I was born into a dysfunctional family with three sisters, an abused mother, and a drunken father. I recall strait jackets on my father, police officers at constantly my door yelling and cursing in the middle of the night, and a lot of fear. I remember waking up in the middle of the night wondering what this strange power was that was hidden in the drawer in the kitchen that seemed to be responsible for the outcry in my family. I snuck out and looked at the bottle, pulled the cork and took a sip. I remember at four years old, the warm sensation that ran down my throat as I drank the wine in dismay. I didn’t realize that this would play a large part in my life in the years to come.
My father was beaten to death by the billy clubs of the police officers as they tried to control his anger in the fight they had in a bar. As he hit the floor they pulled him out, put him in the back of the police car, and drove him home. At that time they just thought that he was unconscious. They threw him on the bed, as I stood over him with tears running down my face, crying for him to get up and run from the police.
In the years to come my mother remarried another dysfunctional stepfather who was loose with the hands and the tongue. I remember being locked up in my room after being beat and screamed at, crying out to God. God was my only friend at this time and he was the only place that I found peace. He was my silent friend. I swore that I would never grow up to be like either father, but had no idea at that time what I would be.
In my later teenage years, my friends and I started sipping the booze that was around the house and learned to like the effect. It seemed to give me the freedom that I had been longing for all of my life. I became a daily drinker, pot smoker, and speed freak at the age of nineteen. It was very accessible to me because it was in the hippie era so it gave me a direction to fall under and an excuse to abuse any substances that would take me out of my own head and give me what I thought was freedom from my insecurities. At the age of twenty I went to jail for the first time for the sale of marijuana and speed, however alcohol was always the main substance of abuse for myself, however I substituted it with drugs because most of my friends were junkies. I was considered the garbage head. By the time I was twenty-five I had gone to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting trying to save what little friends I still had only believing that I just drank too much. No way did I ever want to admit that I was an alcoholic but I lied to cover myself and give me the excuse I needed. I was a con man from the get-go. I would tell you anything just to get you off my back so that you wouldn’t interfere with my lifestyle.
For the next twenty years I was in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous and could recite the twelve steps like the alphabet. Although I used God as my “higher power”, and truly loved God, temptation seemed to get the best of me. I realized that just loving God wasn’t enough. One of my famous expressions that I used when I was hopeless was “God please get me out of this, I promise I’ll never do it again”, and I truly did mean it, but I didn’t know how not to do it again, because my life style had no substantial gain to it. I had no direction to follow, and AA was not filling the long time hole in my heart to give me the desire to live a wholesome life. So I continued building up a so-called life and then falling and losing everything again, and again, and again. I surely thought that there was no way out. The direction was set; I had no choice but to be a loser. I tried to commit suicide by downing a bottle of pills. Even that failed.
They locked me up for twenty-one days in the mental ward at the hospital. I thought that might do it, but I ran into some old friends that invited me to play pool and have some drinks and for some reason I couldn’t say no. The mental institution and the other fourteen times I was arrested and spent time in jail were easily forgotten.
I decided to visit my biker friends in Daytona Beach, Florida who also drank and used drugs like I did. I thought that I could I stay out of jail if I had friends ho could watch over me, and we could watch over each other so I could continue to live a loose lifestyle because I never did admit that I wasn’t capable of taking over control of my life and my addiction, although I said I did. My heart showed different.
Five months later, all my friends were inside the house passed out drunk and high on pills and grass and I decided to take a day off, I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror because I knew there was no hope for me. I again thought of suicide. I realized that I had brought my problems with me wherever I went. I went outside in the back yard after dark and I couldn’t help crying because I didn’t like myself.
As my arm was resting on the barbecue grill, I went down on one knee and cried out “God, I don’t want this either! Please help me!” I spent the rest of the evening not only asking God to help me but to show me how not to live this way anymore. I wanted to be like other people that I saw that could walk in freedom instead of bondage. I was like a prison within my own self.
I got on the cell phone to speak with my brother who had been a “born again” Christian for twelve years. He told me that he had been waiting for a long time for me but knew I had to be finished before he would be able to help me. He told me about a place called America’s Keswick, a Christian transformation center that had a 50% or better success rate. Every other rehab that I had been in had a 4% success rate.
Three days later I committed myself into the rehab program that transformed my life through the Word of God (the Bible) in a way that I never dreamed was possible, but longed for all of my life. I was willing to surrender all my ways and all my thoughts and be renewed by the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ set me free of all bondages to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and being overweight to physical, mental, and spiritual wholeness.
I cannot say enough to anyone who reads this, but I’m a living testimony that the only freedom I ever had was in Jesus Christ and my life is full of joy. God bless all who read this testimony.