About Me

I am a believer in Jesus Christ who has been blessed with many trials and tribulations to work through, among them are chemical dependency, anger, criminal behavior, codependency, physical and emotional abuse, an adult child of family dysfunction and sexual addiction. With all of that going on you can believe I have some financial issues, too. I guess you could say that as I was younger I was an overachiever. My mother made predictions for me, such as, “you are going to be an alcoholic just like your dad and go to jail just like your brother.” I always tried to outdo her expectations, as you will see later. I wish that I could blame my beginning, but it was a pretty common start. My father and mother were on again and off again, but not when it came to their belief in God and Christ. I was brought up a Christian, and was up in front of the Church giving sermons by the 4th grade. My parents did not smoke cigarettes, nor did they use bad language. By the church's viewpoint we were the model Christian family. Three children, a collie, Church three times a week, a house on a double lot and the children and their father playing outside with each other on the weekends. Sadly, all was not as it seemed. My father worked 12 hour days at Caterpillar, and when he got home he drank in the garage. He still played with us kids and never was violent (although there were times my mother would hit my dad repeatedly and he would just stand there and take it), but eventually my mother had enough. She left him my first week of 5th grade without telling him where we went, and we did not see him for six months.

My mother sent us to live with her mother and father while she worked two jobs to get us a place of our own. This is where the story goes south, in my opinion. My grandfather was an abusive man, he would beat us to the point that he would not let us go to school for a week at a time. His combination of farmer and lots of money meant that when we missed school he said we were helping on the farm and he got away with it. We never said anything to our mother or the school because our grandpa threatened to kill my sister if we did and we believed him. After all, he shot at our uncle and got away with it. I began to fight a lot in the 5th grade, I would get beat at home and come to school and take it out on whomever. I guess that I have always fought since moving in with my grandfather and liked the pain; I guess that I figured I was to blame for my mom and dad splitting up and that was my penance. I also figured out that if I laughed while my grandfather switched me the beating would intensify and he would wear himself out and my brother would not get beat that day.

At a very young age I had managed to develop some severe anger and masochistic issues. I felt abandoned by God, and I stopped believing in him. Why believe in someone who was not there for me. My mother got a place of our own for us in the 6th grade, and she was smoking cigarettes by this time. I started to smoke too. It began with stealing her cigarettes and ended up my buying them off of other kids at school.

In the 7th grade my father got custody of me. He had not drunk in two years and had begun his own business that was doing well, but he worked overnights. I was quickly on the prowl late night, hanging out at the square and doing random acts of vandalism. I was a quick bloomer, the first weekend I got drunk was the first time that I smoked marijuana, did a line of cocaine, tripped acid, kissed a girl and managed to lose my virginity. From there it was all out. I began to hang out all night. My father tried to ground me for a week, and I came back a month later. It was the last time that he grounded me. He ended up getting remarried and we moved again, but it was more of the same; a lot of THC, alcohol, mini-thins, fighting and promiscuity.

I did not like my new stepmom, and I moved back to my mother’s for my senior year of high school. I was quickly in trouble with the law. I went to jail more times than I can remember for fighting, burglary and breaking and entering. I got into the world of methamphetamine, and soon after my world began to crumble. I was on probation and had numerous violations, and yet they never revoked my probation. They tried scared straight, county jail sentences and house arrest all to no avail. I actually liked county jail; I could catch up on my sleep and not worry about having to watch my back all the time. Finally I did not report to my PO for about 6 months. I had decided to take off and travel around the country without telling him. When I got tired of running I went to see him and told him I was ready for prison. He did not disappoint me, I was 20 and on my way to prison.

It was a long time coming, and I guess I saw it as inevitable. Some people have great stories about their 21st birthday. Mine sucked, I was in Booneville and it was a prison camp for kids 25 and under. It was nonstop fighting, and I learned how to be a better criminal. I also ended up getting my GED while I was at Booneville, which was the only positive thing that happened. I found God, but only to look good to the parole board. I got released to a party house when I paroled out. I was drunk an hour after I got out. I was high, spun and with a girl by the end of my first night out. How I managed to walk down my parole I will never know. I found out that manufacturing could get me more money, more dope and more girls and I was in. To make myself feel better I did good things with my money, like giving to charities and helping friends who did not do drugs pay their bills and raise their families. I cut the methamphetamine with a vitamin B complex powder because it was healthier than what everyone else used. I was making a lot of excuses to make myself feel better for what I was doing.

A year after I got out of prison I drove a car off an embankment drunk. Flew may be a better definition. I took a Firebird off a giant hill and flew 96 feet and was 32 feet in the air. I spent a considerable amount of time in the hospital and came out addicted to opiates. I was using IV by this time, as any other way was a waste in my opinion. Soon after I got arrested in Texarkana for possession with intent to distribute a week before my parole was up. I got off of parole just in time to get back on probation. My drug use by this time was getting ridiculous. I was using more and more meth to keep up with the amount of morphine I was using. I was staying awake for a week at a time, sleeping only on Sundays. I was working for most of the time as a bartender. It was an easy way to keep my PO happy and still sell a lot of drugs. I could always stop using a couple of days before I saw my PO, until the very end.

It got so bad that in 2000 I used an hour before I went to see my PO. When I walked into her office, she asked me a question that I did not want to hear. She asked me if I had been doing drugs. I went ahead and told her the truth. I was on meth, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines. She told me because I was honest she would give me a chance, and I turned 28 in a residential substance abuse treatment facility a few weeks later. I completed it successfully and got out ready to show the world they were wrong. I quickly needed money and got sucked right back into the scene. I thought I would just put together a batch, but my use and my quality of life started back up worse than before I had quit. My first use ended with me not sleeping for a few days shy of a month. I used for the next year, and I went through the worst times of my life. I was shot at and shot back at people, came within 5 seconds of shooting a police officer, watched a few friends die from overdoses, overdosed a few times myself, saw a few friends get 25 years in prison or more, was either raided or at places that were several times, beat up several friends and almost killed a few people. I no longer cared about anything or anyone, not even myself. I loved drugs, I loved they way that they made me feel but I hated the person that they turned me into. I had a death wish, and I would put myself in life or death situations because I truly wanted to die.

After an overdose and a really bad drug deal where one of my partners got shot I was emotionally, spiritually and physically exhausted. To steal a 12 Step slogan, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I went to my sister's house, which was my life line to sanity. She had never done drugs or even smoked a cigarette and actually had a legal job. She was the only person that I considered sane and safe left in my life. She was the only person in my life who I knew truly loved me for me and not for what I could get or do for them. I told her that I wanted to get out and had no idea how. She told me she could make it easier for me. I asked her how, and her reply was, "I want you to leave and get clean or I do not want to see you again. I cannot watch you kill yourself anymore."

Two days later, I left behind a house and all of my possessions, taking only a duffel bag of clothing with me. I told my friends I was going on a drug run to Texas, and I never came back. I showed up at the door of my mother’s house and asked her for a chance to stay there until I got back on my feet. That was in July of 2001. I did 90 NA meetings in 90 days, actually more like 150 meetings in 90 days. I found a job waiting tables. By the fall of 2002 I was enrolled in college at OTC with a scholarship from the GED I had taken 10 years prior in prison. I got my associates degree in 04, double Bachelors in Psychology and Sociology in 07 and a Masters in Social Work in May of 2009. I have worked at a residential and outpatient treatment center since January of 08, and I am now the counselor for Greene County Family Dependency Treatment Court.

I did much of this without belief in God. I was never an atheist, more of an agnostic. You could not prove to me that there was or was not a God. I was Thomas and there were no holes to stick my fingers into, so I did not believe. I was clean off of drugs for 7 years, but I was not in recovery. I was drinking, which I justified because alcohol was not my drug of choice. I was getting into fights all of the time. I would not start them, but I went out with friends who liked to start fights and then I would finish them. I was cussing, sleeping around if I got the chance, smoking cigarettes and basically reveling in all of my character defects. I saw a dominatrix on a regular basis to beat me with whips and canes and flogs, because I felt that I deserved the pain. I looked into the mirror and did not like the person that I saw, but I could always look at others and see that I was not as bad as them. I was not where I wanted to be but thank God I was not where I once was.

I thought that I was better. Then I had a bad stretch, possibly my worst stretch ever. My father committed suicide in February of 2008 and I broke up with the mother of my son in and she would not let me see my son for the first several months. I struggled and did not know what to really do. I was out of hope, and my job as a substance abuse counselor was to give hope to my clients. I began to feel that I was a fraud and they were all going to find out. I started to look at the people that I knew who were always happy and no matter what kept their hope and it turned out to be a couple that I knew who were Christians. I went up to my friend Nate and told him what was going on and he invited me to come to Church the following week for service followed by a BBQ. I came, and the first thing I remember seeing was the tattoo wall that hung up in the Church. It was the tattoos that members of the church had and the reasons why they had gotten them. People were dressed in shorts and t-shirts and I did not feel judged for who I was or how I was dressed. Then I heard that they had a recovery meeting, and the next week I checked it out.

I was so nervous that the leader asked me a couple of times if I was okay. I did not feel that I belonged, I was a lost cause. My friends told me to give God a chance to work on me. I probably would not have come back, but the Church was accepting and I did not feel judged. The tattoo wall helped me out a lot. There was also the Celebrate Recovery group that was there, and I came and listened.  I felt that I did not belong at first. I was nervous, and my knee would literally shake the entire time that I was in Church. I wanted the hope I saw people having, but I knew that I did not deserve it. There were people who were there who had not done all that I had done. I was a sinner and could not seem to stop sinning.

In church one day, we read Romans 7:14 and 19, "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. For what I do is not the good I want to do, no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing" Wow, there I was in a nut shell. I wanted to do well, but I could not. I was not alone; this guy who is responsible for half of the New Testament felt the same way that I did. In factRomans 3:23 stated, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."   It was not only me it was everybody that was imperfect. This was what I now had to work on.

My faith was weak, and I needed to become strong. I was going to have to separate myself from others and make decisions that would alienate me from my friends. I did not want to be the reason to cause others to stumble, so I had to change a lot of my playmates and playgrounds once again. I would be alone once again, and being alone is something that I hated. James 1:2-4 says that we should, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking of anything."

I realized that the reason I had never been truly happy in my entire life was because I relied solely upon myself, and I could not do it alone. I had my friends, but I relied only on me. No one else was dependable. I always figured that my life sucked, and that was the reason why it got so rough sometimes. I read that in James and for the first time realized that it was the devil working against me finding Christ and building that relationship.

In verse 12 of James 1 it says, "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." If I could just work through the trials of this world, it had to be better, right? I would use my own words to answer that question, but Romans 8:18 says this best "Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." I so look forward to living this life right regardless of the struggles that I face, because of all that I have to look forward to after.

I started off in Narcotics Anonymous talking the walk, and I know that now. I have seen what the difference is between being drug free and being in recovery. I was miserable drug free. I was part of this world drug free, and I was a great example of how to live for you and be completely miserable. I wanted to quit, and still I struggled. Finally, I had enough. I wanted to be the kind of dad that I would want my son to grow into.

I prayed and I made a deal with God one night while I was drinking I behind the wheel of my car going home and there was a police car behind me that was following me turn for turn. I began to start praying to God. (Begging is more like it) I told him that I would quit drinking and fighting and cussing if he would allow me to make it home without getting pulled over and take the cigarette addiction away. That police car followed me through every turn from the bar until I turned onto the street that I live on, and he simply kept going.

God had kept his part of the bargain, so I have attempted to keep mine. I am blessed enough to say that I have not gotten into a fight or smoked a cigarette since that night. I am a firm believer in Philippians 4:13, "I can do all through him who gives me strength." Are there days that do not go as planned? Of course, this is an imperfect world, and I believe that Satan tempts us more the better we do. Do I miss the money, of course? But I know what it is to have plenty and be miserable, and I know what it is to have nothing and be content. Money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is.

I have learned the difference between want and need. Are there things that I want that I do not have? You bet, but I have no needs that are not met. I can do all through he who gives me strength. Do I miss the drugs sometimes? You bet. I can honestly say that I loved drugs and I love the way that they made me feel, but I hate the person they turned me into. I never want to be that person again. I am no longer obsessed by drugs, but the desire is still there on occasion. I have prayed for the desire to be lifted, and it has not happened. I find solace in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, "there was given to me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Personally I like triggers,  I feel that they allow me to realize how strong addiction is and see how much stronger still is my relationship with Christ. A relationship is not made strong during the easy times, but during the times of hardships and trials. I can do all through him who gives me strength. In the end, I am blessed by Christ. I have a wonderful life, where I can help empower people to make better life choices in the future.

I agree that life is about more than just helping yourself, which is why the 12th step is by far my favorite step. It is the pay check at the end of a long and hard work week. Let no one tell you that true recovery is easy, but it is worth it. You have to be true to yourself and to Christ, and realize that only by walking the walk can you truly influence others. James 1:27 says that "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

We are born from this world, but we do not have to be of this world. I have discovered through my continued relationship with Christ that sin is not just doing the wrong thing, but also not doing the right thing. For me, that means not repaying evil with evil but praying for my enemies and those who wrong me. I am loud in the songs I sing of my overcoming addiction with the assistance of Christ in my life.

I know that some may judge me, and that is on them. I will not judge, for my relationship with Christ does not allow that. I cannot gauge other's relationships with Christ, but only my own.  However I will not be the excuse, either through my speech or my actions, which someone has for not entering into a relationship with Christ. I try to show love, forgiveness and compassion to all that I come in contact with. I do this because I would want the same done to me. I once heard it said that going to Church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. I agree with that, and I want to be known for my actions, not my words. I want others to see how accepting and nonjudgmental Christ is and come to faith in Him.

They can only see that side of Christ if it is displayed by us as Christians and it all starts with me. Christ has given me a beautiful son, a beautiful wife who has always put Christ first her whole life, a job I enjoy and a story that can be shared with others of how rock bottom can be transformed into a life worth living. I understand how many feel not worthy of Christ’s grace. I remember when I went to my pastor and explained to him about this incredible female that I had met and how I was not worthy of her because I sinned frequently in my past and was new to Christ while she had lived her entire life for Christ. I could not understand how this could be, and my pastor told me a story I will relate to you. 

It is a parable that Christ shared in Matthew about the landowner who hires men in the early morning to go and work his fields for a denarius, which was the common payment for a full day’s work. Three hours later he goes to the marketplace and gets more workers and sends them to his fields. Three hours later he does the same thing, then again three hours later and yet again two hours later. At the end of the day, he paid them all the same and the first hired grumbled about getting paid the same. The landowner told them to take their pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Are you envious because I am generous, he asked them. This parable was not at all about money, but was about God's grace. It means that no matter when in your life you heed God’s call, you will gain Eternal Life. So now, instead of focusing on what God has given others I focus on God's gracious benefits to me and I am thankful for all that have.

I have a life now through Christ that I never had without him and I can finally look in the mirror and love the person staring back at me. I went from a drug addicted felon with no hope and no self esteem to a Christian who can attempt to give to others the grace and hope that was given to me. I can truly do all through him who strengthens me, and so can you. I would strongly encourage anyone considering Celebrate Recovery to look into it, and remember that it is a lifelong commitment. It worked for me and it will work for you. It is not a magical cure; it needs to be actively worked on a daily basis. I hear some say that they are recovered, and to me that says that they are done. I am in recovery, because that to me means that I will continue to work at this program, on myself, and on a better relationship with Christ on a daily basis. 

I still get frustrated, still get sad, still feel guilty, still feel lonely and I do not always do the right thing, but I strive to be Christ like and try to ensure that each day I live my life will be better than the day before it. I am no longer a hypocrite; I no longer hate or harbor resentments and anger. Instead I laugh, I cry, I love, I am quick to help and even quicker to forgive. What I once saw as weakness I now often see as strength. Some of those who were once my enemies have become my heroes. It is amazing how your outlook on life changes when you are in recovery.

I owe a lot to the 12 step programs, even more to celebrate recovery, and I owe it all to Christ, for with him all things are possible.