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Turned Around: a faith based story from the Story Powerline
Thursday, April 2, 2020 by Brian Bolton with Becky Cerling Powers

I remember one day when I woke up in a crack house with the electricity turned off and people crashed out everywhere and wondered how I got there.  How in my journey through life, with all the talents I had, with all of the community support and all of the family love I had, how I could be at this place and think that it was normal?

Throughout my childhood, I was raised in a solid Christian household and blessed with a wonderful family, even with the shortcomings of my stepfather. My own father died of a heart attack when I was four and the youngest of five children. My mother married a few years later, but unfortunately my stepfather’s ex-wife came back to him behind the scenes, and I lost my stepfather to divorce.

Mom, mentors, and teachers supported me

Still, with the strength of my mom, we made it through. I had wonderful teachers who helped me graduate with honors from Eastwood High School in El Paso, Texas. I had wonderful coaches who helped me become all-city in swimming for three years straight. And I had wonderful youth directors in church and Young Life who helped me grow in the Lord. 

Losing accountability

I left for Texas Tech in 1981 and moved out of the structured, disciplined environment where I thrived. I no longer had a coach for a daily training program. I no longer had the kind of teachers who cared about my grades and attendance. I had no youth director to be spiritually accountable to. It was a gradual thing, but once I got unplugged, my batteries only lasted so long.

I met a beautiful co-ed. We drank, we got into drugs, we dropped out of college together and we had an abortion together. When that relationship ended, I moved from Lubbock to California to start over. But, unfortunately, I moved out there with myself. Everything that brought me down at Texas Tech followed me to California. I met a lovely lady out there. We drank and did drugs, but this lady decided to keep the baby.

Journey to hopelessness

I ended up moving to Austin, Texas and spent the next nine years drinking and drugging myself, moving from job to job and woman to woman. In November of 1998 I finally checked into a 30-day secular rehab program. They taught me everything I ever wanted to know about drugs and addictions and introduced me to their “Higher Power.” But they wouldn’t let me have a Bible because it was a government-funded program.

I graduated from rehab and moved into a transition home. My suite mate was Chris, a close friend from rehab. He was a smart, sharp-looking 21-year-old kid who had gotten strung out on crack. That January I found his corpse in his room, hanging from an exposed pipe by his twisted bed sheets.  His suicide note told of his dark journey back into addiction and said that he was handling it the only way he knew how. That experience shocked me out of my sobriety. I didn’t see any more hope.

Christian rehab or the streets

It took me another ten years to hit bottom and realize it was Teen Challenge (a Christian rehab ministry) or the streets. My mother had been pushing Teen Challenge at me forever, but she is in the recovery ministry and I was embarrassed about myself for her. Here she was trying to help others get sober, and yet her own son was an addict. I didn’t realize that she had turned me over into God’s hands a long time ago.

Teen Challenge in El Paso helped me develop a one-on-one relationship with Jesus Christ. Finally, I had restoration. I know that I’ve been forgiven, although that doesn’t mean God has removed the consequences of all my poor choices. The most important part of my recovery is letting God use me to help give back to others what he has given back to me. Celebrate

Recovery has given me a Band of Brothers, connected and accountable to each other.

The Bible says

Happy (blessed) are those who know they are spiritually poor” (Matthew 5:3).

Today’s Prayer

Jesus, I admit that I am powerless over my habits, hurts, and hang-ups. I turn my life and will over to you. Please show me the next step. Amen.

 

©2010 Becky Cerling Powers

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