I grew up in a bad neighborhood where I was jumped and bullied. To feel accepted, I hung out with an uncle who used meth regularly. Over time, I started sneaking it from him, and found myself addicted. No one in my family even noticed until I overdosed. My uncle still feels responsible.
In 2015, I broke my neck in a car accident. I couldn’t continue some of the things I was doing to get drugs, so started selling pain pills to buy meth. I think that was my lowest point, when I wasn’t willing to stop, even with a neck brace.
My family suffered throughout my use. They were afraid for me because I was stubborn and hot-headed and I used my hands to deal with situations instead of my head. Over time I realized that being in prison was basically cheating on my now ex-wife. I stole the time she should have had with me.
God says “I’m not a plea bargain, not a wishing well. But I will change you if you give yourself up to me.”
I was deep into drugs and stealing to keep up my habit, and for the last time, I was arrested. At first, I tried everything to get out of trouble and go back to my life. When I look back, I realize that God was saying, “I have a spot for you, they leave the light on all of the time, in the county jail.” Because I decided then and there that I was going to do my time. I sat in a jail cell for 27 months, doing time for every single day I had hanging over my head.
I did my time so that I could appreciate my freedom.
When I was finally transferred for a warrant out of state, the judge asked me what I would do if I was released that day. I told him honestly that I would go to Mn Adult and Teen Challenge. He released me. And because I was finally a man of God, I followed through and showed up for treatment.
I don’t think anybody comes to MnTC for the choir, but I’ve learned that when you put your heart so fully into something while sober, it takes a lot of courage. I think that’s what God gives me while I’m singing, because when we sing Changed, it gives me the courage to keep fighting and not backslide.
COVID 19 changed the program completely for me. We stopped going to church and while I miss it, I suddenly had all of this time on my hands to work on contracts. I worked on anger and humility. I spent my time learning how to walk with integrity. I took the opportunity to get as much done and to grow and I know that was the Lord in my heart pushing me.
The civil unrest that was right outside of our doors was scary. At one point, we had to be evacuated, and I was grateful that our staff got us to safety so quickly. Afterwards, I felt so called to help with the neighborhood cleanups. It felt good to serve the community we live in and to be there for my brothers.
Peace to me, is that during the riots, during COVID, I’m still in treatment. I’m still cared for, and I’m still loved.