When we help other people we are like the great Cottonwood tree sending our seeds of love, hope, encouragement, courage and faith to a hostile world ruled by fear, hate and death. As I look out the window right now, it looks like it is snowing with Cottonwood tree seeds floating in the air. They look like miniature parachutes falling from the sky.
You may have heard this sentence from the Bible: “……the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. …Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. … John 4:1-6
Jesus lives in us, and the Holy Spirit lives in us. When you really think about this, it is mind expanding. It has been difficult for me to hold this fact in my mind at all times. When I did remember that Jesus lives inside of me, I would behave more humbly, more kindly, more honestly in my relationships and interactions with other human beings. I did not want my sin and bad behavior being so closely observed by God. God lives inside of us and we belong to Him forever. If we confess our sins to him, He will forgive us and He will help us to mature spiritually.
The “one who lives in the world” is the devil and he is the ruler of this world, for now. Someday, he will be chained and cast into hell for a period of one thousand years. Right now, he is on a rampage devouring as many souls as he can. The devil is the instigator and the cheerleader for death and destruction everywhere on Earth. People ask, “Why is there so much suffering in the world and injustice and tragedy and horror and fear and uncontrolled hate?” Why does it feel like love is dying in the hearts of human beings?
The reason is that the devil is on a mission to destroy every soul that he can, in every country of the world. There is a second reason for the decay of planet Earth and its inhabitants. All of us have sin in our lives, but most of us have not repented and turned away from our sin. Sin is a festering cancer that only gets worse over time and it is designed to kill us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. The devil is the father of all lies and there is nothing but hatred, violence, vengeance, contempt and murderous deceit in his filthy heart. He waits with infinite patience on the sidelines of our lives for the opportunity to infect us with his hatred. The devil creates chaos, fear and hatred in our hearts with the aim of destroying us and everyone that we love.
How do I know this? Because the devil paid a visit to me when I was a sophomore in high school and planted the seeds of addiction in my life, and then sat back with glee in his eyes for the next 28 years, as my drug addiction tore my life apart. All it takes is an opening, and he is able to penetrate our souls. What kind of openings?
Addiction provides the devil with openings or gateways to our soul. There are probably dozens if not hundreds of different types of addiction: Chemical addiction, gambling, food, sex, money, power, work, exercise, relationships, etc. It is estimated that one in ten people are addicted, making addiction one of the most serious and threatening of all health problems worldwide.
Each of these addictions opens up a window in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls for the devil to climb into. Addiction is for life, it never goes away, but it can be arrested and put into a dormant state. To keep it dormant takes daily vigilance and devotion to build our spiritual strength and maturity. Addicts are constitutionally selfish and self-centered, and so working with others and doing service work, keeps us keep on track and protects us from temptation. A grateful heart stays sober.
Here is a very powerful letter that I wrote to the disease of addiction:
Letter to the Demon of Chemical Dependency
I met you in the summer of my 16th year. Life was brand new, fun and exciting. However, inside there was an aching loneliness, a smoldering fear at the bottom of a spiritual void. I was fertile soil for you to plant your deadly seed.
You have many angels of death and destruction like cards in your hand, and you dealt me marijuana to warm me up for your game. You were so clever to start with pot, knowing that my mom’s alcoholism had made me fearful of alcohol. I fell in love with pot, and alcohol soon followed. These two drugs made me feel normal. They made me feel calm, energized and powerful. I fell for your bait — hook, line and sinker. By high school graduation, you were my lover and my savior. I even stopped praying to God. You smiled in quiet satisfaction at my progress towards destruction.
You taught me early on how to live a double life, as I excelled in academics and sports while staying emotionally immature and isolated from my family and non-using friends. You wanted me all to yourself, like a jealous lover. I ran to you for emotional comfort and release from stress, as I became a stranger to myself.
You told me I could have my cake and eat it, too. I could have the companionship of your three soldiers: Alcohol, pot and cocaine, and still be materially successful. I did not know the horrific price I would have to pay.
Lying to me was just one of your tools to accomplish your ultimate goal — my death. You seduced me with sweet smelling pot, exhilarating cocaine, and comforting alcohol. In the early years of my 28-year relationship with your chemicals, I had fun, wonderment, exhilaration and friendship with your other wayward travelers. Eventually, happiness turned to hell as I was stripped of my dignity, my self-respect, my connection to God and my family, and I became alienated from my very self. You raped me of all my morals and values, and reduced me to a pile of dirty rags — a beggar and homeless drunk. You cut me deep inside and stole my soul, leaving only an empty shell of a person riddled with pain, fear, desperation, hopelessness, anger, rage, and a crushed spirit. I became numb.
You were like a ravenous bloodthirsty parasite sucking the life out of me, enjoying my slow torture. Twenty-eight years of living hell was the price I paid to dance with you.
Even after suffering incomprehensible demoralization, I turned against myself and joined your chemical soldiers in the battle to win my destruction. You killed my friend Mike in high school, and a month ago, my friend Jessie.
- I lost my marriage.
- I lost my career.
- I became homeless.
- I had five near-death experiences.
- I lost my dreams.
- I lost all the important relationships with family and friends.
- I lost my dog.
- I lost my drive and ambition.
- I lost my self-confidence and my self-respect.
- I lost my connection to God.
- I violated my values and became a thief and a predator.
- I was arrested 15 times, spent ten months in jail, and was in 13 treatment centers.
- I lost the love inside my soul, and was filled with anger, rage, fear, desperation, terror and hopelessness.
- I lost my faith and my trust in people and in myself.
I could add many things to this list, but you get the idea — you killed me in every possible way except by taking my physical life, and you came close to that five times. This is what I call one hell of a blind date.
I hate you with every cell in my body. I am shocked at your diligence and persistence to obtain your goal — to kill me.
I look at you — the disease of addiction — as a highly intelligent, cunning, baffling and powerful evil being, which never rests and is always present, waiting for an opening to strike. I wish I could see your red devil eyes and your blood-dripping fangs, but you are invisible.
You are more powerful than I, but if I could, I would kill you, slowly and deliciously over 28 years I would kill you, relishing your every cry. I hate you even more because you have hurt my friends, my mother, and others that I love. You just keep getting bigger and bigger, and the world is your playground.
I never knew that I would be forced to have a relationship with you — the disease — for the rest of my life. I have stopped feeding you by no longer walking with your chemical soldiers. I have the power of God, my fellow recovering addicts, A.A. and my sponsor to keep you at bay. As long as I continue to do on a daily basis what I need to do to stay sober and to grow spiritually, you will never be able to resume your task of destroying me.
As for your chemical soldiers, I respect and fear them, but they, too, can have no power over me as long as I choose not to use them. Good-bye, pot. Good-bye, alcohol. Good-bye, cocaine. I have found a new solution and His name is Jesus Christ.
I am living proof that Jesus’ love works to heal the addict and to provide a brand new life full of hope, love and a desire to help others. By the Grace of God, I have been blessed with 18 years of sobriety, a beautiful wife, a peaceful home , a son, two grandchildren and two West Highland Terrier dogs. I am being given many opportunities to help other addicts, and I have gratitude in my heart. I survived 28 years of addiction, 13 treatment centers, manic depression and a year of homelessness living on the streets of Denver, Colorado. I am Jesus’s miracle. If I can get sober, anyone can get sober! Please check out my book, “Saved By the Prince Of Peace–Dungeon To Sky,” The website is: dungeontosky.com
Peace, Love and Blessings to you.