During the 28 years that I was addicted to the chemicals, marijuana, alcohol and crack cocaine, I could not see into the future to experience the Grace that God had planned for me once I got sober. Jesus has been calling me all of my life, but it was not until I surrendered, that our relationship started.
Jesus has given me the precious gift of 18 years sober and my life has never been the same since I surrendered my life to Jesus and truly reached out for help with my disease of addiction.
At the end of my journey and nightmare of addiction, I was sleeping in a utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar, because I would rather spend my money on alcohol, pot and cocaine than spend it on rent. I was destroyed mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, and I had five near-death experiences. I had pancreatitis and I had contracted Hepatitis C from sharing needles.
I had many losses and here are just a few:
- 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.
Today, I understand that Jesus allowed me to experience the pain and horror of addiction, so that one day, I could share my love, experience, hope and faith with other suffering addicts. I have been called to make a difference in people’s lives. I am a public speaker to high schools and treatment centers and I am working to expand my reach.
I have published a book about my addiction and recovery called, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky.”
My website is: dungeontosky.com
In my experience, addiction is the most urgent and serious threat to the health of our nation and we must fight it.
Now I understand what Jesus was talking about when He said,
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him, to enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they are called”. (Romans 8:28)
If there was just one spiritual song that perfectly describes my life, it is “Amazing Grace”:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.
If I can get sober by the power of Jesus Christ, then anyone can get sober!
Peace and blessings to you.
About The Author
As I looked at the picture above of the Seven Deadly Sins, I was shocked that I have five out of the seven deadly sins and on some days, all seven!
I still have sin in my life and it can sometimes hold me back from enjoying and being productive in my new life that Jesus gave to me 18years ago. My sin ebbs and flows. Sometimes, it is furious and at times it can become all-consuming, and then it goes out like a flickering flame, with the promise of an even stronger return. My mistake is that I often fail to ask Jesus for help with temptation or other life problems.
There is a battle raging inside every one of us between good and evil, between God and the Devil and the stakes are eternal. The devil knows all of my weaknesses like cards he plays in his destructive game of high stakes poker. He has the deadly sins of Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride to use as tools to bring us to eternal destruction.
Once I think I have one type of sin under control, the devil then reaches into his evil tool bag and comes at me even harder with some other temptation and then he repeats this until I lose all confidence in myself and sometimes I give up trying to live as Jesus wants me to live. Our error is that we allow our pride to prevent us from simply asking Jesus for help.
PLEASE ASK JESUS FOR HELP EVERY DAY!
Eighteen years ago, I was destroyed mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was living on the edge of giving up. I was sleeping in an alley in Denver, Colorado and I had hate and rage in my heart as I began to feel death knocking on my door. I was carrying the burden of addiction, mental illness and painful loneliness that I could feel deep down in my bones. I was committing suicide slowly by killing myself with chemicals. Once a person gives up hope, death follows. I looked over the edge of that cliff and it scared me so much that I surrendered my life to Jesus and He gave me a new life.
By the grace of God, I have been sober for 18 years because Jesus forgave all of my sins and he lifted me back up to a new life where I can now help others who struggle with addiction, homelessness and mental illness. I am a recovering addict and I also have manic depression. The combination of these two conditions usually results in hopelessness and often death. I was at the point where I did not think I was going to live and I almost gave up all faith and hope. Surrender was the key to bringing me to Jesus. Jesus saved me from a wasted life and a painful death. All I did was turn to Jesus in desperation and fear and I said the most powerful prayer that I have ever said which was, “Jesus Please Help Me!”
In two days, I was sitting in a group of addicts who were in treatment at Hazelden Foundation in Center City, Minnesota. That was in 1998, and it marked the start of my new life. I completed nine months of treatment. I desperately needed that time to heal and to come back to life. It was a slow and painful road back to health. I remain very grateful that Jesus held my hand over the rough spots and continued to pull me forward through all of the nightmares of my past. Jesus is still with me and He is opening my eyes to his vision for me. I believe that that vision is to touch the hearts of addicts, the mentally ill and homeless people. The only thing that really motivates me and gets me excited is helping others. I fight against the distractions in life which constantly try to pull me away from this mission. Again, we all are involved in a battle between good and evil, God and the devil. We can only win this battle by going directly to Jesus and asking for His help! Many of us ignore the battle or don’t recognize it or we try to win the battle on our own. In Jesus is victory!
If I can get sober and overcome mental illness then so can you! Jesus made all of this possible. I know that he loves me and He forgives my sin each day as long as I confess the sin and then ask for His forgiveness. Each of us are sons and daughters of Jesus and He wants us to be His and not the devil’s.
Jesus is Love. He is kind and forgiving and He asks us to follow him. Jesus died on the cross to have victory over sin and death. Our debts, our sins were nailed to that cross. When we ask Jesus to come into our hearts, our sins are gone forever!
THE BATTLE HAS ALREADY BEEN WON! Jesus bridged the gap between our sin and God. When Jesus died, He said, “It is finished”. What He mean’t was that He had taken on the sins of the world and death itself, and He defeated both of them, so that we could have forgiveness and eternal life with Him in Heaven. Jesus gave His life to pay the price for our sin, and because He loves us, He has given us forgiveness and eternal life. Very important: We have to take action and ask Jesus to come into our heart so we can begin our new life. Do it now!
At the moment that Jesus died on the cross, there was a dark, powerful and violent storm. There was a 30 foot curtain in the Temple that was there to separate the people from the Holy of Holies (God). When Jesus died, that curtain was torn from the top of the curtain all the way to the ground. The meaning is that Jesus Christ is our bridge to God. We can now talk or pray directly to Jesus and we do not have to go through a priest or any other person. We now have direct access to Jesus, the Son of God and the Creator of the universe!
Jesus continues to pursue us every day even while we are still sinners. I am starting to listen for messages from God like animals and birds in nature to the kindness in the eyes of people I meet each day. I see God in the smiles and faces of children. I receive messages at my church and from my Christian radio station. I am learning about the joy of giving as I do public speaking and writing about addiction and recovery. I am beginning to listen for opportunities to help other people and to make an eternal difference in their lives. Sometimes, it is just simple encouragement and hope and some love that can set people on their way to Jesus. I can say that my 28 years of addiction do in fact have real and valuable purpose, as God is using me to help others. It all started with Jesus on the cross and His great love for all of us!
No matter what you are going through, whether it be a small problem or a life threatening situation, Jesus is waiting for your call and He will respond with His love for you.
Here are some powerful Bible verses and thoughts to consider:
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 6:23English Standard Version (ESV)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Galatians 5:19-21 English Standard Version (ESV)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
John 1:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
” If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
John 3:16 English Standard Version (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
John 14:6 English Standard Version (ESV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Luke 11:9 English Standard Version (ESV)
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
Jeremiah 29:11 English Standard Version (ESV)
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Luke 1:37 English Standard Version (ESV)
“For nothing will be impossible with God.”
JESUS IS OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY, HE LOVES US AND HE WANTS A RELATIONSHIP WITH US.
CALL ON JESUS NOW!
Peace, Love and Blessings to you!
About The Author
“All people, whether Jews or Gentiles are under the power of sin.” Romans 3:9
When I was homeless living outside on the streets of Denver, Colorado I had lost everything and I was running scared. My 28 year journey of addiction and manic depression had brought me to the edge of life and death. I had become spiritually devastated and broken. I felt like there was a big concrete barrier between me and God, and I did not know how to break through it. Emotionally, I was full of anger and rage and uncontrolled fear that was killing my spirit and my will to live. I was consumed by a loneliness that I could feel in my bones, like a constant burning ache in my soul. I was all alone.
In the end, I was sleeping inside of an electrical utility closet in an alley behind my favorite bar. People were dying all around me, and I could feel death breathing down the back of my neck. I knew in my soul that I was going to die very soon, if I did not make a change. In utter desperation and trembling with fear, I said a very simple but powerful prayer: I said. “Jesus please help me.” With the help of Jesus and my family, I was able to get to Hazelden Foundation in Minnesota for long term treatment. I am alive today because Jesus loved me that day and he continues to love me now.
Sin separates all of us from God. This was the “concrete barrier” that I was talking about. Jesus gives us forgiveness of our sins and eternal life. Jesus took our punishment so that we could have eternal life.
The Bible explains it this way: “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.” Romans 3:21-22 (NIT)
“For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those sinners in times past, for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time.” Romans 3:25-26 (NIT)
Some people try to complicate or mystify what Christianity really is. All of us have sinned and Jesus is answer. Jesus paid the price of our sin by sacrificing His life, so that we can live. Jesus sacrificed His life so that we can have forgiveness of our sins, and He was raised by the Father so that we can receive the free gift of eternal life. All we have to do is ask Jesus into our hearts and pray a prayer like the one below.
There has never been a better deal, a more important deal or a more powerful deal than this. We are exchanging our sin for eternal life!
Jesus is the greatest love and the greatest power in the Universe. He created Heaven and Earth and every person, animal, plant, river and lake and star that exists. For Him to come down to Earth and take on the form of a human being and then permit His own torture and death on the cross for our sake and for our redemption, is a love that is not easily understood.
Jesus conquered death so that with our faith in Him, we would not die and we will have eternal life: “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God.” Romans 4:25 (NIT)
God’s love is so much deeper and so much more powerful than any human love. Why did Jesus do it? Jesus died in our place to make sure that anyone who invites Him into their heart and has faith that He died for our sins, and that the Father raised Him from the dead, would live and not perish. We are born eternal beings. It is just a matter of where we choose to spend our eternity, in Heaven with Jesus or in hell with the devil forever.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
Here is a prayer that will change your eternity:
Lord Jesus, I am a sinner.
I believe that you died upon the cross for
me and that you shed your precious blood for
the forgiveness of my sin.
I believe that on the third day, you rose from the dead, and went to Heaven to prepare a place for me.
Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and set me free from my sin.
Because you are my Savior Jesus, “I shall not die, but have eternal life”.
I accept you now Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Thank you Jesus!
About The Author
The other day I woke up feeling great. I had peace in my heart and faith in my spirit, the weather held out a beautiful sunny day with mild temperatures. I thought I would go out for a fun drive, listen to my music and be free.
I parked my car and began to open my car door and then I was hit by another car. I experienced shock, fear and anger seasoned with confusion and a real feeling of vulnerability. I could have been killed. Life can be this way.
We start our day feeling great and then life slams into us, reminding us how fragile and vulnerable we really are. A few seconds can make the difference between life and death. Our lives can change without notice and without warning at any time in any moment.
Every day and every second of our lives are held in the balance. We live our lives perhaps thinking that we are in control of our destiny. We have full confidence that we will drive home to our family and enjoy a relaxing and fun evening. The truth is that none of us know if we will live or die before getting home. We live in a bubble of self-confidence like a little boy whistling in the dark to calm his hidden fears. At any moment our world can be torn apart.
Here are some helpful truths and wisdom:
— “What defines us is how well we rise after falling”.
— “Don’t judge me by my past”.
— “It always seems impossible until it’s done”.
— “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass away.
— “If it is important to you, you will find away. If not you’ll find an excuse.”
By the Grace of God, I have been given 18 years of grateful sobriety and a second chance to become who God wants me to be. Eighteen years ago, I was homeless on the streets of Denver, Colorado, endured 13 chemical dependency treatment centers, suffered from manic depression and I was crushed spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.
I said a single desperate prayer and then my life was saved.
I prayed, “Jesus please help me”. Two days later with the help of family and friends, I arrived at Hazelden in Minnesota for chemical dependency treatment.
I agreed to nine months of treatment and I had finally surrendered. I never left Minnesota and Jesus has worked miracles in my life, giving me my beautiful wife Rochelle, a great home and two West Highland Terrier dogs. We are now proud grandparents and life is good. I am no longer living a crushed life. I had escaped death many times: two near-death car accidents, a motorcycle accident and three grand-mal seizures from cocaine overdoses, and several experiences of being attacked on the street. I may have had several brushes with death while in the many blackouts that come with heavy drinking.
Today, I have hope and love and peace in my heart and I am helping other addicts. Jesus has helped me to “rise up again, so I can help others”. Anyone looking at my nightmare past might judge me harshly, but Jesus has rebuilt my life, and I am back to my true self. When I was first admitted to Hazelden in 1998, I thought my life was over and I felt overwhelmed by the monumental task of starting my life over again. I was able to put one day of sobriety on top of another, until I was able to regain my sanity, my dignity, my heart, my emotions and my spirit. What seemed impossible has been accomplished. So “never give up on a dream, just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass away.”
About The Author
JESUS HAS BEEN GUIDING ME, CALLING ME, ALL OF MY LIFE, NOW I AM FINALLY LISTENING!
The 28 years of my life as an active self-destructive addict were very much
like being in the center of a demonic storm at sea. I felt like a cork lost at sea with
no land in sight. The waves were 30 feet high and came crashing down upon me,
as sea salt blinded my eyes. I was slowly losing all of my strength, and I felt the sea
pulling me down beneath the black waves.
I have never felt such relentless terror and bone aching loneliness, as I did
during these lost 28 years. My adrenal glands had been operating in an
environment of extreme emergency for so long, that my body no longer
was able to keep up with the demand for adrenaline. I had developed
pancreatitis from excessive alcohol use and I contracted Hepatitis C
from sharing needles to shoot cocaine.
The feeling of death moving towards me with inevitability, and seeing its urgent
thirst for my life, was overwhelming. My street friends were dying all around me.
At the end of my journey, I felt death breathing down the back of my neck, and I felt
a cold chill down my spine. I was living with an overwhelming terror that my life was
Although I had serious physical damage to my body like pancreatitis and
the hepatitis C virus, the most important illness was my dying spirit and the
loss of hope to carry on. I felt dead inside and I felt empty like a vacuum in
the lab of some mad scientist’s random experiment. Imagine someone
removing your spirit, and then dumping into you, rage, anger, hate,
overwhelming fear and wild terror and then sprinkling it all with a loneliness
that makes your bones ache with a festering infection. It is God’s miracle
that I ever survived those long lonely years of terror and pain!
No doubt, I created much of my world of pain, fear and loneliness by my
own addictive lifestyle and my very poor choices. However, there does
come a time when the disease of addiction is highly advanced, when
the addict loses all control of his or her life, and becomes a total slave
and robot to the disease of addiction.
The final phase of an addict’s self-destruction and journey towards death is
the loss of Hope. At the end of my addictive journey, I lived outside,
homeless on the streets of Denver, Colorado for one year. The streets were
dangerous and homeless people were being targeted by the Skin Head gang
for murder, to satisfy an entrance requirement to join their gang.
I was attacked by a lunatic with two butcher knives in the middle of the
night, as I slept alongside my Husky dog, Princess, down by the Platt river.
My dog Princess began growling menacingly, with her teeth barred as she
stared into the woods. Every muscle in her body was tense and ready for
I stood up and looked into the woods and saw a man with a white skull mask
moving rapidly towards us, and he was holding two long butcher knives in his wait band.
When he got to within 30 feet he stopped and announced, “I am a Skin Head
and I am going to kill you right now”. As soon as he took one step closer to us,
Princess exploded and lunged at his knees and bit him multiple times.
As Princess was rushing in to attack him again, the man raised his two knives
up high, ready to stab Princess on both sides of her ribs, but she was too quick
and she danced to the side and the attacker missed her. I knew that I was not going to win a fight
with a lunatic with two butcher knives, so I decided to run.
This distraction allowed me enough time to run up the river bank, and then I called to
Princess and she ran up the hill to join me. We ran together for three miles down the
side of the river until we felt safe. We did not sleep that night.
At the end of my nightmare journey, I found a safe place to sleep at night.
I found an electrical closet in an alley behind my favorite bar. I could open
the small closet with a plastic comb and once inside, I could lock the door
by pushing the push button on the inside door knob. This was safe and prime real
estate when you are living outside on the streets in all seasons.
Here is the miracle. In the last days of this living hell, I had become
overwhelmed with fear, terror, confusion, hatred, anger and rage and I was
so lonely, it felt like a crushing weight was on top of my heart.
In complete fear and desperation, I cried out a very simple and powerful
prayer: “Jesus Please Help Me.” Three days later, I was sitting in a group
of addicts at Hazelden Foundation, one of the best chemical dependency
treatment centers in the nation. That was in 1998 and today, by the Grace
of God, I have 18 years sober and I am free of all chemicals.
JESUS HAS BEEN GUIDING ME, CALLING ME, ALL OF MY LIFE,
NOW I AM FINALLY LISTENING! Jesus has been the light house in my life calling me
back to his love and safety out of a raging sea.
I have learned that if I want Jesus to help me, I must first ask Him for His
help and then have faith that He will help me. Jesus saved my life, and now He is
motivating me to help other addicts. In the 18 years of sobriety
and freedom that Jesus has given me, Jesus has blessed me with a beautiful
wife and two West Highland Terrier puppies. We own a great home in a safe
and quiet neighborhood, and we are at peace. My wife Rochelle and I have been
married for 14 years, and I am so very grateful for all of God’s blessings in
our life together.
My passion now is to help other addicts to achieve sobriety and to be free.
Check out my published book, “Saved By The Prince Of Peace—Dungeon To Sky.”
The website for the book is: http://www.dungeontosky.com
On the website, I have written over 40 blogs on important issues on addiction and recovery.
I also have a dedicated Facebook page for the book, which is: https://www.facebook.com/dungeontosky.com
Jesus is the Lighthouse in the storm of our lives. Call on His name and be free!