Getting Off The Perfect Hook: How I Came to Forgiveness


grayscale photograph of a hook hitch
Photo by Jaime Fernández on

I stood in the parking lot of my apartment complex this morning crying. Looking up at the radiant light of a full moon, I was overwhelmed by a feeling. It wasn’t the freezing cold weather; it was something much more powerful. This morning after my work out, I was walking home from the gym, and I received an email. The first email of its kind in my life. This was an email from Amazon Publishing.

“Dear Matthew, Your Royalties for your published work are on the way.”

It included a lot more, but that is the gist of it. After ten years of destroying my life through addiction and alcoholism, I was finally doing something I loved, and now I am getting paid to do it. I have chronicled the story of my past six months in sobriety on here multiple times already, but I wanted to let everyone know, that if I can go from being at deaths doorstep to writing two books in three months and now getting paid to do so. That anyone of you can do it too. I promise it is not as impossible as you think. But, I had to get past some Hurdles first, and that brings me to the reason for writing this morning.


Oh what a word of immense weight. I want to tell you how I came to forgiveness and how it has unchained my entire life.

Forgiveness is one of my cornerstones for living now, but It occurred to me in the most intensely painful ways.

Here is how it happened and what I learned:

Eight years ago, something terrible was done to someone I loved very much. Something that was hidden from me and swept under the rug by the person I loved the most in the world. I was looked at in the eyes and told that nothing happened. This person looked me in the eyes every day for years and told me they loved me, and I believed them not having known what they did.

Well, eight years passed by and my marriage fell apart, I was unable to see the person who had been hurt anymore, and I had a nagging feeling of something being off. Until, finally the person who hurt my loved one confessed, they stepped forward and told me. It was the reason why I no longer had a relationship with the victim of the hurt; it was the reason I drank to the brink of death. It was the person who had spent all those years telling me they loved me and that they didn’t know what happened, who committed the attack.

The rage and anger I felt was more than anything I had known was possible for me. I lost control of my mind and slipped into deeper depression and alcoholism. The thought of: “I do not want to live in a world where this type of evil is allowed,” occurred to me over and over as I drank poison to kill my self and prayed that it would destroy the other person as well.

I was stuck; I was hung up and left for dead, on a hook. A hook that I created, a hook that was built out of my own fears and failures. A hook made from hate and anger, judgment and resentment. Again, I was stuck. I was dangling, without hope. Staring down at the world pointing my drunken finger, screaming “You… You did this to me! I didn’t deserve this Hell!” I yelled at the world. Until, as an act of Providence God showed up next to me.

Looking at the world with me, Tears in his eyes. “He said, Matt. Can I show you something?” I answered yes, being at the point of death by suicide.

He wiped his hand across my eyes clearing away all the insanity and fear, pain and loss, judgement, and hate, like wiping mud of a windshield. Until I could see with my REAL EYES.

The world I was pointing at flipped. It was a mirror, and in this mirror was me. I was hanging on my Perfect Hook, pointing my finger, but now I was pointing at myself.

That is when everything changed — I “REAL EYES-ED” that I was playing God.

I was Judging the world in which I lived by a standard that I, myself was utterly incapable of living up too. I pointed and screamed at others making mistakes, saying “Look at you, you don’t deserve to live or have a good life. Look at the evil you have done.” All the while I couldn’t see myself and the evil I was committing every day. I was holding the world to an impossible standard and in so doing, holding myself to the same.

I was Stuck, but the day of my salvation came when I took my self off That Freaking Perfect Hook and set myself next to the person who committed the unthinkable evil as much as it hurt and believe me it freaking hurt.

I REAL EYES-ED that I must be willing to forgive others, let them off the hook that I was dangling from, or I will die.  I coud not continue to think that I was better or above making mistakes.

Because the reality is, I have done some Evil and Horrible things in my life, things I wish never happened, but they did. It is unfortunate, but I can either learn to let go, do better and forgive or die hanging myself by unrealistic expectations.

I wrote this yesterday: We are imperfect people, and we will always be this way. It was not until I was willing to let other people fail, make mistakes, and be a freaking human being that I was able to allow myself to do the same.

I could have died a hundred times by now with the way I drank and lived my life. But, I haven’t.  I am alive, and I am still failing. But, I am no longer coming from a mindset of; “I must do this perfect or I won’t do it at all.”

I now come from a place of, “I may screw up and fail miserably, but I am going to try with all my heart and soul to do the very best I can. And I do that over and over and over again each day.

My life has become one in which I never fathomed possible for myself. It is beyond my wildest dreams. I am being paid to write books and do what I love now. How great is that?

But, It is only a reality because I stepped back into reality.

I stopped blaming others for my life. I stopped judging others failures and screw-ups as if I didn’t screw up myself. I started forgiving people for being humans and being weak, vulnerable and sometimes scared.  Scared enough to make horrible decisions as a result. And yes, I forgave the person that hurt the person I loved.

I make a choice every day to continue to forgive. Because, in the end, we are all human, we are all flawed, and we will all fail sometimes.

I choose to forgive so that I can continue to move forward with my life and live an extraordinary life; Because that is why we are here, to experience all the wonderful, beautiful, fantastic, amazing things in life.

We were not put here to be miserable every day with thoughts of ending our own lives because this life is too difficult. We are meant for so much more.

Go and get more. Who do you need to Forgive? Let yourself, and the rest of the World off the hook and move on with your life, because you are Worth It.

Have a great day.


Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

8 thoughts on “Getting Off The Perfect Hook: How I Came to Forgiveness

  1. Forgiving others has always come naturally to me. I think writing fiction gives us the ability to imagine things from other people’s points of view and truly empathize with them (rather than sympathize as if we were somehow apart from their experiences). Forgiving myself has been much harder, particularly in recovery.

    So I practice failing, and failing publicly. With writing, that means I share draft work and ask for feedback and practice letting go of defensiveness. In my personal life, that means talking about my feelings even when it’s stuff I would rather not admit to. It all works together toward being able to accept my own flaws the way I accept others’.

    Great article, Matt. And congrats on your first royalties check! I remember that feeling. That and holding my book in my hands for the first time we’re the real “I actually am a writer!” moments in my life. Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. I agree writing has given us the gift of perspective. And I try to come from that place of humility every day, knowing that I may blow it, but that’s ok because I’m not perfect has given me freaking golden wings to soar amongst the stars. Haha, I am glad you enjoyed reading this and thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great message and require a lot of courage! it’s not easy but eventually it’s the only way! Glad you reached this point so far and you freed your soul, it’s amazing…And Congratulations for your royalties first payment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on the book! I have just discovered your blog and enjoyed reading this and found your words inspirational. I’m starting to learn that we need to forgive others not always necessarily because they deserve forgiveness but because we deserve peace as well. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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