Freed From Addiction
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.
– 1 Corinthians 10:13
My friend and brother in Christ, Joe Maple, was on his way to becoming a statistic of the opioid epidemic that is plaguing our country. However, God had a different plan for Joe!
Joe and I became connected through a ministry called Celebrate Recovery. As we got to know each other, and each other's story, we quickly connected over our desire to be what God wants us to be and to help others find the freedom Christ offers.
I'm excited to have Joe as the first one I've made a ring for in the Made for Glory project, and to help him share his testimony!
Here is Joe's story.
I was raised in a Christian home and we never missed service. My father was a minister and I was saved and baptized when I was fourteen. From then on, I thought I had it all figured out.
By the time I went to college, I decided it was time God and I took a break. I wanted to have fun and felt that the Lord couldn’t provide that for me. I had always pictured Satan as this large, evil being I could see coming a mile away. However, I had compromised in almost every area of my Christian walk and that is all the devil needs to destroy your life.
Over time I would get married, have kids, and have a successful career. I’d go to church on Sunday and claim to be a Christian but you would never have noticed outside the church walls. I started taking prescription pain medication as it was prescribed but I found difficulty stopping when the time came. Over a 10-year period, taking 4-6 pills a day would lead to 30-40 pills a day. What was meant to help me would almost end up killing me.
Nobody ever plans to become addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc, but this is exactly what Satan does. He will creep into our lives and slowly take control. Once he does, your life can be hard to take back. The pills I was taking became a top priority in my life. I committed acts that I never thought I would be capable of doing. I reached a point that I couldn’t live with them and didn’t want to live without them.
I desperately wanted to stop and tried repeatedly, only to fail each and every time. A person’s confidence gets shattered when you get defeated day after day. I was afraid to talk to anyone about it out of fear. Would my wife divorce me? Lose my job? A person addicted to drugs is perceived as weak and morally bankrupt. For these reasons, I kept quiet and continued down the path until my world came crashing down.
I went to a treatment facility in Minnesota in 2016 to get help. Throughout my addiction, I would call out to God to help me but my life continued to get worse. I cursed God because I thought he had forgotten about me. I was now broken, alone, and right where God wanted me. A few days into treatment I was by myself in my room praying to God, asking Him to change my heart. I hated myself, what I had become, along with all the things I had done and people I hurt. I knew if I was going to change, I needed Christ to transform my life.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
This was the verse I held close to my heart when I was at my lowest point. In my mind, I had to believe that God was going to see me through my struggle. I won’t lie, it was tough and I had my doubts.
Making changes has not come easy but things that matter most in my life continue to be restored each day. His grace is amazing and each day is a blessing to me. It is nothing short of a miracle that I am still here today. When I look back on my life, the times I blamed God for abandoning me, I know understand that he never left my side. It was me that walked away.
There is no way I would be where I am without help. I see stories on the news of people dying each day from opioids. The failure rate for recovery is extremely high. I was well on my way to becoming a statistic. It frightens me to think about what could have happened so I am thankful for each day. I am still nowhere near the man, husband, and father I should be but I try to be better today than I was yesterday.
God is faithful to me as he has removed all the shame and guilt for the things I've done. He has blessed me with patience that I never had before. I find joy in all that I do. It would be easy to live in the past and regret all that I've done but God helps me move forward. I am so thankful that God placed a good woman in my life over 20 years ago. She remains with me today and God has blessed and strengthened our marriage.
Each day I try to live like Jesus. I fail miserably each day but I spend time reflecting on ways I can be a better person instead of being critical of others. I have enough problems of my own so I don’t judge others for what they do. God calls us to love others. This can be hard, especially with people who have wronged me, but how can I love God and curse the people against me? This just proves to me that I need Christ each and every moment because, under my own strength, this is not something I can do.
We all fall short and need redemption through Jesus Christ. I had to become completely broken to realize how I should be living my life. While some of the changes that have occurred have not been easy, change in my life needed to happen. I have been given grace and did not deserve it. Turning back to God was the last thing I tried. I resisted until I had nowhere else to go. And even then, He picked me up. Putting complete trust in God is not always easy and is the reason I ended up on the wrong path. It may be something easy to say, but when it comes to actually follow through… it’s not so easy. There are times I am in constant battle because I try to take back control of certain areas of my life. I have realized I cannot compromise and open myself up to risk.
Today, God has given me the strength and courage to share my testimony on several occasions. I would have never imagined a time that I would open up my life to the world. I have always had too much pride or too worried about what other people think of me. I have realized that what happened to me was supposed to happen. No longer am I wandering through life without a purpose. I am supposed to use the struggles I have faced as an opportunity to help others who are suffering and lost. I may get rejected by some who think I got what I deserved and that is fine. It is not about me… it is about who I can help by showing how Christ redeemed me.
Celebrate Recovery is a ministry I have become involved with as it continues to change who I am. We are about to launch this ministry at our church and I am excited to see how God uses it to help people. God has placed so many good people in my life who have helped me in my journey over the past couple of years and it is time for me to allow him to use me to do the same.
If you would like to know more about the Made for Glory project, you can find it here: Made for Glory