A Re-Created Life

I’m not one of those people who came kicking and fighting into recovery. I needed it, and I knew I needed it.

I took my first drink and smoked my first marijuana cigarette when I was 12 years old. My Dad ran a cleaning service, and when I was 14, I helped him. Every Tuesday and Thursday we cleaned a law office that had a bar, so twice a week, I drank Chivas Regal or Jack Daniel’s. In high school, I used all kinds of drugs like Quaaludes and psychedelics. After high school until I was 21, I did a lot of binge drinking, but I was clean and sober for seven years when I was involved in missionary work. But when I was 31, I started drinking again, and I started using crack cocaine. That’s when the real problems began.

For nine years, I was addicted to alcohol and cocaine, and my life was a wreck. I tried to quit a number of times, and I tried a geographic change to help me quit. I moved to Mexico and gave up cocaine. I still drank and smoked marijuana, but for the time I lived there, I was off cocaine. I thought that that time off cocaine would completely cure me of any desire for it, but when I got back in town two years later, I started using it again only five days later.

Every part of my life was messed up. I had two sons, and they occasionally lived with me. I remember my oldest son being embarrassed to be seen with me. He would pass me on the street with his friends but he wouldn’t even speak to me. One day when this happened, I had a pocketful of cocaine, and I realized at that point that something had to change.

The bottom came for me when I was finally evicted from my apartment. I lost my car, my home and my sons. I looked in the mirror that day, and I couldn’t look myself in the eyes. I had wasted all of my potential and all my opportunities, and I had disappointed my parents and my sons. I felt totally embarrassed. I was destitute financially, relationally and spiritually. I was spiritually bankrupt with no connection to God. I wasn’t angry with God. I just couldn’t relate to him because I was too embarrassed to even ask for help. I only prayed when I was in a drunken stupor and needed his help to get over the pain. I prayed, “Oh God, please get me out of this!” But when the pain stopped, I forgot about him again. My moment of clarity came the day my landlord told me he was finally kicking me out. He changed the locks, but he let me go in and get my stuff. That day, I took my car to a coke dealer and used it as collateral to get some drugs I could sell and make enough money to pay my rent. I sold some of the cocaine, but I used most of it myself. I didn’t make enough money to get my car back, so I lost my apartment.

My sister had a friend who saw me and could tell I was in trouble. He knew my family, and he knew how I had messed up my life. He told me, “I’m going to get you some help.” The next day, he took me to a treatment center. I went too late that day, but they told me to come back the next morning. That night, I drank the last of my alcohol and smoked the last of the crack I had. The next morning, I showed up at the treatment center for detox and a month of treatment.

Early in treatment, they suggested that I pray to God for help. For the first time in my life, I started a personal relationship with God. The first few days of detox and treatment were hard, but I was convinced that I needed help, so I stayed.

I’ve been clean now for five years, and I have a new life. I have a wonderful wife, terrific children, and a great job. My sons are back in my life. I’m sponsoring some people in Cocaine Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous so I can help others who struggle with addictions. My life hasn’t just been turned around; it’s been recreated. I never had this good of a life before!

I tell the people I sponsor, “If you’re sick and tired of your life, but you’re afraid of change, ask God for an open mind to listen to people who care about you and want to help you.” —Allen

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