Anthony: How My Spirituality Helped Me Recover

A man shares his story of recovering from substance use and connecting with God.

My Testimony to the Glory of God

My name is Anthony and I am a believer who struggles with pride, sexual addiction, and low self-esteem. Well to begin I have been a believer in Christ all of my life. For ever since I can remember my mother has taken me to church and has preached God’s word to me. I have to open my mouth and give God some praise for the wonderful mother that I have. I mean there were so many instances in my life where Satan was trying to kill me but as you can see he is a liar and he did not succeed hallelujah. To my best reasoning God used Satan to send trouble my way so that he could deliver me and get all of the glory, all of the honor and all of the praise.

Well to begin my earthly father whom I do not believe I have ever met hence I also do not know his name since he abandoned me. And I believe that my mother is so ashamed of that part of her life that she refuses to even talk about it to me. Therefore, I did not receive the love, care, and teaching from a man that any child needs. Which had previously caused me to feel insecure, unsure, and unworthy. As a matter of fact these instances that I can remember so clearly started when I was born with convulsions (seizures) but to the glory of God I grew out of that, then when I was approximately 2 years old my apartment building was in a severe fire where everyone could have been burned up or suffered severe burns but God delivered us from that successfully by His grace and mercy. In that same year my sister who loves me dearly was carrying a pot of boiling hot water to the bathroom after my mother had given it to her while making a pie and I bumped into her crawling on the floor and she dropped the pot of water on my neck—ouch. To continue when I was 5 years old my older sister, brother, and I were going to the corner drug store and I being so young, foolish, and energetic, ran ahead of them out into the street where an oncoming car came zooming into me, hitting me so hard that I suffered a broken right leg and left arm. Well this is the good part because the doctor told my mother that I would never walk again but as you can see I had no problem getting up to this podium tonight hallelujah. Well our God was not done with me yet so he allowed another traumatic challenge to come into my life but he has always and I say again always has brought me through every trial, tribulation, and circumstance. And this next one happened when I was 12 years old where I was playing football in a yard with no shoulder pads on and when I went to catch the ball my friend Terry is his name knocked me down and I landed my collar bone on a brick. In that same year I was carrying a boiling hot pot of water to our bathtub, which was a steel round basin (if you are from down south you know what I am talking about) and as I was carrying it the handle broke on it and yes it fell to splash me on my legs and I went to the hospital with third-degree burns. As I said my growing up even as today my relationship with Christ has always been growing and maturing. I can say God has never, ever left me nor forsaken me. My mother through the Holy Spirit has while taking me to church every Sunday since day one has also helped me to improve on my fruits of the spirit also known as character that are these. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” All of these character traits are hidden inside of each of us and it has been my objective to give glory to God through my attitude as such. Now I could go on saying how God has used me for his glory and pretend that all of my life has been just heavenly but that just would not be true. After leaving my mother’s house I proceeded to live my life as a prodigal son being strung out spending all of my money on crack cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), cannabis (marijuana), nicotine, and alcohol for five years but as I alluded to earlier this was just another speed bump better known as another challenge that entered into my life so that I could become all that God would have me to be.

My addiction advanced to a habit that I would not wish upon my worst enemy. Because I went to places (such as skid row in downtown Los Angeles) and did things (for example, slept with women who were undesirable and involved with all sorts of insidious behaviors) that I would not have even considered participating in if I would not have been addicted. However, all praise be to Jehovah Rapha for he healed me as he says in Isaiah 53:5 New Living Translation (©2007), “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”

Now today, I do not feel afraid, alone, apprehensive, ashamed, awkward, cheated, contemptuous, defeated, despondent, disappointed, discontent, discouraged, disturbed, down, dull, empty, exasperated, fearful, foolish, forlorn, hurt, indifferent, intolerant, irritated, jealous, let down, miserable, nervous, numb, pained, provoked, pushed, put out, robbed, sucked in, trapped, tricked, used, or worried.

I only include all of these feelings so that whoever may be reading this or listening to me may be able to extrapolate some of these words for their testimony and begin to formulate an indication of what God wants to reveal to others from their lives. One thing that we understand in my church (The Highlands) is that life is not about us; we are here to help someone else, which is why God has allowed us to go through the challenges that we have gone through and will continue to go through until Jesus comes. Believe it or not there is miraculous healing in expression. The Bible says in James 5:16 New International Version (©2011), “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

And since that healing/deliverance I have a new list. No I am not walking on water nor is everything perfect but I find optimism and hopefulness that my life is directly opposite to the one that I had before. Here is the way that I declare myself to feel every day: bold, supported, peaceful, content, skillful, honest, humble, encouraged, cheerful, satisfied, patient, inspired, healthy, intelligent, complete, calm, courageous, wise, comforted, cured, compassionate, fair, joyful, confident, unburdened, excellent, assured, responsive, well, delighted, pleasant, restored, trusted, faithful, protected, increased, and at ease.

And all of these things are offered to you too through Jesus. But we have to declare that good things will happen to us because Proverbs 18:21 English Standard Version says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” With all of these statements that I assert here today by God’s Word in Numbers 23:19, “I declare that God is not a human being, that He should lie, that He should change His mind.” Therefore, every promise that he has given to me and also to those reading this book or listening to me, he shall come through for you. I appreciate the trials and tribulations that I went through because they have made me proud and humbled at the same time that he would choose me to deliver because I learned and agreed to after being in continuous relapse and rebellion for a number of years to be obedient through what I have suffered.

I am also at a place that even though my situation is not exactly the way I want it to be I am secure in the vision that God has given to me, which is to build a residential/outpatient treatment facility to help recovering alcoholics and addicts through the power of Jesus Christ. He wants to help anyone and everyone suffering from the demise of addiction just like I once was. But not only that I will incorporate the eight principles of Celebrate Recovery that John Baker created.

If you have not caught on to the vision that I am writing and talking about let me explain it to you. It is to help anyone with any hurt, habit, or hang-up to be delivered through the power of Jesus Christ. So now I am stimulated and motivated that it will come to pass. However, we will go through challenges to get to our destiny. I have written a poem about challenges and I would like to share it with you here.


Challenges, challenges, challenges
They are here for me to get to you
Challenges, challenges, challenges
Especially when I don’t know what to do
Challenges, challenges, challenges
Please tell me there is a way
Challenges, challenges, challenges
I know I will make it another day
For these challenges only come in life to make me strong
If I never had any challenges
I would not know right from wrong
So you see challenges are a good thing
God helps me deal with them best
This is why I sing of what they bring
Because in the end life is only a test

So you see life is full of tests and challenges; they may be like a brick wall but in the end we all can make it through it we just have to be willing to give it our all. Yes, when I used drugs and alcohol that was the lowest point in my life but praise God I did not and I encourage each of you who are listening to me that no matter what life throws at you, no matter how hurtful life may be he can and will use it for his glory. Don’t get confused that you cannot handle the finances, unemployment, and relationship breakup or your family may be in turmoil health wise. But know that he said in Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Therefore, this all means when we give it all to him totally he will work it out. Now I know that this is just a notion or cliché let go and let God but trust him and he will show you that he is absolutely able to deliver you from whatever your circumstances may be.

Well back to my testimony on December 12, 1994, God heard my cry in the back of a church, which I will leave nameless. He spoke to me and specifically said that if I would keep Him first, follow the principles of recovery that He would give me a life that would be exceedingly abundantly above all that I may ever ask, imagine, or think. Praise God I heard His voice and I know it was him because soon afterwards I went to Acton Rehabilitation Center for three months to get my foundation in recovery. Since that day I have surrendered my life to Christ, for recommitment. God has delivered me from the insanity and I celebrated 18 years from drugs and alcohol this last December. Well since then God and I have communicated over several things that he wants me to do for him by allowing other people to know that He is still on the throne. This includes the vision that He has given to me to help other drug addicts/alcoholics to recover from their seemingly hopeless state of spirit, mind, and body. I am doing this through Celebrate Recovery because I just want to be a witness of the goodness, grace, and mercy that He has given to me. Since receiving this revelation from God, He has instructed and allowed me to go to college graduating with a master’s degree in psychology to educate people in treatment and also a doctorate degree in divinity so that I may inform individuals of the working power of God and how He can do the same for anyone and everyone who surrenders totally to His will and way. I have heard and believe that the continuous implementation of Step One in individuals’ lives can have a dramatic effect. Not only does this affect the individual who is recovering but also other people who will be influenced by the testimony given. In light of the fact that I have been walking this road of recovery basically alone I have changed the venue on the way that I approach relationships. Thus, I have chosen to become more connected with those I interact with by the way that I share my time with them. By the grace of God I no longer socialize with the people that I used to nor do I go to the places that I used to go, I have done a full 180 degree turn and I do not even want that type of lifestyle any longer. Celebrate Recovery has shown me how to die to myself and follow Christ. I want to also insert here that I definitely thank God for the demise and incomprehensible demoralization that came across my path. Because in this experience I was able to realize that I really needed God and without Him I could do nothing. The life now that I have today far surpasses my life of before. No I do not have everything I want and no my life is not all that I dreamed that it would be but I do have a new life in Christ through Celebrate Recovery and my decisions now are based upon the word of God and wise counsel.

I am also grateful to my mother, my church, and even my enemies for propelling and thrusting me into what our father in heaven has prepared and predestined me for even before I was in my mother’s womb. I pray that whomever will receive this testimony will be adamant to do as God’s word pronounces in Matthew 28:18-20: “Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: ‘God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.’” I hope you can understand that my heart truly goes out to those who suffer in the demise as I once did.

This makes my priorities in line with holy and righteous living of denying myself and taking up my cross and following Jesus daily. In closing I would like to express that I hope that I have not put on a self-righteous or prideful demeanor to where I have conveyed that I am any better than anyone here. Because no that is not at all what I have attempted to do. God has humbled me through the circumstance that I am currently going through, which is having a degree but the inability to get a job for six years, which has caused me to be on public assistance (GR) and living in the homeless shelter of Lancaster. I know God has a purpose and a plan for me because God does not just arbitrarily do anything. My belief is that besides the reduction of my pride in the situation that I am in, He is also teaching me how to relate to the people that one day soon I will help in my ministry program as I revealed to you earlier. I say all of this with conviction that anyone who surrenders his or her way totally to Christ’s way He will deliver them. So if you are burdened down and worn out he says come to me all ye who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Even as I tell this testimony God is currently teaching me how to trust him even more and let go of any hindrances that can block me away from the sunlight of the spirit such as money, property, prestige, women etc. These kinds of things have prevented me from basking in the sunlight of the spirit for way too long but I declare right now in Jesus’ name no more! I have to say as I said before challenges will come to help us to grow and mature but as long as we firmly remember that we are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ our lord and as the great Apostle Paul said we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Let us also remember that the battle is not ours but the Lord’s. So if we take his yoke upon us and learn of him we will most definitely find rest for our souls for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Please accept this humble invitation not given by me but given by a savior who loves and truly cares. If you are listening to me and have never received Christ as your lord and savior—your true friends please repeat these simple words and I promise your whole life will change. I’m not going to ask you to walk down here to the front because you are not going to be praying to me but right there in your seat He will hear your heart. Dear Jesus, I come to you broken, weary, and sad. I need you because you are my only friend. Please come into my heart and save me. Make me whole and new again. I want to follow you from this day forward. I thank you for dying on the cross to save me and I never, ever want to make you shamed again. Be with me as I go from here to follow your will and your way. I pray all of these things in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus amen and thank God.

Good news if you said that prayer from your heart you now belong to Jesus. And realize this, what you are going through is there to propel and thrust you into the next chapter in your life. I do not know how or when but I do know that he is going to get some glory out of this! I hope each of you has been able to receive something to propel you into the future of God’s wondrous majesty for it is not over until he says it’s over. Thank you.

Last Updated: 12/22/2015