BCC Staff Note: This blog post and resource is part of a Biblical Counseling Coalition series of testimonies by people who have received biblical counseling. Though anonymous, each testimony is from a real person who is excited to share how biblical counseling has benefited them. For additional testimonies in this BCC series, click here. Today’s testimony highlights the power of God’s Word to set us free from alcohol and drug addiction.
Headed Down a Dark Path
Before coming to faith in Christ, I was headed down a dark path in life. One full of pain, failures, and headed for sure death. I did not grow up in a Christian family, and going to church was not a part of my life. My parents went through a nasty divorce when I was about 13, and I decided I was going to live life on my own terms and do whatever I pleased. My mom walked out on us, and my dad turned to alcohol.
I immediately felt a sense of abandonment and that I was not loved. I wanted to fit in, so I began to associate myself with a group of people who had the same rebellious attitude I had developed. I grew up with no guidance in life and figured I knew best; the pleasures of sin quickly ensnared me. A worker by day and a drinker at night, I watched my father mask his pain through alcohol and drugs. Soon, his habits became my own.
After some time had passed, I no longer found fulfillment in the drink, so I started to do drugs. Not long after that, selling drugs and doing drugs became my life. I even dropped out of high school in the 9th grade. For many years to follow, I chased after drugs, money, and females. Eventually I turned to a needle as a way of trying to fill that void I had on the inside. I became a slave to a needle and heroin because it numbed me completely to pain and life in general. It was a dark road, and the choices I made brought a lot of trouble into my life.
Externally, I seemed fine, but on the inside I was barely hanging on. I knew a few people who committed suicide, and I witnessed firsthand others die from overdosing on drugs. I began to believe that if the drugs didn’t take me, then suicide would be my solution to ending my pain. That is a dangerous place to be mentally, and I spent many nights in tears wishing I could build enough courage to end my own life. Every new day was a battle and troubles just seemed to get deeper. The drugs, money, and girls no longer made me happy. My problems and pain seemed to get worse by the day. I saw absolutely no reason to keep living; I was a failure and I just wanted it all to end.
Set Free in Christ!
Over the years of my sinful lifestyle, I had been in and out of jail four times and wasted about two-and-a-half years behind prison walls. It was there, however, that I found the One who would heal my scars, clean me up, and make me new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
My last trip to prison, I knew there had to be more to life than what I was chasing after. When I look back on my life now, I see that jail was the place that God used as a way to remove me from all the distractions, calm me down, and get my attention. I didn’t find religion and I didn’t find Christ; He found me (Luke 19:10). He wasn’t the one who was lost, I was. I was running away while He was pursuing after me.
On my previous trips to prison, the first thing I would want was a Bible, and the first thing I would forget when I got out was the Bible. But this time it was different; I knew there had to be a change. I had gone through a few “treatment” programs over the years and a behavior modification program which only created temporary success. As I began to take God’s Word seriously, not only reading it, but applying it to my life and living by biblical principles, it was then my life began to produce lasting change as the Spirit and the power of the Gospel renewed my mind and transformed my heart (Psalm 119:11; 2 Peter 1: 3,4).
The Role of Biblical Counseling in My Life
Biblical counseling has caused me to be confronted with the truth—that I am a sinner, and that the Bible is sufficient for all areas of life and all my problems. In particular, I learned from biblical counseling that outside pressures (job, relationships, finances, etc…) tend to bring out the sin which is on the inside. I began to learn that the way to change was not by changing my external situations. Rather, I needed to take the truths I was learning through biblical counseling and attack the root (false worship) issue which causes the bad fruit with true worship. Then replace the bad fruit with good fruit which results in Christ-likeness.
This change did not come about by anything I could do on my own; change came about through Him who provides the Spirit without measure. And the rewards are far greater than changed behavior; it is an attainment of all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding and knowing the Lord Jesus.
The greatest joy that biblical counseling has given to me is the gift of hope, the hope which is only found in a relationship with Christ. Many secular theories’ goal is behavior change; biblical counseling’s main goal is Christlikeness!
I never realized Christ was all I needed until He was all I had. Though I turned my back on him many times, He never turned His back on me. Though many had turned and deserted me, He was patient with me. It was through the witness of another inmate that I came to be a believer in Christ. In that prison I remember getting on my knees on that cold, dirty floor and crying out to God to please help me change my ways and make me new. I had no clue how that was going to happen, but this time something in my heart truly believed He could do it.
At the time, I didn’t understand what He saw in me or why He would even want anything to do with a guy like me. Today I know He saw the suffering of His Son, the Lord Jesus, and His blood that was shed for me. Oftentimes, even 10 years later, I wonder why God chose to spare me when I saw so many lose their life. He chose to spare me because He did not spare His own Son (Romans 8:32). How thankful I am that God accepts us just the way we are when we come to Him dirty and stained, and how amazing His grace is that He loves us too much to keep us that way!
It has been 10 years now and my life has dramatically changed. Having Christ in my life has made a world of difference and given meaning to my life. My joy is complete in Him (John15:11), and He has put a new song in my heart (Psalm 40:3). Though at first it was not easy, and many times it was painful to change, letting go of my old ways of life was a struggle because it was all I had known for many years. I was always known as a failure, and it took me some time to get rid of that mindset. After spending my whole life running from my fears and troubles, I knew this time I had to face my giants. But I would no longer face them alone (Matthew 28:20).
It wasn’t until about a year or so later after I had done my own research on the history of Christ’s crucifixion that I truly felt forgiven! The chains of shame and guilt were lifted, and I felt like a prisoner set free for the first time; amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I knew Satan would try to hold me down in shame, guilt, and regret, but I also realized that what Christ did on the cross was so much more and that God the Father was completely satisfied to look upon him and forgive me. I find true peace and purpose everyday which I never knew before because I surrendered and stopped running.
One of the many blessings the Lord has given which I cherish and cling to is the promise He has made in John 14:27. The Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of the world has given us His peace!
“When Satan tempts me to despair, and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see him there who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free, for God, the just, is satisfied to look on him and pardon me” (Before the Throne of God Above by Charitie L. Bancroft).
Join the Conversation (Added by the BCC Staff)
What is your testimony of how God’s Word and biblical counseling, used by the power of God’s Spirit, has changed your life?