Heavy and Hopeful

Hi all. I decided this year, in celebration of addiction recovery, to ask someone to share their story. I had to prepare myself when I read this person’s testimony, because I knew it was going to be heavy. This person is raw and honest and most importantly, a symbol of hope. I am so inspired by this person’s story of recovery, and I’m honored to be able to share it with all of you.

*I have removed all names in effort to allow this person to remain anonymous*

Growing up in a Christian farming home, I worked very hard and went to church every Sunday but the harsh reality is addiction doesn’t discriminate. Addiction has run rampant in my family in the form of alcoholism, but I was the black sheep of the family, and my addiction took a different turn. My journey to addiction started in high school where everyone was drinking and partying. This was where I first wanted to try to escape my surroundings. During this time, I had a lot of family problems I didn’t want to deal with so I looked outward to self-medicate. This, I believe, is how most addictions start. Escaping my problems, at the time, felt great, but quickly drinking wasn’t enough. Drinking turned to pot, pot quickly turned to cocaine and ecstasy, and before I knew it, I was doing meth by the age of 17. Using meth every 6 months turned into once a month, then once a week, and by the time I was 21 I was a full-blown meth addict using every day.

This drug turned my life upside down in a very short time. It made me do things I never dreamed of doing. I stole and treated the ones who loved me most like absolute crap. I quickly became homeless, couch hopping if I was lucky but eventually, I was sleeping behind dumpsters. It ruined my relationships with friends and family and destroyed personal relationships. It made me evil. After everyone had left me because of my actions, including the girl I was engaged to at the time, I completely quit caring. From ages 21 to 23 I received 4 felonies and got sentenced to 15 years in prison with 8 additional years from my first 2 felonies totaling to 23 years. I was beyond frightened that I was going to spend the better part of my adult life in prison. My father had just passed away, I was ashamed for not doing anything with my life besides being a drug addict, and I felt like I was alone.

God blessed me with a caring judge and a great attorney. They said, “We know you’re going to do great things with your life and that people make mistakes. We want you to succeed!” They said, “We’re going to forget the 8 years that was suspended, and we’re going to suspend 9 of the 15 years. With good behavior you could be out in 2 years. Now, you are a habitual offender. if you get another felony, you will automatically get 25 years to life in prison, no questions asked. So, you have 2 options with your time in prison; either find God or get comfortable because with the path you’re on, you will spend the rest of your life there. We hope to see you come out on the other side of this, but that is completely up to you. Best of luck.” That hit me deep and I took their advice. I took my time in prison to think about what I had done, and what I wanted to be. I wanted to make an impact on people in a positive way. I also didn’t want the time I spent incarcerated to be wasted.

After 2 years I got out of prison and was determined to follow the word of God and better my life to the point I could help others that are in the position I was in. I’m thankful to say that by God’s grace, in January, I will be 6 years sober from meth. I will begin classes through SEU to get my bachelor’s in ministry leadership. I started a charity after my father that spreads random acts of kindness. I am working to open a faith education-based addiction, inmate, and family counseling service.

If I can offer any advice to anyone struggling is that you won’t see true changes until you let Jesus into your life, trust him 100% and work HARD! Thank you, Rachael for allowing me to share my story! I do this to try to spread hope and the word of God! Anything is possible! I love you all and God bless!

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