By Joshua Wise
As a young boy, I was very blessed. I grew up in church and was expected to be there every time the doors were open. My mother was the youth leader at Cane Creek Baptist Church and not only taught the word of God to us, but lived it too. As a child, my mother grew up in a home where alcoholism was an issue, so it was never tolerated or accepted in our home.
As time passed, and I was given more freedom, I began to fall into the hand of peer pressure. As young teenagers, we were allowed to start camping on the weekends. With this new found freedom came bad decisions. It started with stealing alcohol from family members and later led to drug abuse. Teenagers often feel that it’s cool to drink beer, liquor, etc….but I can honestly say it was the beginning of destruction. Destruction that lead to over a ten year addiction for me. As the camping trips became more frequent so did my habit. What used to take a few beers to make me feel good, now was taking much, much more….and sad to say it just didn’t give me the high that it once did. Up until this point in my life, I had had a good group of friends. The kind of friends that would last a lifetime. But, one night I choose to go in a much worse direction.
A distant family member asked me to help him track down a deer that he had shot. Instead of keeping my plans with my high school buddies, I went with him. That night I stared the face of Satan straight on. I was introduced to meth. He told me that meth would make everything better, that life couldn’t get any better…and sure enough I felt like Superman (I was on top of the world). But that only lasted a short time. Each time I used, the effect just wasn’t the same. Before I even realized it, I was hooked, I couldn’t live without it…and a lot of it. Throughout the next ten years, I lived each day for the next high. I used whatever I could get my hands on (pain pills, marijuana, cocaine, etc.), chasing a high that I would never reach again. I found myself falling, losing control of the things that use to matter to me. I stared a mother and father, a sister and brother in the face that loved me so very much and could see the disappointment and hurt that I was causing. But no matter how much I knew I was hurting them, I just could not overcome the drive for that next high.
Later, I was blessed with two special little girls. Sad to say, I loved them…but my desire to stay high seemed to be more important. I let over 5 years pass by, missing out on some of the most important days of my life. Addiction overshadowed how so very precious the birth, first steps, and first words of my children were. My sin and addiction lead to the downfall of my marriage– divorce. With all these memories taking place in my life I was losing control…..I was in such a depressed state that I was ready to take my life. One night, I came to my mom’s with all intentions of saying goodbye. I was higher than I had ever been, I left her house and went next door to mine. I found myself outside, left with no hope…Screaming if there is a GOD out there HELP ME!!!! My mom came as quick as she could, knowing that she would find her baby boy dead. She was at the point that all hope was gone; she had prayed and prayed— was God ever going to intervene. The next day God moved and when He moves things start happening! As hard as it was, my brother and brother-in-law had me involuntarily committed (thank God for their obedience).
After running from the law, wandering through the woods, it came to an end the night of August 10, 2015. I was handcuffed and taken to Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Asheville. For the first time in 10 years, I felt free. Through many prayers, tears, and heartaches my family’s prayers were being answered. A few weeks prior, my sister and brother-in-law had invited me to Bear Creek Baptist Church to listen to Chris Allen give his testimony. Of course, I declined their invitation, but they had continued to keep in contact with Chris Allen. Chris Allen had prayed with my family, and asked that God work in haste. He had continued to keep in contact with my sister and brother-in-law, offering help when I was ready. The time had come that I was ready, and I knew that the help I needed would only come through God the Father.
While spending 5 days in the hospital, God had dealt with me and I was ready for a new life, I was ready for Christian rehab. My brother-in-law contacted Chris Allen for direction on what facilities were out there. He told my brother-in-law, Southeastern Carolina Crossroads, was his choice. He told us that Bruce Cannon has helped establish this facility and he knew that God’s hand was upon it. Was he ever right!!! From the moment my feet touched the ground of this facility…God was moving. I felt his presence like never before. God helped me and he used me. I experienced a change in myself and was able to be a part of seeing men being renewed, set free, and finding salvation for the first time.
Upon reflecting back at the months leading to rehab, God was orchestrating His plan for my life. He aligned the right people, obedient people, and the right resources before us. God makes no mistakes!!! I am a living example. It’s amazing that God would allow someone like me who was so deep in sin, as far down in the valley as someone could possibly be, to the top of the mountain…overflowing with the abundance of His mercy, His grace, His love. He has delivered me and I am forever grateful. Why did God deliver me? Because He has a plan for my life… a calling. I know that part of my plan is to tell my story.
Psalms 40: “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry, clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God; many shall trust in the Lord.” He has established my goings, I am a new creature, a new man, a dad to my girls. Oh what a blessing, Oh what a Savior! He has restored my life, opened doors, and continues to replenish the important things in life. He continues to add new friends (Christian friends), advocates that uplift me and acknowledge that “all things are possible with God”. And I now know that, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
Addiction is one of Satan’s most powerful tools, but I serve a God that is much stronger. Don’t allow doubt, fear, and the world’s statistics cloud your thoughts. My family prayed and didn’t give up on God…He intervened and I am a living example of his merciful grace. I want everyone reading this article to remember that “There is a difference between living and being alive”. We wake up each day breathing and capable of performing life’s everyday responsibilities or we can wake up thankful and filled with the Holy Spirit, recognizing that he is King and able to meet our every need. As I end, I want to give special thanks to Southeastern Carolina Crossroads (910-549-8487), Pastor David Chestnut, Pastor Bruce Cannon, Chris Allen, a praying family, and above all my savior, Jesus Christ.