I was raised by my dad and moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. The atmosphere around me was usually filled with drugs and alcohol. By the time I was 9 or 10, I was used to it. I felt like it was the normal thing to do. Around the age of 12, I tried my first joint. After that, I would try to find ways to do it again. I thought it was cool. Everybody did it.
I turned away from all my friends that made good grades and took life seriously – my real friends. I was turning into a different person and after my dad and I got into a fight, I started failing in school, and I didn’t care.
This is where I fell into a very depressed state of mind. It wasn’t until my mom and her boyfriend at the time, came and got me to live in North Carolina, that I lived without using and drinking.
On April 18, 2004, I lost my dad due to long-term drug and alcohol use. This bothered me, but deep down, I forgot who my dad really was. There were times he was very abusive, like when I didn’t perform in school or sports. On the other hand, he taught me good life lessons, like how to be polite and to do my best in everything I do.
I have to say that being the man I am now; it affects m e not to have a dad. I think this is why Jesus makes Himself known to me so much. The only real time I experienced God in my life is when I was younger. During the summer, I would go to the Catholic Church once a week. This was a part of my life when the seed was planted. During my sophomore year of high school, while living with my grandparents, I received Holy Communion and Confirmation. After I left their house to move back to North Carolina, the tables turned. I walked away from the church and did my own thing. I lost my girlfriend of a year that I truly loved, and I fell down hill quickly.
I was hanging out with the wrong people, drinking heavily, smoking marijuana and cigarettes. It got worse and worse; drinking until I didn’t remember anything from the night before. There was a time when I came close to death, waking up to gargling vomit on my friend’s floor. This was a time in my life where I needed God in my life; and boy, did he show up.
I went to live with a couple I knew for 30 days so I could straighten up and get God in my life. During that time, I attended church twice a week and listened to a lot of Baptist preaching. I also had one of the best experiences of my life, when Brother Chuck was talking about getting saved and what it meant.
Since that day, I’ve truly never been the same. After I left their house, I moved to Florida. I lived in a couple of halfway houses until I had nowhere to go because of my drinking. I called Faith Farm, talked to Brother John, and had my first “top bunk experience.” I made it all the way to Class 6, but because the lack of confession and my past sins still haunted me, I went out and medicated and was dismissed. This was one of many bad decisions I made. Here I was again with nowhere to go.
After going around the circle again; going back and forth between staying sober and drinking, I returned to Faith Farm for the second time. The first week I was here, I cried to God, “No more, I’m tired of going back and forth.”
One of the things that helped me at Faith Farm was confessing my sins to someone I trusted. I have been giving the devil too much credit. I’m my own worst enemy; that’s why putting the flesh to death is very important.
Faith Farm has given me a chance to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, to get my mind right and to figure out what’s really important in life: God, people and spreading the gospel.