Archive for the ‘Restoration’ Category

This guy, Jonah Hadley, Big Pastor J, headed off to Wells Maine to start a church. Keep his travels in prayer, pray to keep his family safe and pray for the lost to be found up in Maine.
6 years ago I was lost. I was a bottom feeding self induced drug addict paving my own prison pathway to destruction and death.
I was in the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center trying to find out why and how I got to such a rock bottom in my life after a 10 year addiction to opiates and other drugs. Well that sentence explains the rock bottom. I needed help and I needed it fast.
One night at the Salvation Army, during a meeting that we were required to attend, in walks Jonah, this big dude, full head of hair, bible on his side and a determined stare. Here we go right?
He started to speak and all of a sudden my ears opened up. Now I wasn’t new to this Christian thing, I’ve been one most of my life, just never walked my talk.
Jonah started spitting truth. Right from his heart. No beating around the bush, no watery phrases or advice of the world; he gave a short testimony and went on to talk about how you can basically become free from this so called ‘disease’ of addiction. There are about 100 guys in this room, and hearing Jonah speak like he was talking directly to me or someone one on one in front of so many roughed up men, was impressive.
God used Jonah to get to me, as well as so many, God also used the program, its counselors and as a matter of fact, other addicts as well.
Jonah would come in once a month to the rehab and keep offering this freedom. He kept offering the Word of God and freedom through Christ and how simple it was.
Me and a bunch of others would eventually attend service, meetings at Calvary, which is now Great Rock Church. There we met other addicts, other people with issues just like us. A real down to earth community of believers.
I always thanked Jonah for his sincerity and his honesty although he always told me “it isn’t me brother, it’s the Lord”… I said I know man, but you chose to allow Him to work through you, and for that I thank you brother.
I can proudly say Jonah is a true friend. Always there to listen and definitely there to tell you how it is! He’s all about Truth, accountability and telling it how it should be but from the heart and most of all from the Word of God.
Thank you for being there for me brother. Thank you for hearing me when I was down and hearing me when I am up. Thank you for your strength and your faith that is displayed for myself and others to live and learn by. A true leader, made through discipleship from other strong leaders as well.
We’ll be visiting you soon up in Maine brother and will enjoy many more years together in His Light.

We’ll be keeping your path and your family in prayer. I know God has big things coming for those who keep the faith!!
My pastor, my friend, my brother. Godspeed.
“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26

room1

I moved out on my own I was finally free.

I signed a lease and boom, my own pad, my own apartment. I was so excited to finally take on the responsibilities of being an independent man. First thing’s first, a new T.V. I went to Best Buy, opened a credit line and got the biggest and baddest T.V. they had, well at that time, the Sony Wega. Lets get a virtual cinema surround sound system while I’m at it. I was a carpenter so I made a sweet set of custom maple speaker stands for the front left and right speakers. And let me tell you, that T.V. and surround sound system made movies alive!

I went out and got myself a little kitten. I couldn’t have a dog there so I figured a cat would be comforting enough. I opened up multiple credit cards, bought myself a really nice laptop, got some furniture, got a new truck, a new motorcycle and a new girlfriend. Things were great, really great. I owned my own business at the time and was making a lot of money, had a great reputation and made a lot of new connections. I held parties all the time and had friends over a lot too.

A few years went by, things were going good. I was successful and busy. I had a lot of new ‘friends’. I was really making a name for myself in the new town I was in. Until one day it hit me, like a ton of bricks… Oxycontin. Yes, the old school ones where you peel off the coating and go at it.

Someone had come over and introduced me to my new girlfriend, my new chemical romance. Now, I was drinking here and there, popping Valium and sniffing Ritalin, maybe some ecstasy once in a while, your typical weekend party moments. But nothing was more incredible and more euphoric than this form of oxycodone. I bumped a 10 mg line on my glass kitchen table and fell in love immediately. The sun came out in my living room. My smile went ear to ear. I leaned back and said to myself, “Why do I even go to the gym? This is great!”

I couldn’t believe the rush of happiness and strength I got off that one little 10 mg pill! It lasted quite a few hours too. I was just in simple amazement by what I experienced. Well, obviously that connection hung around for a bit. I put everything else aside that I tried and focused on my new obsession. I started using Oxycontin just on the weekends for a few months, I honestly thought it was so good that I didn’t want to waste it.

I noticed myself thinking about it during work. I also noticed how it freed me from stress and problems that were running through my mind. It took me away while still being here on earth, it helped me function better and perform better, so I thought. Things were still going great.

I started using during the week and I went up from 10 mg to 20 mg per bump. Cocaine came into the picture during the weekends too. I really didn’t like the cocaine and noticed that I needed to take a couple of oxy’s to counter the speeding rate of the coke. So I would do them after my bag ran out so I could sleep, after 12 hours of blowing cocaine up my nose, it was needed.

I would wake up pretty messed up, fighting with my girlfriend, getting in arguments with my friends. I was showing up to my jobs later and later. My landlord was getting complaints from my neighbors about me being too loud and saying weird things. I was like, whatever. It’s normal, I’m a free man living the dream! Everything’s gonnna be alright.

Well, I went from 10-20 mg a day to 40 mg. Then 40 mg to 80 mg. In just over a few months too. I had multiple connections. All my ‘friends’ were doing it too. Actually, just about everyone I knew was doing them. They were so easy to get and available 24-7.

Time goes by and my little mental vacation habit turned me into a full blown addict doing well over 1000 mg a day. I tried stopping in the early stages but nothing ever worked. I accepted myself as an addict too, I accepted myself as a junkie and justified my problem daily. I was railing two 80 mg Oxycontin for breakfast and an 80 every hour just to function. I was smoking cigarettes every 2 minutes too, close to 3 packs a day.

Now what I’m about to explain happened within the 3rd year of me abusing oxycodone. My entire run of being an addict lapsed 10 years, but the downward spiral started right around my 3rd year.

I started to not show up to work. I would take deposits on jobs and never show up on some of them. My girlfriend was fed up with me showing up late, lying and cheating, malnourished and unhygienic. Not being a good boyfriend at all so she left me. I would be late to any family gathering because I had to ‘pick up’ before I got there.  Credit card statements and bills we not getting paid.  I was getting threats of being kicked out of my apartment, I had 3 of my surrounding neighbors move within 6 months of each other due to my recklessness. Things were changing and I saw it, and not for the good either.
A few more years go by and I am stealing money from family members, stealing from stores, hustling anything I can to make a few bucks to go get high. I wasn’t making the money I had because my reputation was getting destroyed so my daily intake of oxy’s were dropping day by day and I was getting dope sick.

During this time of being dope sick, not showing up at work and hustling and thieving my way to get high, my truck got repossessed and I had to leave my home. I sold everything, my T.V., the surround sound, my lap top, my guitars, my couch, my motorcycles, my credit cards were maxed out by cash advances, I almost sold my cat… I became that guy that needed to ‘borrow’ money and things all the time. I bounced from home to home, even moved to the south for a year to get away and quickly realized that my problem followed me everywhere. I became homeless because my pride didn’t want to fix anything. I didn’t understand how to mend a bridge and didn’t care.

At this time I’m having full blown panic attacks, insomnia, skeletal pain, bicycle legs, hot sweats, cold chills, nightmares for the 2 minutes I may have got from a nap, diarrhea, heart palpitations to name a few. The flu had nothing on what I was going through. This spiritual and physical pain I was going through was something I wouldn’t want on my worst enemy.

Finally during my 10th year reign of self destruction, after losing everything that mattered to me and all my personal possessions, I became suicidal and did not want to live anymore. I was beyond depression and beyond mental illness. I was incredibly dope sick and needed out. Getting clean on my own was impossible and I knew it. I had no structure and not an ounce of effort to find any. My only hope was in a pill which I could no longer get.

I lost all my hope and all my faith.

I hit rock bottom.

I admitted myself into a 6 month rehab program at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center.

I will have 5 years clean this November 11th 2016. Today I am grateful for everyone at rehab, church, friends and family who offered admonishment, support, encouragement and their time to help me.

I have learned so many things in Recovery and still do to this day. I learned that we are all human and that we all may fall. I also learned that I can not judge another person when they fall. I’ve learned to give back and to help others. I’ve learned that we are all in need of a Savior which we so constantly search for on a daily basis. I have learned that God puts us through things for reasons and that we all have a purpose. I have come to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and understand that my purpose here is much greater than what my mind could and will ever conceive. I have learned that this life is not about me, it’s about others. It’s about sending a message that our Creator, in whom we are to glorify, loves us unconditionally and all He wants is for us to surrender our ways and to live according to His Word.


God is very real, miracles happen every day. I lost it all and got so much more back from nothing.

To be at total peace and to live in His harmonious Grace is the most overwhelming gift one can ever use.


Become Free. Become the Difference.

Selfie

Let me take a Selfie.

We all take them, well most of us. And if we don’t get the right one, we keep taking one until we like it. The right angle, the right shadowing and the right shot, it has to be perfect. And to put the cherry on top we go on Instagram and get the perfect filter to make our already perfect Selfie even better.

We Snapchat, we post our little Selfie creation on Facebook, on Twitter, all over social media, “Look at me!” It glorifies us.
And as if that’s not enough, if we don’t get the right amount of ‘Likes’ on our selfie we take it down. “That wasn’t good enough, OBVIOUSLY,,, so let me take another Selfie.”

Why are we constantly feeding our image? Why are we continually trying to fulfill this feeling of inadequacy? I see young kids on Instagram showing their photos of scars and bloody marks from self-cutting. I see skinny, malnourished teens posting pictures of their self loathing bodies and saying how depressed they are and how no one is there for them. I see people posting dramatic memes and posting the most ridiculous rumors raving about others.

Self-medicating is an epidemic. Overdoses on Heroin, Cocaine, speed-balling and other mind altering substances are on the rise. Depression and anxiety statistics just continue to climb every single year. Disability for anxiety and depression are more prevalent. People are giving up and relying on chemicals to cope.

We are an enabling society. Constant remedies needed as fast as possible. Why?

Because it’s all about me. Yes, you. Me and you. We get offended easy, we get emotional quickly, we get bothered, we get upset, we don’t know how to handle pressure or cope with loss, we can’t believe that just happened, we can’t understand this and won’t put up with that.
“Did you hear what she said? Did you see what he did?”, gossip central. Anything to take the focus off of us when it comes to blame, so quick too, but not very quick to take fault.
But it’s all about me. Everything depends on how I feel, when I want to feel it and when I say it’s OK to feel that way. The world evolves around ME. I even pray for me.

Where is the purpose? Where has the perseverance gone? Why are we mutilating ourselves, hurting and self exterminating ourselves? Where is the honor and respect for each other? Where has all the gratitude gone? Why are we so ungrateful for what we do have and so concentrated on what we don’t have? Why are we constantly complaining, bickering, one upping each other, competing in a realm that doesn’t even exist? Why? Wait for it…

Are you ready? Because IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU! I bet that hurt a little. It’s true. You are nothing. And the quicker you realize this, the quicker you will understand and be OK with it. Let me explain.

You were created, with a purpose, for a purpose and for a reason. Your main purpose is to glorify your creator. As a book glorifies an author, as a painting glorifies an artist, so are you to glorify your creator. Have you ever made something, anything, in art class, at home, at work, anything? Who does it glorify? You! You made it! Name one thing around you right now that doesn’t have a purpose or that didn’t at one time have a purpose. You can’t. It’s impossible. Because everything has a purpose, everything was made, and so weren’t you.

Now, with that being said, lets see what we are called to do with our purpose. And before I list our callings from the most popular, number one selling book on the planet, that everyone seems to ignore, I will make a quick remark for my findings. There is one Truth and one air we breath. The air we do not choose, we must accept it, we have to, if we don’t, we die. The Truth on the other hand we must choose to accept. We all know it’s there, some of us are unwilling to accept it. Without it, like air, we also will die. Pertaining to God, Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He either is or He isn’t, but that’s up to you.

Here is what we are called to do. We are called to Love the Lord our God with all of our heart, with all our mind, with all of our soul and with all our strength. We are called to Love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We are called to be Holy. We are called to be strong and to be courageous. We are called to persevere. We are called to live by Faith. We are called to help one another, to lift each other up, to make disciples of each other. We are called to praise our creator and to give thanks to Him. We are called to live with this purpose and with the gifts that are given to us.

See, it’s not about me and you. It’s about God. It’s about glorifying Him. That’s our only purpose. We are but a mist on this planet and our time is ever so short. Don’t waste it bringing others down and tearing people apart. Don’t waste it walking around lost and hating yourself. Our pride and our selfishness must go. We must surrender daily.

It’s not about me Lord, it’s about you. Help me to live for you as I was created to do. Help me live a purposeful life as you created me to do. Help me to not just separate myself from my problems, but to separate myself unto you. In all my achievements, in all my accomplishments, in all my gratefulness, in all my strength I give you the glory.

Become Free. Become the Difference.

Bibliography: Holy Bible

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Some of you may have read this before and agreed with it or disagreed with it.
The highlighted area is what bothers me.

If we believe we have a disease, that there is no cure, that we can’t beat it and that we will always struggle with it, then we will never get better.
God gave us the ability to conquer anything. How do we do that? We surrender to Him daily. We remain humble and admit we have a serious problem that is not only an addiction but something deeper that we need to fix.
I refuse to accept that addiction is a disease. We are able to overcome, we are able to succeed and we are able to let go.
This is why I named this site Become Free. I was an addict for over 10 years. I struggled with heroin, opiates, cocaine, benzo’s, anti depressants and God only knows what else.
My daily intake was over 1000 mg’s of OxyContin a day. I got to the point of suicide and absolute complete depression.

Then one day I gave my life to Jesus Christ and I haven’t been the same since. It took time and perseverance. It took rehab and wonderful people in rehab to help me. Over time I became free from my bondage and my slavery to drugs. I had a renewal of my mind, I gained my self control back and I am a new creation.
In order to believe I have a purpose I must believe I was created. As a book glorifies an author, as a painting glorifies an artist, so are we to glorify God.
And you know what is awesome, I’m not alone. There are so many that are living the same way. Freed from addiction.
You have to want it as bad as you wanted your poison.

I didn’t learn to deal with my addiction, I learned that I was in need of a Savior. I learned that I was created by an Almighty God that loves me no matter what I do. I learned that giving up MY ways and living according to His Word, I am set free!!!!!

Listen, God is either real or He’s a fantasy. You either have a purpose or you do not.

You have a choice to believe it or not and that choice is going to determine your lifestyle.

Become Free, Become the Difference.

Helping Hand Christian Stock Images

This is a great example of what we can do for others. The action it takes to make things happen. Our words only mean so much. Without our walk aligning with our mouths, it is just talk.

Here is a familiar story or for some not so familiar at all. Either way, a great read and a great example of relative love in action.

An addict fell in a hole and couldn’t get out. A businessman went by. The addict called out for help. The businessman threw him some money and told him to buy a ladder. But the addict could not find a ladder in this hole he was in.
A doctor walked by. The addict said, “Help, I can’t get out.” The doctor gave him some drugs and said, “Take this, it will relieve the pain.” The addict said thanks, but when the pills ran out, he was still in the hole.
A renowned psychiatrist rode by and heard the addicts cries for help. He stopped and said, “How did you get in there? Were you born there? Did your parents put you there? Tell me about yourself, it will alleviate your sense of loneliness.” So the addict talked with him for an hour, then the psychiatrist had to leave, but he said he’d be back next week. The addict thanked him, but was still in his hole.
A priest came by and heard the addict calling for help. The priest gave him a bible and said, “I’ll pray for you.” The priest got down on his knees and prayed for the addict, then left. The addict was grateful and he read the whole bible, but he was still stuck in that hole.
A recovering addict happened to be passing by. The addict cried out, “Help me, I’m stuck in this hole!” Right away, the recovering addict jumped in the hole with him. The addict said, “What are you doing?? Now we’re BOTH stuck here!”
But the recovering addict said, “It’s okay, I’ve been here before, I know the way out.”
-Anonymous

The relative history and that related bond can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Reaching out to someone who you know is struggling with something that you have struggled with in the past. Being able to get on their level exactly where they are, knowing that all you have is truth to give to them because you have been there. And offering it in a loving manner, giving advice with a way out. Leading by example.

Many people offer many different solutions and pathways for addicts. People who have not been through what the addict has gone through. People who ‘think’ they have gone through what you have been through and think they know the answer and think that they have something to offer. They push it. They constantly advise and admonish with their mouths and the only action of their speech is a reaction, getting angry when you do not agree with their belief system. They constantly bring up your past and use it against you regardless of your victories. Trying to correct something that isn’t even there to correct. Looking for a quick fix, a way to figure you out in a split second.

If I am a plumber, do I have any place in giving an electrician advice? Does a non-addict have any place giving an addict advice? Can someone who has never done an opiate tell a heroin user how to get better? They may have good advice but it will not hit home like it will from someone who has been there and gone through the pains of addiction and the loss of self worth. Most of all coming through and breaking the chains of addiction. Setting a firm foundation in God and using Him as the Answer.

Time goes by and you are out of that hole. Say you believe. Say you have come such a long way from your past and people still don’t believe you. People still need to find a way to tear you down. Instead of praising God for your clean time and how you have come back from the dead, they argue over petty ideas and dispute over personal beliefs. Fighting over foolishness. Claiming your dignity and splattering your worth.

This will happen. This has happened, but I got news for you, you are on your own path. You have a story to tell. You have no one to prove a thing to. You have been chosen by God himself to lead and admonish others through love…

“And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15

To love and help others. To lead not as the ones who lead with their mouths but to lead as the ones who live by their example. Make your message your lifestyle. Go out and make disciples. Give what has been given unto you.

Give the second chance. It has been given unto you. Stay humble and never forget where you came from.

Reach out and lend a helping hand. Do it the same way it was done to you.

Become the Difference.

A powerful testimony, we CAN get back on track!

poesjunk

I am not a product of my environment. I grew up in a traditional American family, attended private schools, and went to church every Sunday.
During my childhood, we moved quite a bit. I changed schools nine times by the time I finished high school. In spite of this, I was an honor roll student, cheerleader, and leader of my church youth group, but I learned to build walls at a young age in hopes of protecting myself from fear of rejection. Later on, drugs would strengthen those walls and turn them into a fortress. I didn’t know I would become a prisoner inside my own mind.
I left home at 18. I had never tried drugs, alcohol, or even smoked a cigarette. One year later, I was experimenting with anything offered to me. I tried weed, pills, ecstacy, lsd, and cocaine, and eventually methamphetamine. I used Meth every day…

View original post 248 more words

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This is a little personal. I wrote this to myself the day before I admitted myself into a 6 month program at the Salvation Army rehabilitation center. I gave it to my brother and told him to give it to me when I got out.
I was suicidal. I was at my rock bottom. I had no hope and I had not an ounce of faith left. I am sharing it now because it is not only a reminder of where opiate abuse left me, but maybe someone will read this and will be able to relate. I’m not even sure why I wrote it, maybe after almost 10 years of running around like a rampant junkie, I finally wanted help. Maybe I knew I was finally ready? Because if it wasn’t then, if I didn’t get help, I knew I couldn’t go on any longer. Even breathing was painful. I was done.
By sharing this I’m hoping maybe someone can relate and find a bit of solitude or enough energy to get up and get help too… It may not make much sense but It sure did 4 years ago.

“You’re back, congrats for making 6 months of sobriety. DO NOT let it get to your head. You wrote this withdrawing, sick, diarrhea, confused, afraid, helpless, down, pissed off, ALONE. You did this all to yourself. All to yourself. You want this all back? Start sniffing those f****** percs up your nose. Go ahead, your life will go right back into a hole again, a lifeless, useless, lonely f****** hole.
You want to keep your life? Stick to Christ, family and surround yourself with encouraging people. Stay busy. Love what you have because what you have right now is so precious. Trust me, I wrote this. I AM YOU.
Just a reminder of how you felt the day before rehab… sick, food will not digest, cold sweats, hot flashes, diarrhea, INSOMNIA, headaches, heartburn, nausea, blurred vision, quivers, skeletal and joint pain.
Here are the pains, repercussions of life around you… You feel mentally inadequate, alone, afraid, people will not trust you. You hurt your beautiful mother, your brothers, your father (who will never understand you, but hey, love you for you, and love him for him.) You lied, stole and cheated. You have come so close to going to jail, so many times God intervened.
You became a bum. A junky, a loser. You are so fortunate to be alive, to be reading this, a free, rehabilitated man.
Remember that 6 month journey. Keep your head up! Put this behind you. Stay strong. Help those in need.

Find what you love to do AND DO IT!

Love,
Yourself

P.S. DON’T F*** UP MICHAEL.”

I’m not too sure what pushed me to write this back then. I’m glad I did though. I read it once in a while and I reflect on where I was and what life was like being an addict. It’s like a book mark. When I see it, it puts me right back where I used to be for a short time. It helps me be grateful for everything I have. It helps me stay humble. It helps me remain teachable. I don’t ever want to go back to that lifestyle ever again. I can’t. I know it will destroy me. It will kill me.
I thank my heavenly Father above for the strength to keep moving forward each and every day. I hope this helps someone in one way or another.

God Bless you

Become Free. Become the Difference!

Some of us will be doing the same old thing, some of us will be making changes, some of us will be continuing on the road toward a brighter future.
What ever path you are on be Humble, remain Teachable and stay Grateful.
Thank God for all things.
Be Strong, Be Courageous.
Always look back and see how you are doing. Make adjustments, make improvements, better yourself and become an example for others to follow.
Life comes at us hard sometimes but we have people placed in our lives to help us get through just about anything!
Most of all we have a God who we can call upon when we are down, a God to praise when we are grateful and a God to thank when we succeed.
Persevere, keep your head up, be confident, renew your mind and walk with your chin up knowing that your strength comes not from you but through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the One who died for us, the One who has your back no matter what.
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be full of Faith, be full of Hope.
Walk not just believing, walk knowing.
Love blindly.
Love.
Become the Difference.
Happy New Year and may God Bless you beyond your wildest dreams!

Black-Friday-Line

Happy Thanksgiving!

Let’s get all excited to meet up with family and friends most of us do not even want to see. Sad but true. If we were that excited to see our friends and family we see on Thanksgiving, we would probably see them more often right?

A time for harvest and celebration of gratefulness, giving thanks and overly warming others with comforting propaganda. A time to eat a ton of food that will most likely knock you out for an hour or two. If you’re of Irish or Italian descent, the gossip has already started in the kitchen.

It IS a great time to catch up and spend time with family and friends. Eat some great home cooking and just take a break from life for a few and relax. But the main reason for this holiday is in its title ‘Thanks’… ‘Giving Thanks’.

Welcome to America. Home of commercializing anything that makes money and ups ratings. ‘Black Friday’… Shop until your wallet’s empty. Camp out in front of a huge chain store as if you wanted to be first in line to be touched by the Pope. Trample over anyone and anything that’s in the way when the floodgates open to get that ‘once in a lifetime bargain’.

Anyway… back to giving thanks and being grateful. I thank God for work. I thank Him for being able to do the things I was not able to do. Simple things. Like remaining opiate free. Not so simple yet so simple. Things like not having to wake up in the fetal position, dope sick. Like not having diahrea flying out my back side due to withdrawals. I thank Him for the people in my life who are productive and beneficial to my success. Success as in a forward movement, not living in the past and overlooking where and what I was but where and what I am today, strong, confident and alive.

I’m thankful for the littlest things. Things I dare not say because most of you just won’t get it. I got a heater switch fixed in my work truck. It made my day! I thanked God. I’m STILL happy and thankful for it. I bought a new pair of boots; my smile is much bigger because of them.

I’m also able to do the best I can at work; to perform at my fullest. I’m thankful for the ability to show up to a job and complete it within a scheduled time frame. Thankful for the ability to keep moving forward to the next job, building integrity and trust with clientele.

Why so thankful? Why so thankful for the small things as well as the big things? Why do I resort to thanking God for everything I have? Well, who else am I going to thank?

There was a time where I was a slave. A slave to an addiction. I gave my life to it and I lost everything. Literally. Homeless. Lost. No faith. No hope. Complete emptiness. On a suicidal road to a second death. So when my life turned around, I gave birth to a whole new sense of living, a whole new sense of self-worth and a whole new method of understanding gratefulness; what being grateful really means.

See, I gave up. I surrendered. God pushed me toward this place called the Cross. Where I fell to my knees and fully surrendered MY ways, MY wants and MY needs. I asked Jesus to come into my life and make me new. And why it took so long to do so, I do not know. It’s free for crying out loud. I always knew it was. It didn’t cost a dime. Just took willingness to understand that my ways got me no where and that His ways are True and will guide me as I move forward. I always knew He was there and always knew He was willing to forgive me of my transgressions and wipe them out as far as the east is from the west. But this is my story. The path I chose.

I’m thankful to be alive to be able to be thankful. So why do I thank God? I thank God for His Son paying the ultimate penalty for my wrongs. That because of what Jesus went through for me, I am able to live, through Him. I am able to live and enjoy His Grace and His Mercy on a daily basis with thanks and gratefulness because of Him. This is why I thank God for every little thing that I have that goes good, that goes bad and that simply goes.

“Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy One
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, “I am Strong”
Let the poor say, “I am Rich”
Because of what the Lord has done, for Us… Give Thanks.”

Become Free… Become the Difference!

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Does a cloudy, stormy picture like this make us miserable or are we already miserable and this triggers it? I think storms are awesome and beautiful myself…

I’m no doctor. But I can tell you, that through perseverance, dedication and remaining grateful for what I have simply makes me happy. I actually love life and everything it has to offer.

I’ve heard quotes like this one, “The seeds of depression will never take root in a Grateful heart!” How true is this? I sit back often and reflect where I was, where I could be and where I am. Yes, I have days where I am stressed out but it’s temporary. I feel anger, sadness and loads of pressure with the daily struggles of life but I constantly tell myself that I have a God who is greater than any problem I will ever have.

Usually when I’m driving to work first thing in the morning, I daze off a little and remember where my life used to be. I put myself where I was, depressed, tormented and enslaved by addiction then quickly I snap back to reality. I usually say to myself “Thank you Lord for your Grace and where I am today” or “What a sick way to live”… those are my two replies usually.

Then I thank Him for saving me and I reflect on what I am grateful for. I go over every little thing I have and am so thankful because I know that if I were still living in addiction, I would be so miserable and depressed; barely living, just floating around like a zombie, hustling and haunting anyone with money and seeking enablers.

I see people who claim and hold on to bi-polar, anxiety and other excusable issues. I see people who are so stressed out. I see people who are constantly complaining and are just absolutely miserable. I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t experienced what it’s like to lose everything. And I mean everything.
I don’t know if it’s because they haven’t fully surrendered their old nature and allowed a change to take place. I don’t know if they are just so stubborn that being humble, teachable and grateful are nonexistent in their daily vernacular, that they are words they probably do not understand.

I used to be on the quick acting Ativan, Xanax and many other long term anti-depressants as well. I actually still have panic attacks but they are getting so much better. Yes, the hyperventilating, “where did THAT come from”, no warning, “I’m gonna piss myself” panic attacks. They suck. I actually went to a respiratory doctor, had x-rays done and he said, “Everything’s fine, it’s all in your head Mike.” “Oh, great, that’s just wonderful, thanks Doc.” I said to him as I was leaving the hospital with a confused look on my face. Now what am I supposed to do? I think I may have even laughed at myself the whole ride home!

“So not also do I have an addiction problem, I now have a mental issue!? Great.” That’s what I was dealing with. Totally freaking out over everything. This was a time before I got help. Before I tried. Before I put any effort into anything. I was still lost. I didn’t even know how to persevere, I couldn’t, I was so weak. My choices were wrong and my addiction belittled my sense of who I was.

Well, 3 years coming up with one very short relapse after 10 months, after a surgery I was not even close to being prepared for. Glad it happened though. I am stronger from it. I knew what to do, who to talk to and where to go, thanks to time in rehab and thanks to the people who offered time and served as lighthouses in my life, God I am so thankful for them.

It took time, clean, no drugs at all, not even Tylenol or Advil. It took time to persevere and gain a strength that I have never had before. A strength that keeps getting stronger as each day goes by. I persevered by remaining teachable. That I am and will always be a work in progress. That I will always have the ability to learn and grow. That I do have the capability to be humble and close my mouth when I am supposed to. To thank God for a paycheck, for family, for friends. That listening to others speak and understanding that it is not all about me. That accepting others for who they are and where they are in life, without judgment, puts my life into perspective. That I do have something to offer. That I am strong enough to overcome obstacles and achieve my goals. That I do indeed have the power to say no, but not only say no, but to tell someone that they do not have to live this way, and offer advice, plant a seed, and move forward.

Thank you Lord for this gift. As I continue to be humble, remain teachable and stay grateful for what you have given and continue to give me, I am looking forward to a happy life with You and every blessing You are going to offer. The biggest blessing is hoping I touched someone’s life in one way or another.

Become Free! Become the Difference!