As told to writer Sarah Hendrix
You’ve heard of a 12-step program, a 7-step program. Well mine was a 1-step program! I really believe I just touched the hem of His garment and I never looked back.
Simple as it sounds, it was not an easy life that brought me to that point.
Beginning with marijuana as a very young boy, I just kinda grew into drugs, gambling and being a negative influence over others at an age when most of us don’t understand the power behind addictions. While still in high school, I was selling drugs and using drugs to take advantage of others, including my wife. I took great pride in myself—calling it the pride of life. It is that pride, you know, that ultimately holds you back.
We all naturally want what others have; things we see as beautiful. Drugs and alcohol are like that. And most people don’t realize that the lure of drugs is really an initial perception of the beauty. But the beauty is an illusion. When you take drugs just to function, to be yourself, the beauty and the draw to them goes away. Doing drugs to fit in is all make believe.
With Poker machines and steady under the table money in Artemus, I wasn’t looking for anything except to feel like I was in control of other people. A wayward preacher stopped by one time and ended up selling his car to me just for the opportunity to gamble and lose. As the rain came down that day, I inspected my new car and found the convertible top padded with a Bible. The Bible was soaking wet, and I thought it would be bad luck to throw it out so I called my sister. She told me to let it dry and she would come and get it. But instead I started reading it. And my wife started reading it. And then she agreed to attend a church service with a friend where she was saved.
When she came home from a first time ever church service—a service she didn’t want to attend anyway—and told me that she didn’t want to do drugs anymore, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing or seeing. She called everyone to tell them of her experience. I got calls from everyone and total shock from a lot of our drug friends.
But by the next afternoon, I wanted whatever was in her. And I received that and more.
Everyone’s addiction to drugs, power, pornography or gambling begins with a desire. My desire began when I was very young. I saw drugs and addictions as beauty, a way to power, and a way to love and companionship.
I understand that was foolish.
Today, I know that it was the pure love of Christ—not anything else—that transformed me. Hearing a testimony about a changed life on Sunday then sitting at home alone on Monday, however, is not the answer.
Pouring my life into the lives of others is what came from my encounter with Christ. Unity with other people is the beauty that drugs once provided. Servant-hood is what is missing from the lives of many.
The world says don’t waste your time on him or her! Don’t be a fool!
Well, I am a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?
This story originally appeared in Facing Addiction in Knox County, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Union College in Barbourville, Kentucky.