I grew up in a Catholic home and had developed a huge resentment towards organized religion and the idea of God. I saw people go to church, preaching about being a person of God, then leave church to go treat others who were different than they were in a hateful, condemning manner. My ideas and beliefs didn’t fit into the strict mold of the Catholic religion. I believed that there was no creator of the universe because, in my mind, everything could be explained by science.
After being beaten down from drug addiction and multiple suicide attempts, I came to a point where I had no choice but to be willing to believe in a personal God of my own understanding. This is my story of how I accepted the love of God.
A Turning Point
I had tried to overdose on heroin several times, but each time I had been around other people who made sure I got medical attention. Each time, I was revived and woke up angry. I had been using heroin intravenously for four years, and it simply wasn’t working anymore. I couldn’t get high like I had been able to in the past and my life revolved around using. My days consisted of desperately finding a way to make money, to get drugs, to get high, and then worry about how I would make more money. It was an endless, miserable cycle. I saw no way out other than death, so I found a quiet place away from others where I was positive I had enough heroin that would kill me.
When I woke up, something was different. I wasn’t angry this time. I decided to seek out help from a detox and treatment facility where I was introduced to sober women who had overcome their obsession to use drugs. They unabashedly explained to me that I had two choices. One was to continue living the way I was living until I finally succeed at suicide, or accept the love and care of a God of my own understanding.
I began to pray and meditate, to the best of my ability, because I couldn’t bear the weight of addiction and my suicidal thoughts any longer. One day, I was doing a guided meditation before bed and a realization that I was blessed beyond belief came over me.
The numerous times I had overdosed, I was always saved. Even when I was alone, I somehow woke up. Regardless of the countless dangerous situations, I had placed myself in, I was miraculously kept safe and unharmed. In this moment I came to believe that some kind of power greater than myself was responsible for the entire essence of my existence.
I had done horrible things in the past. I lied, cheated, stole, and manipulated when I was in active opiate addiction. I came to the realization that everything that I had in that very moment was nothing short of a blessing from God. I had no money, yet I was given a place to live. I hated myself, yet women were placed in my life to show me love. I was a dishonest person, yet people still wanted to listen to what I had to say. I had caused so much harm, yet I was given so much grace. Due to my actions in the past, I don’t deserve the beautiful life I have today. However, God saw fit to keep me alive and give me a purpose in life.
An Ultimate Test of Faith
My God is loving and kind. He does not condemn when I make a mistake, but rather gives me a chance to learn from my wrongs to grow as an individual. My God is always there, I do not have to seek him. The only thing I have to do is speak to Him, listen to Him, and most importantly – have faith in Him.
Believing in a higher power is knowing that there is a God, but faith is much harder. Faith is an undying, unconditional trust that God will provide exactly what I need. Faith means that no matter what situation occurs in my life, it is all a part of a grand plan that will, in the end, turn out okay. Faith is trusting that God is not only protecting me, but He is protecting my family and friends as well.
Nine months into my sobriety, my dad had a stroke. I was over 1,500 miles away from home and felt dire guilt that I wasn’t able to be there to be with him in the hospital. I was told that they may have to do open heart surgery. Fear set in. I hadn’t seen my dad since I had gotten sober and I was terrified that I may never be able to see him again if the surgery did not go well. I felt shame that there was a possibility that I may never get the opportunity for him to see how much I had changed. The only thing I could do was pray. Despite the fear and lack of control that I experienced, I was forced to trust in God that my dad would be okay.
In seeking this trusting relationship, I needed something more. This is when I began to go to a non-denominational Christian church where I have become an active participant. I was able to gain the support I had been looking for from other members of the church. They shared with me how their experience in trusting God had helped them overcome hard times. I began to change my conception of God into one where I accepted Jesus into my life.
In the end, the doctors found a medicine that worked well for him so he didn’t have to have the surgery then, but it is still a possibility in the future. If this happens, I know it will hurt, but my faith will be tested once again. Regardless of the outcomes of difficult situations, I must find peace in the trust that I have in God and Jesus Christ.Regardless of difficult situations, I must find peace in the trust that I have in God and Jesus Christ. Click To Tweet
A New Life
Today, I have an understanding of the spiritual principles underlying behavior change in people who suffer from substance abuse. Through the acceptance of a loving God in my life, I can honestly say that the obsession to drink and drug is something that I no longer suffer from. Prior to having faith in God, I was consumed with these thoughts. It is nothing short of a miracle that I am sober today and live a peaceful life.
I am blessed with a job where I work with a team of intelligent, supportive individuals to spread awareness around addiction in the hopes that we reach the heart and soul of an individual who is still struggling.
I am blessed with a grateful outlook on life where I am able to see beauty and grace in the worst of times. I get to work one on one with women who are trying to stay sober by showing them exactly how I stay sober. In doing this, I get to watch the light come back on in people’s eyes. I get to watch hopeless, distraught women who want to die grow into outstanding individuals who are happy to be alive.
I am blessed to have a God who listens and provides whenever feelings of sadness or doubt return. I am able to see past difficult situations with the trust that the outcome is in the hands of God.
For somebody who was once suicidal and painfully addicted to heroin, the ability to wake up each morning and breath in fresh air is a wonderful thing. In accepting the love of God through Jesus Christ, I am truly and irrevocably blessed.
If you’re struggling with addiction, we are here to help. Your healing is possible, and it can begin now.
Cassidy Webb is a 24-year-old avid writer from South Florida. She advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.
If you or a friend need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, for free confidential, 24/7 help. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world. For additional help, please visit the suicide prevention resource page.
Photo Credit: Priscilla Du Preez