Stephen's Story - How God Restored a Man and a Marriage #raisetheroofstories
A few weeks back I posted on Facebook about a man that came up to meet after church to tell me his testimony of God's healing and restoration in his life. I felt so impressed that as Revelation 12:11 says, "They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."
So it is my heart to begin sharing testimonies of what God is doing to heal us spiritually, emotionally, and relationally —because this is what this blog is all about. I hope you will take a minute to read, to be encouraged, and to share this in your circles.
You see, darkness only prevails in silence. As we share the testimony of what God is doing, His light shines through, His love heals —to the uttermost. So let each of us stand with Stephen today and cheer him on his journey, but let's shout for joy to make God's name famous!
My life as an addict began at age 15 when I first tried alcohol. I knew immediately that I loved the way it made me feel and wanted to feel that way as often as I could. Though raised in a stable Christian family by parents who loved me and gave me clear boundaries, my circle of friends began using alcohol and marijuana and I happily joined in. I kept out of trouble and maintained my grades so my parents would not suspect anything. By age 19 I knew I was an addict, but I told myself that as long as I didn't use hard drugs I would be alright.
I lived this way until I was 32, when I moved to Nashville from Houston, TX, and subsequently met my wife, Haley. There were always months her and there of complete sobriety, but somehow I always went back. Because my wife never drank or used drugs, I knew I could not carry that secret into our marriage. Prior to our wedding I told her about my past and promised it would not be an issue. From 1999 until 2006 I was fairly sober, not using marijuana at all and only drinking occasionally.
In the summer of 2006 I injured my neck and decided against surgery, but started seeing a doctor at a pain clinic. By 2009 I was fully addicted to pain medication, and would drink heavily when the pills ran out. From 2013 to 2015 I was taking all the monthly allotment of pills in two weeks, and drinking from morning until night for the last two weeks until I could refill my prescription. Haley wanted to leave me, but I was able to convince her that I would get sober. Those last two years were horrible. I often prayed for God to let me die so Haley could find a better husband and father for our daughter. I also prayed for God to do whatever it would take to get me sober permanently, even if it meant going to jail.
My mother died unexpectedly in November of 2015, and I didn’t handle it well. I began drinking again excessively. I was arrested for DUI and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, and class B felony. This was rock bottom for me, and the beginning of my awakening to a sober life. For two weeks after my arrest I continued to drink, often consuming over a fifth of Vodka in a day. I knew I was unable to stop, and that it completely controlled me.
One day I confessed to God that I loved alcohol more than Him or my family, and admitted that I didn't know how to change. Haley was emotionally done and gave me an ultimatum on Saturday, December 5th, 2015. The next day, during church at Grace Chapel, I watched my wife cry all the way through the Christmas music, which she loves dearly. I told God then that I didn't know how to let go and let God, but I would do anything He wanted me to do.
God gave me a visual of me standing up, with my hands together like a bowl, and giving Him my addiction. I did what He said to do, saying out loud, "God, I give you my addiction," and I physically felt an enormous weight lift off of me. I had received a miracle, and after 30 years of fighting the urge to drink or get high, the desire was completely gone.
I began attending Celebrate Recovery meetings and counseling sessions with Haley. Lisa Murray was able to lead me to the source of my addiction, which was an incident in childhood involving a very close call with molestation. Once I dealt with that source of shame, I began to heal both emotionally and spiritually. I understood that I had to completely change my identity, from an addict to forgiven child of God. I had to replace my shame with compassion. Trade my chains for freedom. I worked the Celebrate Recovery program through the 12 steps, and received my 3-year sobriety chip in December of 2018.
It took a long time for my wife to trust or believe that my sobriety could be permanent. She had taken over the roles that I had abdicated, pretty much running the household in my emotional absence. I give Haley all the credit for staying with me during a very dark time, and I fully realize that most women would have left.
Through this journey we have learned how to communicate properly, how to forgive each other, and have set about establishing lasting trust in our marriage. The first two years were very rough, but we have determined to have a God-centered marriage and continue to work through the remnants of bitterness and disappointment. He is healing.
Let’s raise the roof to celebrate with Stephen! Let’s send the enemy notice – God is moving, working all around us. The darkness will not win. We will proclaim His kindness, shout His faithfulness all our days.
We will make His name famous! Are you in?
If you have a testimony to share, I’d love to hear it.
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About This Community
Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891