by Christy Hoagland and Johnny Allen
Pray for my wife, she is lost in addiction.
Pray for my baby mama and her addiction.
Pray for my son, he is struggling with addiction.
Pray for the lost and for the people in addiction. Pray for me, I have been clean for a year but still struggle with the temptation to use.
Pray for my little brother, Ian, he has struggled with addiction most of his adult life.
Pray for my brother, Travis who went back to his addiction.
Pray for my wife, she is struggling with bad addiction problems.
Pray for my cousin, who is in rehab, pray he completes and overcomes his addiction.
Pray for my mom who is in her 60s and stuck in addiction.
Pray for my friend, Tracy, struggling with addiction and lost.
Pray for my 3 nieces, 2 are MIA on the streets in drug addiction.
These are just a few of the prayer requests gathered in the last couple weeks in 4 different prisons regarding drug addiction. From teenagers to senior citizens, drugs don’t discriminate and these prayer requests are proof of that. The men and women incarcerated are proof of that. The many overdoses taking lives inside the razor wire are proof of that. It is heartbreaking to see so many struggle, to see so many want to change but don’t see a way out. I have been overwhelmed with this issue of addiction inside and outside the razor wire and how to help, how to pray for these precious people who are created in God’s image but who have bought into a lie. If you or a friend or family member is struggling with addiction, let me tell you…There is Hope. Just recently in one of our prison services Johnny shared about this very topic and the solution for it, a first hand account of VICTORY over addiction. As the men listened to Johnny there were tears streaming down faces, heads bowed, nods of agreement and many other emotions. Thank You, Jesus, that You are Enough, that You are Greater than addiction.
“Just going to testify tonight. So how many are here tonight on drug related charges?” (the majority of hands fly up)
I want to share from my heart for a few minutes tonight. I was a career criminal, convict, a thug and a hopeless drug fiend. It consumed over 38 years of my life. And if I can convince just a few of you tonight to never do drugs again then it will be a great night. In a little while I’m going to give you the solution.
I remember my early days of addiction…as I was experimenting with different drugs. Sometimes we would ask, if we weren’t certain, what it would do to us and for us…what it’s like. I would get answers like: it’s like a burst of energy, a rush that takes your breath away, the best feeling ever, I don’t know-it’s great-it’s just hard to explain. And many thought they were right, those people experiencing it at the time. They hadn’t seen the end, the bottom – the jail cell, the prisons, the deaths. I have…and so have some of you.
Some of you are just getting started. Some of you may go back to it. Tonight I want to convince you not to ever do drugs again. Not to let it have power over you.
So if you were to ask me tonight what’s it like to have an almost 40 year drug addiction, I would give you answers like this: It’s like watching many, many friends die because they couldn’t get away from it…and they do; it’s like spending every single penny you ever had on this habit…and you will; it’s like going days without eating even though you were starving but you needed dope more…and you will; it’s like having to lie to every family member and friend you have ever had…and you do; it’s like waking up hating yourself every day from the shame and guilt…and you will; it’s like going into withdrawals every 8 hours unless you had more dope to do and you usually didn’t; it’s like never attending any family events because you were too high or too dope sick; it’s like knowing you are going to end up in jail or prison if you don’t get help but you choose the dope sack instead; it’s like asking others how your parents are, your children are, your grandchildren are because you won’t let them see you in this devastating condition; it’s like watching everyone around you succeed while you are crumbling. Should I go on? Because it’s endless. It’s like everything was on your dealer’s time, if they said 5 hours then you’ll wait 5 hours in a car, in an alley, in an empty building; it’s like stealing everything worth value for that sack no matter how sentimental it was to you or someone else; it’s like losing so much weight you can’t keep any of your clothes from falling off; it’s like losing everything you ever owned; it’s like nobody believing a word you said even if it was the truth; it’s like being a prisoner inside your own head; it’s like never being scared to die because dying would take away the pain; it’s like trying to shut your brain down for 5 minutes – it was worth that little time of peace; it’s like seeing your family cry and beg for you to stop only for you to leave and go get high because stopping wasn’t an option…it was impossible; it’s like you’d do absolutely anything for more and you did …and you will; it’s like overdosing, almost dying, living through it and going to get high right after; it’s like giving your entire life away, losing your self worth, your integrity, your identity, losing yourself; it’s like stealing from your mom, dad, the kids, the grandkids…and I have.
I have never been at ease talking about the horrors of my old life. While writing these things down I had to stop and pray countless times. To me it was like watching an old demon-filled movie. I had to make myself remember and it was painful. I’ve been clean for almost 13 years. It took all that time for me to rehash this. God’s timing is perfect and I felt tonight was the perfect time. This is for someone tonight. I want it to scare you. It should! Because if you don’t stop…now…this is what you might experience over the next several years. You think this is all there is to prison? Some of us have done some long stretches and we would tell you young guys the same thing. Don’t do what we did. I still hear the clanging doors of the old prison. The screams at night. The crying. The torment. I remember those who took their own lives because it was too much. The fightings. The stabbings. Please, young people – Don’t follow us down that path. You will if you’re not careful.
So deep down you already know the answer, the solution I am going to share – His Name is Jesus! And Jesus loved you so much that He willingly died for you, so you could be set free from the chains, the bondage of drugs, alcohol, criminal thinking and criminal activity. At your very worst – God gave you His very best – His Son, Jesus. And if you will surrender your life to Him – He will help you. Romans 10:13 says if you call on Him you will be saved. Not maybe, not just a possibility, the Word of God says you will be saved, saved from what? To begin with, saved from yourself and this life you created for yourself.
So I’ve shared what I was told when I asked what were drugs like and I’ve shared what drugs were really like. Now I want to share what life with Jesus is like 🙂 This is where I get excited! This is what I can talk about for hours, for days, for weeks!
Living with and for Jesus is like waking up in your right mind, making better decisions, living free of the hustle of doing drugs, selling drugs, free of chasing, plotting, manipulating. Living for Jesus is being part of a family again, being trustworthy and accountable, not living in fear of the police busting my door down, not having to make excuses, showing up on time, doing what I say I’m going to do, being free of jail, prison, probation and parole, the certainty of going to Heaven, knowing I’m saved, having these great friends and this ministry, being kind, loving, compassionate, hopeful, peaceful, living in FREEDOM and VICTORY! On February 24th I will have lived like this for 13 years! How do you get from a hopeless drug fiend to where I’m at today? JESUS – a sold out, committed life to Him. It’s a lifestyle, living for Him.
This isn’t enough…2 hours in here, the chapel at Algoa Correctional Center, every week. 7 times a week for 2 hours isn’t enough. Just like 90 minutes in church for me each week isn’t enough. Praying, studying, meditating on the Word, serving, giving of yourself, daily – live it. I was challenged in here at Algoa by Bro Scott Breedlove one night. He said “if you are free – life like you are free! If you love Jesus – live like you love Jesus!”
Guys, I love Jesus, fall in love with Him tonight if you haven’t. Get free and live for Him.