I came to New York City in 1947, I was 23 years old thirsting for action and excitement and New York City was the place to find it. Wherever I went there were thousands of people. I thought I’d never be lonely in New York. These people didn’t even sleep! If I failed in one crowd, I’d simply go around the corner to another one.
This negative thinking was consistent with my past; as I had previously drifted all over the U.S. From the time I finished High School, searching in vain for peace and contentment. I was raised by strict and very religious grandparents. They made me go to church so much I developed a deep hatred for churches and Christians. They all seemed to pretend to be more than what they were. My grandparents were always telling me how God could solve all problems, yet they were the perfect picture of poverty. They criticized the local bootlegger, while I admired him. He had a fine house and car and his children wore the best clothes, while we “Christians” had a hard time getting a decent meal. I wanted to enjoy the finer things in life. Like the prodigal’s son, I wanted my inheritance here and now! There was no room for God to snooping over my shoulder telling me what to do. Christianity become a joke and eventually faded from my life completely.
I gradually became trapped by the evils of gambling, drinking, prostitutions, marijuana, and finally heroin! I was like a hungry ravaging beast. Running from sin to sin, gorging my soul with evil. For 10 long years nothing existed but dope. I was married with two children but when I had to choose between buying their food and getting my heroin, they went hungry. I was so mean and nasty that the children were taken away from us. My wife suffers from a heart condition because of me, but she never left me.
In January of 1958, my wife finally persuaded me to try a hospital in Lexington, Kentucky- the only treatment facility available at the time. It was there that I realized that 33 years of my life had been wasted. There were 2,700 addicts at Lexington, age 22 through 72, all searching for a way out of the years of torture and misery. I saw the strain of many empty years on their faces; I could feel their pain. I lied to myself for ten years, telling myself that I wasn’t like them, but on the inside, I knew I had voluntarily gone to prison. I was trying to escape the fact that I was no better than any of those 2,700 Addicts, truth be told I was one them. This startling fact made me want to cry for the first time in over 10 years. But I could not cry, I couldn’t even laugh. Heroin had stripped me of all my feeling. My mind, body, and soul were nothing. I tried looking to the future, but only saw the past. I kept remembering my grandparents, although they were very poor, they had what I now searched for peace love and laughter. I would have given my 33 years for just one laugh.
I remember what my grandfather said about the power of prayer. I wondered if God could make me laugh or cry; so in desperation, I prayed. I felt silly and unworthy of God’s Blessing, even if there was a God, he would never consider blessing a dope fiend. But I didn’t stop, I read the Bible in secrecy. I was ashamed and afraid someone would see me, but I prayed about that too. Just when I was about to give up, the prayers began to make sense. My depression began to wear off, and I began to laugh and cry.
The past no longer bothered me, I began to make plans, strange plans not the kind of plans I was used to making. I looked forward to finding a church where I could gain insight, learn and grow. God has taken over and I was willing to go wherever he sent me.
Over the years I been following Gods orders not my own; were he has used me as an Elder, Deacon, and Treasurer in the church. He gave my wife and children back to me. But the greatest blessing of all is that he used me to help other Addicts. He has led me to develop; Addicts Rehabilitation Center, which aides people in withdrawing from drugs, securing jobs and remaining drug free.
My life is no longer empty it is filled with the love of God and the desire to give that love to someone else. I now have the same peace, love and laughter that my grandparents had.
My Grandfather really was a wise old man: God can solve all problems.