After 18 Years of Serving My Addiction,
I Have a New Master!
As a child growing up I attended Catholic School, but my parents fell away from the church and soon removed me from the school. I graduated high school and went out into the world, knowing of God, but not knowing Him in a personal way.
I met my first wife and we had two children together. The pressures of work and children weighed heavily on us both. She wasn’t ready to be a house-wife and settle down and she began to be unfaithful. It just got worse and worse until after just two short years we separated and I was back out in the world more confused than ever.
I met another woman and we also had a child together, but once again she was not ready to settle down and she became unfaithful. I was very confused about life, trust, and love at this point. A few months later I met a woman who took me down a long a road of addiction. I started off just buying drugs to please her habit, but soon I was using them as well. First it was just a few dollars a week, but soon it was my whole week’s pay. The next thing I knew I was selling off things I owned to buy drugs, then I was stealing to buy drugs, and soon all I did was work so I could buy drugs.
“That’s all life had become for me – how was I going to buy my drugs for the day.”
In 1996 I met my current wife through a plasma donor center where she was employed. God knew I needed someone to befriend me. She shared her testimony with me and it moved me, but I was not ready to take that step. She realized how badly I was hurting, but didn’t know about my addiction.
Soon she became aware of me always being broke and travelling to different parts of town all hours of the night. We were married in 1997 and although I tried to love her, my addiction had me in its control. After several years of trying to talk to me and help me, she finally had to walk away from my destructive behavior.
I stumbled around, lived with my mom for a while, but even she had to kick me out eventually. I lost my job, was homeless, and lived and slept in my car between temporary side jobs.
“The turning point in my life was when I hit rock-bottom.”
I had just left a drug deal and with the bag still in my pocket got in my car to drive away. Just a few feet away I got into an accident with a parked car. The owner came out, soon the police were frisking me, and before I knew it I was in court facing a judge. God showed me mercy that day which I didn’t deserve. The officer frisking me never found the drugs. The judge recognized me as he knew my dad and he ended up letting me off easy and without having to post bail. My car was unable to be driven so the officer dropped me off at a mall. When I realized I still had more money, I went to a payphone to call the drug dealer but as I started to dial, I stopped – what was I about to do?! I had been given a chance to make a change. I called a friend for a ride. He took me to the empty house where I was to be working the next morning doing construction.
That night I couldn’t sleep. My heart raced as I realized how close I had come to more serious consequences for my addiction. As I reviewed my life that night I saw the lack of purpose, the power of my addiction, the hurt I had caused so many, and the failure and destruction at every turn.
“I began to see myself as God saw me – sinful and unable to help myself.”
I just couldn’t keep living this way. I was done! I cried out to God, “If you can’t save me, I understand – just take my life; don’t let me wake up the same man I am tonight. If you are there and real and can save me, I am all yours! I give up!”
I awoke the next morning sensing that something was different. I had no urges for drugs that day – a first in many years. In fact I continued to work for a month and did not relapse into drugs. A good friend strongly encouraged me to get into a Christian program for dealing with addictions, so I went away for a year. During that time I got into God’s Word and spent a lot of time walking and praying to God and as a result grew spiritually. When I got home I was baptized and joined Lehigh Valley Baptist Church where I have continued my growth.
Two verses that have been especially meaningful to me since I have been saved are found in Proverbs chapter 3 verses 5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Since coming home, I’ve continued to experience victory over the addiction and temptation and have been reunited with my patient wife, Mary. Though I don’t always live up to the expectations of others, I see God at work in my life teaching me that His “strength is made perfect in [my] weakness.” (2 Corinthians chapter 12 verse 9).