To Someone struggling,Picture 001 (1)

I know it seems hopeless with no way out, and no chance of ever coming back. You may be thinking, do I even want help because I wouldn’t know where to begin even if it were offered?

Nobody knows better than me.

I was born in Chicago to a dope-addicted alcoholic also known as my mother. I was born with brain damage while detoxing with the tremors and shakes. Life was stacked against me before I knew any better. Fortunately, I was adopted at three weeks old to a good family who truly loved me. Up until the age of 11 I had a very normal childhood. Then I found out I was adopted.

Feelings of rejection and abandonment started creeping in my life and set root. I grew to hate my family. I always felt that they took me away from the life that I was supposed to have. I became rebellious and definitely wanted to do things my way.

From 13 -17 I caught four felonies for burglary, grand larceny, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and strong-armed robbery. Even being court ordered to a one year mandated program at 15 was not enough to correct my behavior. By the time I was an adult I was shooting heroin until I realized that I could shoot cocaine through the same needle. By 26 I successfully became a six time convicted felon for theft and drugs. I knew of no other way of living. I thought it was normal to steal from my family, lie to my friends and manipulate everyone that cared about me just so I could get high.

At 28, I swallowed a handful of pills after a lethal crack binge. I found myself lying in a hospital bed confused and defeated. The attending nurse asked, “When was the last time you were happy?” For the first time in my life I had no response. I couldn’t even lie through it. That question forced me to choose: Do I continue this lifestyle or do I make a drastic change? As I recounted my past, I remembered the last time I felt happy was 10 years ago in a program called Teen Challenge.

I returned to Teen Challenge and felt an overwhelming peace and comfort in knowing that God had allowed me one more chance to change my life. For the first time in my life I was experiencing all the havoc I brought to others and myself without the numbing effect of drugs. This was a very introspective period in my life. I surrendered and allowed God to work inside me. Since then I have broken the vicious cycle of addiction and have reversed my way of thinking.

The hope I found isn’t just for me. I’m not the exception to the rule. God found me in my mess and I know He can find you in yours. Today I am a changed man and the best part of my story is when I share it with others they just can’t believe it. The scripture that sums up my testimony and has always given me hope is Matthew 11:28, “Come all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” I relate to this scripture because I myself was weary and burdened and desperately needed rest.Paul&Cara

With Love,

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