I struggled with where to start when discussing my journey from the grips of addiction to where I am currently. I guess the easiest way would be a brief overview of where it all started.
It began at the ripe old age of 12, when I first began using drugs. I started early and progressed quickly. By the time I was 14, I was a hardcore drug addict, not just smoking marijuana occasionally but using hard drugs multiple times everyday, and all while keeping up appearances as an active member of my youth group. Consistent drug use was my life from that time until I was about 16, then I added alcohol and more drugs to the mixture, at which time I began to recede from the youth group. I no longer cared about appearances. This mixture landed me in jail a couple times, once in Kansas and finally in Oklahoma City. When I was arrested in Oklahoma City, I basically woke up in jail covered in blood not knowing whose it was or why I was covered in it. I, of course, feared the worst. I had always rationalized my substance abuse by saying, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself.” Well this time, I realized that I might have hurt someone innocent. Luckily it was my own blood, but I didn’t know this until after I had some time for a little introspection. I began to think about what I was doing and where it was leading me.
My parents bailed me out of jail that night, and we had a serious talk about my life. I decided I needed to return to the church and ask for forgiveness and help. That Sunday morning has forever changed my life. I didn’t have very high expectations as to how I would be received. I expected people to continue to look down at me, to judge me and to see my past when they looked at me. I couldn’t have been more wrong. When I asked, they forgave. When I cried, they consoled. The church opened their arms and hugged me. They encouraged me and they prayed for me. Now through the encouragement of the church and grace of God, I am studying to be a preacher of God’s Word and a minister to his people. As to how I am doing in my daily struggles with addiction, I have been clean and sober without a single relapse since March 25, 2012.
This is not meant to be boasting, but a testament to the power of God to transform lives. So my advice here is two-fold. If you need forgiveness ask, you may be surprised by the reception. If someone asks you for forgiveness, open you arms, your hearts, and your lives. This one thing may make a world of difference for God’s Kingdom.
(Editors Note: This is a repost from our old Strong Church website. Content within the post may refer to past events as present or future as a result)