I’m Brent – I am an addict redeemed by Jesus. I never said, “I want to be an addict when I grow up.” But it happened. Here’s how I got there.
I had a typical childhood. I had a mom, dad, brother and sister. I played various sports and was a happy kid. When I was around 7 my family began to unravel. My dad had an affair that led to my parents’ divorce. The result was a dirty secret that later fueled my addiction throughout my using life.
I drank for the first time at 13, smoked marijuana at 14. By 15 I was looking for the party and the next party and so on. My using progressed to LSD, cocaine, crack and methamphetamine as the years wore on. There came a point when drinking and drugs no longer were a choice but a daily necessity. Lying cheating and stealing while burning bridges and buying my new friends became my way of life. I spent all my physical energy, money and time worshipping a god of my own invention, running from what I knew in my heart was right.
When I was at my lowest point, homeless & jobless with kids in foster homes, I saw a sign for The Crossing Church right down the street from my dad’s apartment. I told my wife to get ready, we were going to church. She was like, “What?” I said we’ve tried everything else, let’s give Christ a try. So off we went.
I suddenly came to the realization that I was giving away little pieces of my soul and spirit in my active addiction over the years and that Jesus was catching them and saving them for me to reclaim – and with this realization, a great sense of undeniable hope came over me. So I gave my life to Jesus to do in me what I couldn’t do, or even figure out for myself. I then was baptized soon after.
During that time I was attending recovery meetings regularly. I went to every single one I could possibly get to. It was at these meetings I began to truly experience the joy and freedom I so deeply needed in order to truly live in Christ Jesus. I discovered the twelve mile markers, born of the word of God, which literally took hold of me and shook the chains off of not only my heart, but also my soul and spirit. This enabled me to forgive myself and all the others that have hurt me in the past. The experience changed my whole life! It will be a moment I will remember for eternity.
So if you are reading this and thinking you can’t do it, it would be too hard, I'll tell you this – it was not long ago I was just like you. And you don’t have to die an addict, an alcoholic, a rageaholic, gambler, bulimic, or anything else. We are all human and everyone struggles with something. But people who understand are out here waiting. We not only want to help, we need to help.
You don’t have to live or die like this. We were made by God for so much more than a life so deceived, disconnected and shackled to darkness. Jesus freed me and showed me the truth. He’s waiting to show you too. So put your hands up in surrender and Jesus will free you of your burden. Best of all, you don’t have to put your hands behind your back at the end.
I’m Brent. I never said, “I want to be an addict when I grow up.”