Jesus Did It!
ALCOHOL AND DRUGS ARE A GREAT REMOVER: THEY CAN REMOVE EVERYTHING PRECIOUS IN LIFE!
By: Craig Van Wyk
I once was lost and very unhappy ... but now I am found. I have finally reached the place I always desired to find. No - I am not financially rich. I don't own a big house or a fancy car. You see, all our worldly possessions mean nothing if we are not truly happy inside. True happiness does not cost a cent. It's all in the mind. Please allow me to share how I found true happiness.
I am 37 years old (2010) and I have spent most of my life doing the wrong things. I was the king of the world as far as I was concerned. Every single choice you make will have an effect on the rest of your life. How can you expect something positive to come from something negative? Right will not come from wrong decisions and wrong actions.
I was lost, but now I am found. I was blind, but now I see. I was fighting a losing battle with the devil and I believed that I could do as I pleased and never have to own up to the consequences of my actions. Boy was I far gone!
They say the biggest lie you can tell is to yourself. I had reached my lowest point. I had everything and yet I had nothing. I was happily sad. I knew what I wanted, but I had no idea what I truly needed. I was not equipped with the right tools to do the job. The harder I searched, the greater the pain and feeling of being a loser. All along I was fighting my inner-most being. How can you fight yourself? I had a car. I had a wife and three beautiful children. I had a good job. I thought that's all I needed; my life was set.
I fought this battle with myself every day. The devil was doing his work in me. The things that I did could only be of the devil. I did not stand a chance. Reality did not exist to me. I had no identity and I was seriously losing the plot.
I would talk to myself - always reminding myself of what a loser I was. I had it all, yet I thought about ending it all. I was completely alone and feeling sorry for myself. I had nobody besides my three best friends: The devil, booze and my drugs. As far as I was concerned, that's all I needed.
I was on a trip, and suddenly I had no brakes! I knew what the outcome would be but I did not care. I blamed my parents, my wife and kids, my sisters and my boss. I even blamed my friends for introducing me to the life style I was in. Hello! I had a choice!
I chose to be alone because everybody hated me, or so I thought. I had no place to stay, so I slept on my friend's couch. I would have slept in my car, but by now my car was repossessed. How much more could I take? I knew what I was doing was wrong and I was hurting everybody around me.
I would drink a bottle of strong cheap vodka everyday by myself, hoping that I would never wake up. I had a problem, but I chose to do nothing about it. Like a typical alcoholic, I felt the world owed me a favour and it was the world's responsibility to help me. I would wake up every day feeling as sick as a dog. My job suffered and I had to lie every single day. I lived for payday; then I could start the party all over again.
I did not start in life like this. I drank like normal people. I never would get drunk, and I would look at alcoholics and say bad things to them...like, 'I will never be like you.'
But as time grew on ' I would spend every cent I had on alcohol and drugs. My family suffered; my kids had no food and the electricity would be cut. Once again I would blame the world. When my money was finished, I would borrow or pawn something for my next fix.
Why was this happening to me? I came from a good family and I knew that they loved me. I had all the good guidance and love and attention that I needed. Where did I go wrong? I felt that people were exaggerating and I was not as bad as they made me out to be. There are people worse off than me.
I could not be trusted. I was a nothing and a nobody. I felt that every time I opened my mouth I was talking crap, and nobody cared to listen to me. I was told on many occasions that I needed help. I was not prepared to let some stranger tell me how to live my life. I would be on top of the world in good spirits and the next moment I was down in the dumps. The guilt was unbearable and I looked in my wife's eyes and I felt nothing. After all, she did not respect me. I am not surprised that she did not respect me, though at the time I didn't understand it very clearly. You see, that's what happens when you live in a dream world. When you tell so many lies that you end up believing your own lies.
The paranoia was eating me up. I could not show my face in public, as I was afraid that I either owed you something or I was behaving weird the last time you saw me. My health began to suffer. My brain was dying and I could not figure out simple things. These are the choices I made. My body ached and I would wake up covered in sweat. My body was also covered in a bad rash. I later found out that my body was telling me that my liver was packing up. I could hear my heart beating loud. It would sound like it was going to explode. I would lay with my eyes wide open at 2 a.m. in the morning, starring at the ceiling ' waiting to die. And once again morning would come and I would still be here in that miserable world.
Crazy - The Choices We Make When We Are Bound Up In Alcohol And Drugs
I would find myself in dark scary places in Johannesburg - places I would not go to if I was sober in broad daylight, yet I did not care. In fact, there was a part of me that hoped that something would happen to me, but it never did. Crazy - the choices we make when we are bound up in alcohol and drugs ' and so far away from God.
I got away with this for a long time, or at least I thought. As long as nobody knew, I deluded myself thinking I could do this for the rest of my life. I could not be beaten. I was too clever.
Little did I know everybody was aware of what I was doing that knew me. I was on a one-way path to self destruction, and in some self-destructive way, I was enjoying the ride.
During that time, I had good jobs that I left. I walked out on my wife and kids because I felt they did not understand me, nor did they respect me. How twisted my thinking was.
They say that one of three things will happen you in the state I was: Hospital - mad house - or the cemetery. I was in the hospital three times in a space of one year. I was also mad house material, and if I continued to carry on my lifestyle, the final outcome was going to be death.
I would watch my friends take drugs and they would always plot and plan for their next hit. At first, I had no interest in drugs as I had my booze. What we so easily forget is that if you drink you get drunk. If you get drunk you lose control of yourself and your actions. You have no limits and you feel strong and anything goes; there are no limits. You can try your best to convince yourself that you are in control of your actions but you don't stand a chance. After I got drunk I could not get any drunker. I would say that drinking bored me. I tried a bit of weed but that only made me sleep so I quit.
I remember clearly the first time I experimented with drugs. I was sitting with the older guys and I watched in amazement as their moods changed. They were pissed drunk and in the next second they were sober after a puff on a pipe. That night I spent every cent I had in my pocket.
The Craving Was Never-Ending And The More I Had The More I Wanted
It was like watching magic. I was drunk at the time and I thought: A little bit can't do any harm ... I am not an addict like them. I became an addict the moment I put that pipe to my mouth. I could go for weeks without smoking. The moment I got drunk I would have to smoke my drugs. Just to sober me up ... that was my reason at least. I could sit until the sun came up; sleep was not an option. The craving was never ending and the more I had the more I wanted. It was a vicious and ugly cycle. I knew that I was dancing with the devil. I was going crazy and I would sometimes see things; then came the violent nightmares. I was hooked and there was nothing that I could do. I would drink my vodka straight out of the bottle and it would do nothing for me.
I would go hungry for three days at a time because I had no appetite and food made me sick. I was down to 70kgs from 84kgs in a matter of one month when I was at my worse. I ended up back in hospital and I thought it was perfect because I did not have to go to work and it gave me a chance to recover until the next spree. The games I played.
When I was discharged, I would automatically find myself in a bottle store or at my dealer's house, ready for my next dose of poison. That's exactly what it is. Why didn't I just quit? My biggest problem was that I refused to accept that I had a problem -- that my addiction controlled me. I believed the lie that I was in control.
If there is one thing that is consistent with addicts ... whether it be alcohol, drugs, food, compulsive spending, gambling, crime; etc., ... addicts REFUSE to believe that their addiction is controlling them. The devil will help them come up with all kinds of rationalizations as to WHY they need to keep giving into whatever they are addicted to, and remain focused on those lies ... rather than the pure and simple truth of the matter: "I am being controlled by something that is trying to destroy me, and I don't have the will-power to stop doing it any longer."
I was embarrassed. I felt that I was not as bad as the rest of the guys. That was probably just another lie that I told as I was just like them. I loved to drink; I felt brave and strong; I was the life the party and everybody laughed at my jokes. It wasn't long before the same people were laughing at me. I no longer felt shy and inadequate. I fit in just right. I was home and with people that loved me. Yet not one of those guys called me when I was lying in a sick bed. Laying in my sweat and vomit. They were not there to hold my hand.
Our teachers and parents tell us all the time...stay away from the bad kids. Our typical answer is, 'I will never do the things that they do.' My answer is ...YOU WILL! My dad was an alcoholic and I swore that I would never go down that path. (My dad is a shining example to me now and he has been sober for many years). My point is that you can never say never. You have to be on guard all the time. Alcohol and drugs don't discriminate; you will get burnt. I reached the stage where I was prepared to do anything just for a fix.
Why spend time with these guys, unless you are looking for something? You know that what they are doing is bad so why expose yourself unless you have ulterior motives? The mind is a strange thing. Treat it bad and it will treat you bad. Expose it to bad and negative things and that's exactly what you will become.
The booze and drugs don't discriminate. They will take you no matter who you are or where you come from. We are all curious as kids and we hear all the stories of how good it is to get high, and we all listen to the stories on Monday at school about the drunken parties. There is nothing wrong with getting up and walking away with your mind intact. Just because you keep hearing: "Everyone ELSE is doing it, so why don't you JOIN us so you will fit in; it's GREAT fun!" does NOT mean it is GOOD for you. In fact, it's the biggest "sales technique" the devil has going for him with youth.
I cried all the time and my life was out of control; most of all I was powerless to do anything. The devil had me by his hand and I followed like a lamb to the slaughter. I was down and out.
I Thought That My Family Had Deserted Me
I thought that my family had deserted me. I was wrong. That was my paranoid poisoned mind doing all the thinking for me. My family begged me to get help and I ended up in a rehab. I did well and I was determined to quit the booze and drugs; at least I would get my wife and kids back. I would be able to go home. I did put the bottle and the pipe down with my hand ... but not with my mind.
I was fine for about two months, and then I was back to my old dance with the devil -- with my pipe in my right hand and my bottle in my left. This time I was even worse. I became homeless again and my job suffered. I lost my job again and I gave up on life again. I was back in the dark, dangerous places. I was not eating or bathing and I wore the same clothes everyday. I did not care about anything or anybody. I was crying like a baby again.
This went on for a few months and I found myself back in rehab living with guys with the same problems/addictions as me. Homeless guys sick with their bodies covered in sores and smelling really bad.
I was not allowed to leave the premises because I had proven that I could not be trusted. Imagine a dirty old smelly homeless guy had more privileges than me because he could be trusted.
I was allowed to bath once a day and I had to boil a pot of water on the fire first. I could not eat when I wanted to. I could not speak when I wanted to. I could not have contact with my family. I had to have supervision when I took my medication as I might take too much ... 'can't be trusted.' I was allowed 2 cigarettes a day. I had to wake up at 4:30 am to pick up dog crap and then I had to wash the cars.
Most of my day was spent chopping firewood to make a fire to cook for 10 grown men who could not help themselves because they were too sick; their bodies were broken from all the booze and drugs.
I would spend a lot of my time listening to their stories about their lives and the many times they tried to commit suicide; they had the scars to prove it. These were men with wives and children. They had good jobs and came from good homes, just like me. They were judges, doctors, accountants, policemen, teachers and preachers. The disease is not fussy; anybody is welcome to the party.
I had reached my lowest point in life. The next level was certain death. What would my kids hear about me when they grow up? 'His father drank himself to death.'
Like the typical addict -- I felt sorry for myself and felt the whole world was against me. 'I am being punished and it's not fair. I am not like these people and I don't belong here. I have a home with a wife and kids -- they don't.' I was wrong. I had nothing and I was a nobody ... the choices I made.
All that I owned was in my bag underneath a urine stained mattress in a rehab.
I Was Arrogant And Selfish And I Only Thought Of Myself
I was arrogant and selfish and I only thought of myself. Then I came up with a plan. I was going to pretend to be healed, then I would go out and drink and do drugs on the sly. The longer I stayed, the more my eyes were opened. 'I am where I deserved to be ... stop crying ... pick your head up...you were man enough to make these wrong choices now be man enough to suffer the consequences ... at least you are alive.'
The people at the rehab said that I was responsible for myself and I could leave whenever I felt like it ...they did not care. I was nobody special.
The days went by. I would watch as the guys would run away, only to return a few days later worse than before. And so it went on. Some of the guys would have to leave soon and they had no home to go to. They would go back to sleeping on the beach and under bridges and in bushes. I had a home ' hello.
As the days went by the shakes and shivers and nightmares also faded away. I felt a bit stronger. My body would heal. I needed to work on my mind. All I had was my bad experience; a bible; and another chance to turn my life around. The Word of God was supposed to help me ... I seriously laughed.
That's because I had no faith and I was negative. That was another poor choice I made. Many times when I was drunk or high I would blame God. 'Why do you allow me to suffer ... what did I do?
Keep in mind -- addicts are so used to believing lies that they even become addicted to believing that everyone and everything ELSE is the reason for their being addicted. Addicts are MASTERS at the blame game! Blaming others helps postpone taking appropriate action to get help for one's addiction.
I began to read the bible very slowly; not because I necessarily really wanted to. I had difficulty understanding because of the damage that I had done to my brain and my thought process. I had a lot of work to do. I had to do it for myself. Not for my wife and kids or my family.
The average age of those guys was 40 years old and none of them looked younger than 60. Was this going to happen to me?
I still had my youthful looks and most importantly I was alive. I finally dawned on me the amount of destruction I had done to myself. I had to heal myself starting with my soul. The past was in the past.
"God If You DO Exist ... NOW Is The Time To Reveal Yourself"
I got on my knees and I asked God to show himself. 'If you do exist, now is the time to reveal yourself to me because I am in deep trouble and I need your help.'
There were no bright lights or the sound of church bells. I was still all alone. I made a decision there and then ... to live or to die. I chose life. As simple as that. I did not choose to remain sober or ask my wife or my family to forgive me. I simply chose life. And I KNEW I could not do it by myself. I had to start from scratch, but at least this time I had the right tools!
It was a Tuesday night and I was still in rehab. That night the entire group went to church. We were all seated in the front row. In our creased clothes and our heads shaved, I had a choice ... again a choice. I could choose to be embarrassed ... or I could choose to embrace the moment and pray really hard and I knew that if I tried, I would receive a sign. I had no distractions like the thought of who was watching me, as the church was full. It was just me and God and I had total control of my mind. I was a broken man
I asked God, 'If I am your child, why are you allowing me to suffer and why am I being spared. I am a sinner and a bad one. I don't want to live.'
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks ... there is a reason that I am still here! I do matter to God! Right there and then I decided to give my messed up life over to God. For once I was not running away and I was going to face this challenge head on.
I felt like I was high -- not the high that I was used to. It was a genuine nice high. All my self-pity disappeared and all the guilt was gone. I cried like a baby. This time it was tears of joy.
I learned a lot about myself in church that night. Most importantly ... my life does not belong to me. My life belongs to God, and all I had been doing is poisoning my body. What about my kids? Will they never get to see their father? What example am I setting? It's not about me. It's about what God had created me for, which wasn't to work in conjunction with the devil to destroy what God had created me for. God created me to be a vessel of His glory, which is the SAME reason everyone else has been created. Life everlasting can only be truly enjoyed when we come to the realization that life isn't about self-pleasure, but it's about GOD-pleasure. "God - what can I do TODAY to please You?"
The Bible Teaches Us That It's Never Too Late To Ask For Forgiveness
The bible teaches us that it's never too late to ask for forgiveness. All the old things and ways are made brand new. I prayed really hard that night and I can't explain it, but something happened to me. All the cravings disappeared and I felt no guilt or regrets about by past.
This has been my life for many years ' but I survived when others didn't. How many of our brothers and sisters are doing the same things that I did? How many are laying in rehabs and in hospital beds or under a bridge somewhere? Nobody is safe from this curse. Just do the right thing the first time and you will see how easy it becomes to do the right thing in future without stopping to think about it.
We don't have to wait until it's too late. I am no longer the same arrogant person that I was. I am strong, but I also realize this could happen to me again tomorrow. Life has no guarantees, but at least I will be prepared because I have danced with the devil and I got to know him personally. I now know my enemy and I know how he operates. Truly - he relentlessly tries to find a means of keeping a person connecting properly with God, to THEN come to the realization that to have the blessing and favor of God upon their lives - for ETERNITY - is to live daily making it one's number one goal in life to focus on what will please GOD.
And if one tries to daily please God and show no regard for what is contained in the Word of God - PRIMARILY in the New Testament - they REMAIN in serious denial to what is most important to God.
Will you allow me to pass along a little insight? If there is ONE thing Satan wants you addicted to more than anything ELSE ... it is to be addicted to anything and everything else but allowing the Holy Spirit to assist you in KNOWING and APPLYING WISELY God's New Testament Word. Why does Satan fight so intensely to keep us from wanting to KNOW and daily seek to OBEY God's New Testament Word? There are actually a number of reasons for Satan to do so ... but his number one reason is to ultimately keep you from receiving maximized rewards on the Judgment Day. Satan can't stop you from turning your life over to the Lord Jesus Christ ... be he STILL has been given the ability right up to the moment you die to keep you from walking in FULL OBEDIENCE to God's Word ... if you LET Him. You have the power and help from the Holy Spirit to not allow Satan to do that to you once you turn your life over to Jesus Christ ... but it is a constant, daily battle to OBEY what is fully pleasing to God. The New Testament Bible is God's "guide" and "road map" in HOW we can be assured we are on the CORRECT path to please God. Relying on any other resource is both a counterfeit and a HUGE hindrance.
Also - Kids: Listen to your parents and stay away from those guys and girls that think they are in control of their lives and do bad things. You will get caught. It's only a matter of time.
Parents: Don't ever think that it's too early to speak to your kids about sex, drugs, alcohol and who knows what else is out there. It's your responsibility to find out all you need to know about your kids. Know about their friends; about their friend's parents, and as far back as you can go. Throw them a curve ball and find out how much they know about drugs and booze and sex. Don't be scared.
Fathers: God created us to be pillars in our homes. We are supposed to show strength no matter the circumstances. What are we saying when we behave the way we do? Our kids are not stupid. They know all about the things we do. They want to be like us and when they see the crap we do them, they no longer want to be like us, and they latch on to "the next best thing" and it could be a bad thing.
Our Kids Are Lost. Who Is Going To Find Them? The Drug Lords, Or The Friends At The Bottle Store?
We have to be spiritual leaders to our wives and kids. We don't have a choice in the matter. Our time has come and gone. We gave up the right to only think about ourselves the day these kids were conceived. Our kids are lost. Who is going to find them? The drug lords, or the friends at the bottle store?
How many times do we ignore our kids because we had a crap day at work? How many times are we quick to raise our hands to our kids without really listening to them? When last have we kept our promises to our kids? Simple promises? How often do we reward our kids when they are naughty?
Fathers we need to teach our kids to be champions -- to be men to respect themselves and most of all, to respect woman. Most importantly ... we need to show our children how important God is in our lives. We need to DEMONSTRATE Christ-likeness to them more than pound "Christianity" down their throats. Demonstrating Godliness is ALSO the most effective teacher. Giving our children the proper knowledge is wise - yes - but demonstrating Godliness to them along with giving them the proper knowledge needs to be our CONSTANT goal.
Let our kids be proud of us for the right reasons. Let's stop living our lives through our kids. We had our chance. We as parents don't have to be scared because if we are truly living our lives correctly, we will not be afraid of any habits that the kids may pick up in the home. Get the filth out of our minds and our kids will copy us all the time and it will always be for the right reasons. Put the bottles down and get rid of the vulgar language. Turn the TV off and talk to your spouses and kids. Involve them in prayer. Involving your children in prayer does things in them that nothing else on this planet will do. Don't use prayer as a means of manipulation either. Use it for how God intended it to be used. Communication with our Creator. MEANINGFUL communication with our Creator.
Mothers: Tell your daughters that it's okay to talk about their bodies and sex issues no matter how old they are. They are finding out about it by themselves anyway. Make sure they are getting the truth.
Life is full of tough choices. Do the right thing the first time. The choices we make, no matter how small, eventually have some kind of effect on our futures. Before you react, ask yourself: 'Am I doing the right thing? Am I considering the God of my understanding, and most of all, am I considering the next persons' feelings? Just be nice. This takes a few seconds. Let yesterday stay in the past. There is nothing you can do about it, other than ask God for forgiveness of poor choices, and asking Him for help to not keep repeating poor choices.
Every day you wake up and you are given another chance -- a chance to start all over again. Why do we repeat the mistakes of yesterday and expect the result to be different? Our kids sit next to us everyday, admiring us and wanting to be like us more than we often realize. Why should we teach them the wrong things? Their brains are hungry; let's fill their brains with as much positivity that we can, and at the same time, we are motivating ourselves. Think about it.
I have been right to the bottom of a very dark and scary pit that you don't want to go to. I did not die, but I made it out, because of a CHOICE that I made, and the grace of God. I chose life. Life with Jesus Christ. The only way I am going is up and this time I am enjoying the ride. As long as you breathe you will make choices. I have tried enough booze and drugs for my entire family, so you don't have to try it. Take my word for it. If there is anything that you take from this testimony, begin trusting Jesus Christ to impart to you wisdom when you make choices. He's more than willing to ' if you'll give Him a chance. And be patient with Him. You'll come to discover that God's time is rarely OUR time.
Booze And Drugs Are Excellent Removers: They Remove Your Family, Your Job, Your Money, Your Mind ...
Booze and drugs are excellent removers. They remove your family, your job, your money, your car, your mind and eventually your life. No matter how bad things are, believe me, there is always a way out. I am living proof of this. Trust me - there is not always a quick fix for most of our problems, but if you quit trusting yourself and begin to trust the Creator, it will begin to materialize.
I found my answer in God ' in Jesus Christ. He co-created me, along with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. Should He NOT qualify for giving me wisdom in my decision-making? Can't I be a little patient when I ask and trust Him for wisdom in my decision-making ability? Can't I humble myself and realize it's VERY okay to begin walking closer and closer with my Creator and God, and put my trust in Him to show me which paths to take in this life?
Surely I can! We ALL can! Does not holy scripture exhort us to do so?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. Acknowledge Him in all your ways, and he shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Thank you for taking the time to read my lengthy testimony. The desire of my heart is for God to help someone else by the terrible mistakes I've made in the past. It's the LEAST I can do for Him.
My email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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