I grew up in a broken home, where there was physical and emotional abuse. I will never forget the day my father left us. I was 7 years old. I felt abandoned by him and carried a lot of resentment in my heart. I felt I wasn’t good enough as a son and this made me feel guilty and ashamed. I told myself I never wanted to see my dad again. This was the start of having hate in my heart.
Looking for acceptance and a sense of belonging, I began searching in all the wrong places.
I gravitated toward those in my year group who were going to parties and experimenting with drugs. I began smoking cigarettes and marijuana just to fit in. At 16, I started to go to rave parties and began experimenting with LSD, ecstasy and then I started injecting speed. That was the beginning of many years of drug addiction. Drugs were an outside expression of covering up what was going on inside. I was trying to mask my brokenness. I always thought I was above the law and that my wrong choices would never have an impact me.
At the age of 25 I went to prison. I began to lose hope and thought that there was no other way to live than on drugs. I soon became addicted to heroin. Heroin gave me a false sense of comfort. For the next 15 years, I tried to quit heroin – detox, rehabilitation, clinics, but nothing ever worked. Eventually I ended up on methadone, this made my problems worse.
I felt trapped and isolated and believed the lie that I was going to be a heroin addict for the rest of my life. I tried to make drug addiction work in my life and was a functioning drug addict living the biggest lie.
In 2013, despite trying to keep it all together and making sure that everything looked good on the outside, I was falling apart on the inside. I heard a still small voice, which I now know to be the voice of God speak to me and say, “These are not the plans that I have for you my son, I’m asking you to leave everything behind and follow me and walk with me by faith.” I found myself in a church and said a heartfelt prayer. I confessed my sins and I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. For the first time in 20 years, I knew that I had found freedom and forgiveness. I was not only able to forgive myself, but to forgive others who had hurt me. I found a new purpose and new sense of belonging in my church.
My life is in a whole different direction. I have completed the Shalom Program for men, I am in Bible College, I mentor broken men and I volunteer in my church. The best thing of all, is that my relationship with my Dad is now restored and I enjoy spending a lot of time with him. My one prayer since I was a young boy was to bring my Dad back, and that prayer has been answered.
I now know what it means when the Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.