Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors and that our lives had become unmanageable.
Hi, my name is Will. I am a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and a recovering addict. I am a Native American and a member of the Yurok Tribe.
My pride & ego prevented me from admitting I was powerless and that my life had become unmanageable. For this reason, I stayed in my addiction for decades. It’s also the reason I thought the only way I’d be able to quit was to commit suicide. But thankfully, God had something else in mind.
I’ll be sharing a little about my past & end with what my recovery journey has been up to now. I celebrated ten years of recovery on February 14, 2022. I realize what I went through in my 58 years of life helped prepare me for the man I am today. I would not trade this experience for the world.
I was born in Santa Cruz, CA, in 1964. I was raised by a Christian mother who tried her best to raise me and my five siblings by herself. She was a police officer for Santa Cruz and eventually became a Forensic Auditor for the Federal Government. She did her best with what she was dealing with in her own life. My mother was a disciplinarian and Christian. Raising so many kids was not easy for her. My mother worked numerous jobs to provide food, clothes, and a roof over our heads. She also was the one who provided a stable environment for us.
Here are some of the reasons and excuses I used to play victim to all my life’s problems. My father went to prison when I was young for murdering a woman and was sentenced to life in prison. As a result, I felt abandoned and not wanted. This made it difficult for me to have any meaningful relationships.
I was sexually abused by my stepfather, who also went to prison for his abuse. I told my 3rd-grade teacher about the abuse, and she called my father. On the way home, he told me he would kill my family and me if I ever tried to tell anyone again. I believed him. Because of this experience, I did not trust anyone, especially authority figures. Eventually, I became a dangerous, broken, hurt, and extremely frustrated person. I started using to try to erase the memories of his sexual, physical, and mental abuse.
At an early age, I began to have anger issues and would go nuclear on my family. I fought with my siblings all the time. We were very competitive & always had to one-up each other. This caused us to have many trips to the ER. I don’t know how we survived. After that, I started putting myself in danger all the time, doing off-the-wall things. I would participate in 100-mile extreme runs, bike 50 miles, and do competitive ocean swimming.
I eventually got through elementary, junior high, and high school alive. Three days after graduating high school in 1982, I ended up moving to New York City. This is where my using really took off. I found a job at a club where I was promoted. I went to college for Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management and graduated. I saw some of the worst things happening right before my eyes. I was sitting next to a man when he died of an overdose. There were so many murders, suicides, and sexual boundaries being crossed in the ’80s. I was completely overwhelmed. I held many successful jobs and used what I thought was successful through all of them.
Except in 2010, I was working for Child Protective Services. I was caught high on the job and almost went to prison. I ended up going into a 90-day in-house drug treatment program, getting three years of probation, and paying $10,000 in fines.
I came home alone and frightened. I was suicidal. I had devised a plan to take my life and had the means to do it. However, the Holy Spirit intervened that night. I ended up in my car driving. I had no idea where I was supposed to go. My car suddenly got a flat tire. I pulled into a parking lot and lost it emotionally. Some men came out to see if I needed help. The tire was changed, and they invited me to come inside. That was in 2010, the first time I started going to Celebrate Recovery on Friday nights at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, CA.
While at a doctor’s appointment, I suffered an aneurysm and almost died. Ministry leaders and others from Celebrate Recovery came to visit me. They shared their testimonies with me and let me know God loved me. I spent 294 days in the hospital recuperating. This was a blessing because I got to experience God’s love, grace, understanding, and compassion. When I was discharged, I immediately started attending CR at Bayside on Friday Nights.
I found and attended a 1-year men’s step study. I worked through the 4 Participant Guides and became friends with the men in my group. I now had accountability partners and a sponsor who could lead, guide and direct me. It provided me with a safe place to deal with the hurt and pain I was in. I also did the work necessary for my recovery. I overcame my misery through Jesus Christ.
I started working with a great group of people to start a CR ministry at my church in 2013. I became the Ministry Leader in 2014. We had our first meeting on July 11, 2015. I started attending CR Summits in 2014 and became involved with a CR ministry called Native Nations in 2016. I am now blessed to serve as one of the West Regional Leads for that ministry.
My relationship with God & my family is getting stronger. God continues to show me daily how to live. I pray, spend time with him daily, and get in his Word, the Bible. The impact that has been made in my walk with him is immeasurable.
I can now say that the impact Step 1 had on me was life-changing. I finally could admit my powerlessness over my addictions and compulsive behaviors and that my life had become unmanageable. I am forgiven. I am a work in progress. In other words, like all Christians, I have been justified in God’s eyes because I believe in his Son. Christ has made me free from all sin. I can be free from my old sinful nature. I can recover. You can recover. I am a new creature in Christ.
1 Timothy 1:14-17 (TLB) says:
“Oh, how kind our Lord was, for he showed me how to trust him and become full of the love of Christ Jesus. How true it is, and how I long that everyone should know it, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the greatest of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as an example to show everyone how patient he is with even the worst sinners, so that others will realize that they, too, can have everlasting life. Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the King of the ages, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God, and full of wisdom. Amen.”
Thank you for allowing me to share this testimony with you.
If you would like to learn how to start your own Celebrate Recovery ministry, to contact your Celebrate Recovery Rep, please visit: https://crgroups.info/. To get involved in an already existing Celebrate Recovery ministry near you, please visit: https://locator.crgroups.info/.