Before I knew Christ I was addicted, empty, lost, and miserable. I battled anxiety and hopelessness, I was searching for peace and happiness. Then I met Christ Jesus at Mission of Hope in April 2018 and surrendered my life fully to Him for the first time. Today I am clean, sober, and clear-minded. I have real peace and joy. I wake up daily with a gentle spirit, sound mind and self-control because the Spirit of God living in me.
I have learned how to listen to God’s voice and be slow to speak and quick to listen. I no longer hold grudges because the cross of Christ set me free from bitterness. For the first time in my life I have a sense of purpose and a sense of peace and I know myself more as God has revealed my old man to me and helped me become the new creation. I love being a servant of other people now and can’t wait daily to find out how God is going to use me to help others.
That is crazy to say considering for the first 30 plus years of my life I was self centered and did not care about the consequences of my actions to myself or others. Only God could do such a work of grace in man’s life. I was born in Mobile, AL, into an abusive family with addiction at the center of the home. I was raised in a wiccan environment and grew up learning about pure paganism.
My family taught me how to sneak drugs, do pharmaceutical and street drugs in the home. I took off on my own at 15 and was buying and selling drugs. I had already experienced all the hard drugs. In 2015, at 35years of age, my lab exploded. I had severe burns over70 percent of my body and was in the hospital for six months. I was caught in the hospital intravenously mainlining my pain medication and even though I was a hard-core pagan at the time, God was already starting to rescue my future. The medical team had a permanent note put in my medical records about my abuse, so I cannot receive pain medicine any longer even through doctors. (God is good). I eventually married a lady also in addiction.
Eventually I learned that my addictive lifestyle meant that I could not be around my children. DHR took my kids away from me three different times. Sadly I thought I was so much smarter than everyone else. Even after jail, and three years in prison plus consequences piled upon
consequences, I continued to take and sell drugs.
The Enemy of my soul, Satan, had been lying to me for years. He made me believe that Christians were brain-washed, fake and very weak-minded. How kind and gracious was God to keep pursuing me “even while I was yet ungodly” -Romans 5:8.While on probation, and foolishly still using drugs, my probation officer recommended I go to the Mission of Hope. When I reached out they were welcoming and invited me to the program. Within a short time of being on the campus, some unusual “coincidences” were happening. I was reading my Bible, and taking notes and every single chapel speaker would mention a verse or a note I had written. As an avowed Pagan I realized God was doing something to me. One night in chapel I gave it all up to Him, in full surrender. I even told Him I would test Him.
I told God he could have it all including the crises from my life off-campus and the needs I had while on campus. For the first time in my life I felt a burden lift off of my life. Things were no longer important. Nothing was more important to me than Him at that point. That was the night that I realized that Neil, who was convinced he was the smartest guy in the room did not really know anything. I have been living a life border-line brain dead all my life. He is the resurrection and life He made me anew creation for His glory (2 Corinthians 5:17)I have learned that once you start seeing the Spirit of God move and work, He lets you see more and more work of God. It is like the Holy Spirit gives you a special lens and insight that once you see it, it can’t be unseen. You can’t overlook God’s Hand.
Now I live every day looking forward to life, abundant life in Christ. All the things I was searching for like peace, hope, contentment, and joy God brings into my life every single day. After a good season of recovery and being clean, while serving in the second step on the campus, I got a call that my dad was dying of cancer and wanted me by his side. So after along stay with him in hospice, helping with his pain meds and watching him slowly lose the battle with cancer I found myself tempted and falling again to drug use. But something was different. Now that I had experienced areal relationship with Jesus, the drugs no longer would give me a sense of peace or help me feel better. That’s when God let me come back to the Mission for the second time. And God’s grace is amazing to give me more hope than I have ever known. I have truly found freedom from the chains of addiction through my Lord Jesus Christ. Proverbs 3:7
Be not wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This is my hope for all who hear this testimony.