When I was a child I was abused by someone who was close that I should have been able to trust. That really kind of messed with my head and my relationships. I worked at a hotel kitchen in Cleveland, TN. I had gone to high school and jr. high school with the guy who was the kitchen manager. He said, “Hey, you want to come over and play some Madden or Tiger or Golf?” I knew his wife pretty good, so I said “Sure.” I went to their house and ended up drinking and smoking weed. That was the first time I ever did drugs. From that time on I realized that drugs could numb all the problems in my life.
It became a vicious cycle of doing cocaine to stay up all day so I could work and then doing heroin to sleep late at night. I would continue doing this over and over again. Nobody knew. I did all the right things. I said all the right things. I went to church, raised my hands. Nobody ever knew.
For years I had bad relationships with girls. Obviously, drugs fueled that. I would use women because I was still being controlled by sex and by that driving desire to finally have control of a woman because it was a woman who had abused me.
One night I left a party very high and drunk. Traveling approximately 65 miles per hour with no seat belt on, I drove my GMC Sonoma head on into a telephone pole. The doctors looked at my family and said, “We don’t know what’s wrong with him. We can’t wake him up.” So they were, in essence, getting ready for me to die. During that time I had a vision of judgment, which was God reading off a list of everything I’d ever done, and saying, “Okay, you’re going to hell.” In that experience, sitting on my knees sobbing and realizing that I’m just not worthy of life, Christ stepped forward, picked me up and said, “You’re right. You’re not [worthy of life]. You finally get what grace is. Grace is not what we earn. Grace is not doing the right thing. Grace is what we don’t deserve.” Oddly enough, one of my best friends, Colby, was standing behind Him. Colby had died about a year and half before this. I ran over to Colby because he was such a good Christian, such a good kid. When I went to give him a hug, he put up his hand and stopped me. He just looked a me and said, “I am so ashamed to be standing here saying I know you.” Those were the moments that immediately snapped me back to the understanding that I had to change something.
The East Ridge,TN, police officer that showed up at the accident scene came to my hospital room after I woke up out of the coma. After telling me it was good to see me doing okay, he said, “Here’s the deal. I could have gotten your blood test results and taken you to jail and had you arrested for driving under the influence. If you don’t change, you will be dead in the next year.”
About two or three days later I was given a book by a guy named Brian “Head” Welch, former guitarist for the band KORN. The book told the story of his redemption from drugs and alcohol. Through that, and through my relationship with a man named John Gann, who really mentored me and helped me, I have been clean from heroin and cocaine for seven years.
I had blocked out the abuse and forgiven the person that it came from, but for probably two years after my wreck it remained as a tool for Satan to control me and to keep me just off track enough that I wasn’t doing the things I should have been doing. Once I was able to acknowledge that it had happened and look back at the impact it had on my life, I was able to deal with it and say, “You know what? This happened. This is why I’ve done this my entire life. If I continue to let it control me, it’s not going to lead to anything but destruction.”
A lot of deliverance has to do with saying, “I’m not going to go there. I’m not going to do this. I’m not going to go hang out with the same crowd. I’m not going to do the same things.” It is an act of God, and it’s God saying “You’re free,” but it’s actually walking in that freedom.