I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ. In the past, I struggled with drugs and alcohol, and today, I struggle with control. My name is Kyle.
I can trace my descent into the depths of addiction and my rebirth from it to two separate days, two moments in time.
It was Memorial Day 2007 when everything began to unravel. I was serving with the US Army in southern Baghdad on the tail end of a 16-hour mission. Some kids were playing ball by our vehicle, so I got out and kicked their ball over a few streets to move them along. Back in the Humvee, I’m speaking to the guy next to me when I hear a thud. Before that moment, smoking weed, drinking heavily, experimenting with drugs, essentially distancing myself from God – I planted seeds that now came to bear.
After several surgeries, which saved my life, I flew back to the States. While I was unable to move, and stuck in a hospital, my wife of one month was completely taking care of me. Already feeling like I was failing my guys, I received the news that set me over the edge: My entire squad was killed in a Humvee accident. The survivor’s guilt was crippling.
The army had prescribed me pain medication, and the only way I could get any peace of mind was to wash it down with whiskey. When I returned to West Monroe after the army med-boarded me, I was jaded, cynical, and completely dependent on drugs. I was miserable to be around, and the three 80mg OxyContin a day prescribed to me no longer worked. This forced me to take matters further. After giving me many warnings about my behavior, my wife finally moved out. This left me with nothing – no money, no home, no family – just an IV drug addiction.
In despair, I went to treatment. I had been multiple times in the past, but I never completed it. This was just a tool to get people off my back, and this time would be no different. I left after 11 days. I found myself needing a place to stay while I waited on my check, which I was planning to use to buy drugs. I showed up at my parents’ house with a sob story. My dad told me I was at a turning point and I needed to turn to Jesus for help. He prayed with me. Overwhelmed with a loving conviction, I cried out to God for help.
I always wanted something different for my life, but I woke up the next morning finally willing to act. I told the truth about what happened, and I headed out looking for an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting. Despite my efforts and I like to believe by providence, I couldn’t find one. I headed home, discouraged, when I remembered some sort of house by White’s Ferry Road Church where recovering addicts lived. I pulled into the parking lot, but it was no longer there. I gathered my courage and walked into the church, which is where I was introduced to Mike C. I broke down and confessed everything to him. After baring my soul, he simply looked at me and said, “Me, too.”
After speaking with my family, I gave Mike my car keys and had him give my money to my wife. He admitted me into the Awaken514 recovery homes, and I asked to stay in the strictest one. He obliged.
I only planned on staying a month, but as time progressed, I discovered more and more heart issues I needed to work on. Instead of my trying to control the world around me, God transformed me from the inside out. I discovered that humility was an action word. I stopped relying on the things I thought I knew. I learned I couldn’t keep it unless I gave it away. I realized my purpose was to give Christ the glory. In return, Christ gave me more than I deserved. I was steadily gaining back the trust of my family and, after nine months, given the chance to move in with my wife and kids.
After leaving the recovery house, I wanted to continue watching God transform lives in those houses. Where Christ is present, there is freedom. So I went back to the house every chance I had. I basically did everything but sleep there. One day, Mike came to me and said that Josh and he wanted to take me to lunch. I was afraid they were going to ask me to stop coming to the house, but to my surprise they offered me a job. I asked if I could help out until they were ready to hire me, and I shadowed Mike around the office for about a month without pay. One day, Mike’s wife asked me if I had any money. When I said no, she asked Josh to pay me. That’s how I was hired by Awaken514.
I always wondered why I went through what I did, but now I see my trials through the eyes of a loving God. All the pain and heartache comprise cultivation for a greater purpose. I accept hardship as a pathway to peace. I take the world as God wills it. Only through surrender will I be happy in this life and the next. I strive to remain humble, being grateful for Christ’s unconditional love. I’m not saying I have this figured out, but God is calling me forward. By reaching out to meet Christ’s guiding hand, I am well on my way.
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