. I would panhandle through the streets of New York, and as soon as I got enough money get a pint, I would to go back into the dark hallway and drink. Outside the Port Authority that day, I cursed God and I don’t know what happened to me afterwards. It was a short time later I made it to my sixth treatment center. After a day and a half, I left because I knew I was in for a horrible detox. I remember twice having to be hospitalized in a treatment center because my detoxes were so awful and I was not about to go through that again. My mind was still lying to me, still screaming at me to get out of here and get a drink and start over. Clancy always talks about this disease of perception. I was right in the middle of it, and couldn’t find my way out.
My dad was in a town called Atlantic City spending some time with his wife down there, he had this feeling, and he says this feeling was in his gut. He described it as a godly quiet voice that cut through all the noise. He says he knew he had to get back to Brooklyn to find me. This quiet voice let him know that his older son was in trouble. He told his wife, “My son Peter is in trouble, I need to go find him now.” So he leaves Atlantic City and is driving through all these areas in New York and Brooklyn, where he finds me just off the street corner dying of alcoholism. I can’t even fathom what that’s like to have your son or daughter dying in front of you. I have been in the treatment center business for many years. I hear the calls all the time, but I’m not a parent. I can’t even fathom what that must be like. But at that moment, there was my dad; he got out of the car and walked across the street towards me. I remember telling got him, “I’m okay. I’m fine, don’t worry.” But as he got close to me I collapsed. I will remember this exact moment until the day that God takes me home. It was a moment for both of us, an incredibly painful one. How dark it is before the dawn, because what God did was lift us both up and plant us in new soil from that day forward.