Carlos: U-Turn to God

When I was 2-years-old, my parents, already married for 4 years, decided to get a divorce. My father and I moved to New York with his 2 sisters living in the Bronx. My father worked long hours, so I spent most of the time with my step-family. The next 10 years were hell. I was being abused sexually, verbally, and mentally. I was looking for an escape. by the time I reached the age of 14, I found my escape on the streets of the South Bronx with gangs and drugs on every corner. I started smoking pot and stopped going to school. I got held back in the 8th grade.

I was still spending most of my time in the streets with my friends, smoking every day. I was able to graduate in 1974. I got an opportunity working at Rutgers University, managing 3 dormitories that housed over 500 students. I bought my first car and was doing very well for a few years.

One day there was a big cutback in the state of New Jersey, and I got laid off. I lived on unemployment for about a year and finally moved back to New York. I moved in with a friend of mine, who at the time was dealing heroin. Within a month, I was shooting up, and I never looked back. For the next 30 years, heroin became everything to me. I began selling, and yes, I made a lot of money.

My addiction took off like a bird in flight. Drugs and alcohol became a way of life. Everything that was important became unimportant. My addiction had become powerful and insidious. It knew me better than I knew myself. It took me to places I didn’t want to go. It made me do things I didn’t want to do. I could not see the light; I was blind.

While using, I lived in another world. I experienced brief jolts of reality and self-awareness. It seemed that I was two different people. I tried to get my life together before my next run. Sometimes I could do this very well, but later it was less important and more impossible.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

When I read that verse, I felt something very profound happen. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it. Today, I believe God reached down and touched me. Sometimes in life, what appears to be the end is really a new beginning.

I often  prayed when I was hurting; and now, I find myself praying regularly and not hurting as often as intensely. I know praying is asking for help and meditation is listening for God’s answer.


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