Hi my name is John, I was once caught in the vicious trap of addiction for 18 years of my life. Let me walk you through what things took me there. Honestly, I never imagined I would be an alcoholic, thug, or a dope head. The pain that fueled my addictions started when I was 8-years-old. I really didn’t know why it happened or how to deal with it but I felt rejected by my father. He wasn’t giving me attention, so I began searching for other ways to get that attention and approval. At 9-years-old when I started smoking cigarettes. I felt like it was cool and exciting. It quieted the pain I felt for a moment, then as the excitement wore off, I tried other things like alcohol, marijuana, porn, pills, etc. I found myself in this chase of numbing reality. I hated to face reality sober. Reality meant dealing with the pain and nurturing a wound. I didn’t even know how to fix the pain or I would have. When the heart is sick, the whole body is sick. Only when you allow the heart issues to be properly addressed can you then experience a life of happiness and wholeness. One thing I remember my dad saying to me was, “John, you will grow up to be nothing.” I understand now he was upset that I was being a trouble maker but these words hung over my head like glue. My dad and I didn’t speak much from my early teen years till around when I turned 26 and had to move back in with them. I moved out of the house at a early age first because I went wild as you can expect. The more I experimented with drugs, the deeper I went and the more numb I felt. On a warm September evening, my home was raided by task force agents where they found me in possession of a major shipment of drugs. I was facing up to 40 years in prison. I laid on my jail cell floor and cried out, “Oh God, give me a second chance!” After many months of being in jail, I was released with fines and a criminal record. Not the career I planned to go down in life.
About a year later, I was invited to a bible study at a coffee shop where I met a group of men that had been radically changed by God. This was bizarre to me. I had been around church, but never really got involved. Every one of those men I met were all in a faith-based drug rehabilitation program. I knew I needed to be around people that would push me to do the right thing in every situation. I got connected to their church and began to help out with the sound and media team. They invited me to help set up chairs at the support group meetings and services they attended. The men there began to father me. I didn’t know it but I was fatherless for most my life. This was the very thing that caused me to run to the dope houses, bars, and other places I didn’t belong.
As I served in the church I grew like a plant. I stayed there and kept my roots down until I began to bear my own fruit. Then I began to father other young men, who like me lacked a father figure in their life. Little did I know after eight years of serving, helping, and mentoring there, I would be given the opportunity to be the leader of their support group meeting for the rehab. One weekend I went to a men’s encounter and heard a message on forgiveness. I didn’t really feel like I had unforgiveness towards my dad, I just knew he wasn’t much of a dad. The more they shared the more I thought I have some problems with my dad that I need to resolve. So I went home after that weekend and sat my parents down for a chat. I told my dad that I forgive him for not being the dad I needed him to be. There were many tears shed that day but after that talk we had a fresh start. I began having bible studies in the living room with them every Monday for about a year. It totally changed our relationships. There was lots of damaged done by my past life that needed to be restored. I was finally able to give back to them and honor them like they deserved. I remember one family event my dad walked over to me and said, “Son, I’m so proud of you and what your doing with your life.” I literally wanted to cry for the next 2 hours but I responded and said, “them words are medicine for my soul, thanks dad.” I think more healing began there for me personally.
Today, my relationship with my dad is better than it ever was. He asks me questions about God and I get to share with him my personal experiences. I also am a new father to my 1 year old son Deacon. My Dad enjoys watching me being a new dad. We have a very special connection now that wasn’t even available until I chose to forgive him and learn to love him how God lives him. This is changing his life, my life and will change my sons life as he grows up in this healthy environment of support and encouragement.