As a teenager, I began to use heavy drinking, sex, and gambling as ways to fit in with my peers. I managed to keep these things somewhat under control during my school years, and eventually graduated college with an engineering degree. I moved to a new city alone and with no one to hold me accountable for my actions, I used my newly found finances to frequent the bars, clubs, and casinos.
The years after graduation were a death spiral of bad decisions through which I became destructively addicted to alcohol, sex, and gambling. I became an expert manipulator and despite my addictions, most people would tell you I was a pretty good guy who kept it all together. In reality, I was completely isolated and found myself at the depths of hell, feeling an extreme amount of self-hatred and guilt for all of my horrible decisions.
Lost It All
I hit bottom while visiting my parents when they witnessed my complete drunkenness and immorality firsthand. No longer able to hide the fact that I had become disgusting and completely selfish, I became buried under a deep depression and for the first time, my work performance suffered. All aspects of my life had unraveled, and in a last ditch effort, I rounded up every last dollar I could find and went to the casino in complete desperation. By God’s grace, I lost it all.
End It All
The next morning, I waited until my girlfriend left for work and then took my grandfather’s antique pistol and locked myself in the bathroom. I sat in the tub in the dark and closed the shower curtain. I put the barrel in my mouth, tasting the cold steel, and cocked the hammer back. I put my finger on the trigger and before I pulled it, I decided to pray for the first time in a very long time. It was the first unselfish prayer I had said in many years. I apologized to God for what I’d become and what I was about to do. I asked him to take care of my family, friends, and girlfriend during the time after my death. Then I closed my eyes and just before I squeezed off a round, my apartment door opened and my girlfriend came in yelling for me. Just seconds after finally talking to God, He came to my rescue. She would later tell me that just after getting to work she had a horrible feeling and decided to come back and check on me.
I’d like to say that after this clear intervention from God, I was immediately a changed man, but unfortunately, that was not the case. For years, I simply tried to manage and control my addictions, which only resulted in repeated failures and bouts of depression.
Surrender It All
Through all of this utter rebellion, God, in his incredible grace, eventually provided me a great new job opportunity in Dallas. A friend there invited me to a church. There God reminded me that we are all sinners, but that Jesus accepted the death penalty for our sins by laying down His life on the cross, and then defeated sin when He was raised from the dead. I learned that if we believe this, He freely offers us forgiveness and eternal life, and that there is nothing we can do to make Him love us any more or any less.
He finally brought me to admit that I was powerless over my addictions, and I fully surrendered them to Christ. By the power of the Holy Spirit, the addictions that I’d been a slave to for over a decade began to fall away with amazing speed. I now live a life of full devotion to Christ in which I have sexual purity and no longer drink or gamble. While I am still faced with the same temptations, God has provided me a way out and I have come to find peace knowing that He is good and is in control of my life.
I now live in joy knowing that Christ has healed and cleansed me. My entire life, I didn’t know that God was all I needed until God was all that I had. Psalm 50:15 says “and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” When I should have tasted a bullet, God allowed me to taste His incredible grace and love. He delivered me from the depths of hell and I will love and honor Him for eternity.