I began using drugs in my late thirties to cope with my feelings of depression and anxiety. I really didn’t know how to ask God for help and used drugs and alcohol to express my feelings. On July 13, 2004, I asked God to help me stop using drugs because I really wanted to die. As I lay strapped to the hospital bed crying out to God for help he came to me through the Holy Spirit and a nice nurse who spoke to me in a quiet tone and said she could help. From that day forward I listened to God with an open mind and began to receive help and learned how to use my words and express my feelings without the use of drugs. Only God has given me the courage to speak and believe I have a voice and it matters.
My healing process began when I allowed others to help me. I went into rehab and began to peel the layers of hurt and pain I carried for many years. I always believed in God, but I was ashamed and embarrassed to ask Him for help. While in rehab, a committee known as “Hospitals and Institutions” came in and a young man shared his experience, strength, and hope how he found help in Narcotics Anonymous. I still wasn’t sure this was for me but this program was spiritual, not religious. I still felt shame for all the things I had done in active addiction and the harm it had caused me and my family from the past but was willing to give it a try. Through all the tired tears I went to God and asked him to free me from active addiction, and began to practice the spiritual principles of the program. I first got a homegroup, then a sponsor. I began to read the literature and I had to start at step one surrendering.
By embarking on the twelve steps of Narcotics Anonymous I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. I began to answer tough questions honestly, open-mindedly, and willingly to allow God to help me in the healing process. My spirit became cleansed through lots of tears and prayers. I learned how to pray differently. I asked God to remove the desire to use drugs and help me bring my family closer together. This process was so uncomfortable and I continued to feel insecure. However, God has shown me through his grace and mercy that he had a plan for my life; I just had to believe. Praying every day has helped me have a more intimate relationship with God. Seeking God’s will I studied Behavioral Health Human Services and graduated with Honors receiving my Associate and Bachelor’s degree. I continue to work as an Addictions Counselor. I finally know my purpose in life is to teach the word about the goodness of the Lord.
When I came to Salt and Light formally known as Grace Christian Fellowship, I was at the end of my road. I began to experience feelings of hopelessness, uselessness, and worthlessness after having ten years clean. I stopped praying to God. I had stopped going to church. I had stopped practicing spiritual principles of recovery. I allowed money, property, and prestige to take over. I became arrogant. A member continued to invite me to church and I finally went one Sunday. As I sat and listened to Pastor Cean James preach the sermon about a clump of clay that was molded into a teacup that could be used for many things. I began to relate it to my life. He stated the cup could be put back together and find out its real purpose for being a teacup. I realized this cup could endure hot and cold storms and fulfill its purpose. I eventually joined the church and began to study the word by attending Sunday services, Bible study, and Sunday school. Within a year my spirit began to fill up and I lost feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. I became part of the church, not just attending church. I began tithing and giving back to God for his continued grace and mercy. I prayed for my family to attend and some did.
Pastor James saw something in me that I did not see in myself and asked me to become a deacon. I walked with Deacon Brown for over a year and became ordained as a deacon. To think that God’s plan for me was to help others who struggled with addiction through the church was impossible for me to absorb. When asked to assist in the Recovery Ministry I felt honored that they continued to see something in me to give back to the community as well as the church. I love and enjoy helping people by sharing my personal experiences with addiction and how I overcame those helpless feelings through educating people through scripture. I study the Life Recovery Bible every day and it gives me more insight on ways I can survive my emotions and talk about mental health concerns as well as building a healthier relationship with God. I appreciate the Pastor, church family, and all the deacons who have encouraged me to allow God to work through me.
I would strongly suggest that anyone battling an addiction turn your life over to Jesus. Through prayer and coming to an understanding about the Bible, attending church services, and bible study you will be well on your way. By allowing others to get to know you on a deeper level you will find your purpose in life. By identifying and understanding how to share your feelings honestly you will find the solution and not focus on the problem. Stay in prayer, attend studies, become transparent and allow God to reveal to you what your purpose is in life, and believe there is hope for a better future. I believe God doesn’t make any mistakes and timing was essential for anyone to give their lives over to the care of Christ. Allow us to greet you with the most welcoming, worshiping, and warm people I have allowed myself to get to know. I truly believe we are making room at the cross and I’m forever grateful.