The Darkness and the Light | Mike Gardipee

The Darkness and the Light | Mike Gardipee

There have been two life-changing moments in my life: one led me into the darkness of addiction, and one that led me into the loving light of God.

My journey into the darkness started when I was seven years old. My mother and father went out drinking one night, and came home fighting. My little brother and I went to our rooms as we always did when they fought. We lay in our beds that night, and suddenly my mother screamed at my father, “I will fucking show you!”

She slammed her bedroom door. Curious and frightened, I went to it, and she looked out. My mother stared at me with eyes filled with rage and confusion. Paralyzed with fear; I could not say a word.

Then I heard the gun, and my mother fell to the ground. I saw blood, and I could not move or understand what was happening.

All was lost. Any light in my life was gone. I didn’t want to believe that my mother killed herself.

She loved me. Why would she leave my brother and me alone with my father?

The Darkness and the Light | Mike Gardipee

On the day of her funeral, I walked that long path to her casket and stepped up to view her body. When I touched her ice-cold skin, again, I was paralyzed, lost in fear and despair.

Weeks before, she’d found the courage to leave my father, but I was too scared to leave with her. In the end, she would not leave without me. Now she was gone and I blamed myself for her death. 

Anger and guilt engulfed me. I was seven years old.

I was drowned in darkness and found comfort only in a bottle of whiskey. The same rage and confusion that was in my mother’s eyes that night filled me and led me down the path of destruction.

I was lost in the darkest parts of this world, suffering in addiction and causing pain to everyone in my path.

The moment that moved me from the darkest depths of addiction to the loving light of God was the moment I was led into a federal courtroom. I was being sentenced on conspiracy for the distribution of methamphetamines. I was 36 years old.

The only two people in that courtroom for me that day were Kara, my kids’ mom, and my daughter Makenzie. They told me they loved me but I saw only sadness and pain in their eyes.

The judge told me to stand as he handed down my sentence. He said, “I sentence you to 188 months.” All I could hear wae my daughter’s scream, “God, no please!”

That scream reached me deep in my soul. Her mother held her while she cried. For the first time, I felt the pain I was causing my children.

I tried to tell my daughter that I was sorry and that I loved her, but no words came out. I choked on what I wanted to say. And as I tried to go to her, they grabbed me and told me I could have no contact. They led me out of the courtroom.

When I got back into my cell, I fell to my knees and asked God to take away my daughter’s pain. I pleaded for God to give it all to me, “please don’t let my children suffer from this pain any longer.”

I surrendered that day. I realized I was lost, and my heart was filled with anger and guilt. I prayed long and hard and boy, did God answer.

You must understand who I was before you can see who I have become.

I am now 45 years old with eleven beautiful children, three grandchildren, and one more on the way.

The Darkness and the Light | Mike Gardipee

Today I am blessed to have a relationship with six of my children. I hope one day to have a loving relationship with all of them. I know in my heart that this day will come.

I have walked in the dark of depression and addiction. I have walked in the light of my loving God, who has never lost faith in me. I share this to assure you that no matter who you are, no matter how deep you are in the darkness, the way of loving light is available to you. 

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