My name is Travis, and I am a recovered addict. I have been rescued from the grips of addiction and restored back to sanity. I have suffered through the high cost of low living. Today, I am clean and sober with 6 years of recovery. Recovery is something that is acquired over time, not overnight. I accepted Christ into my heart at 9 years old. Even as a young child, I noticed some spiritual changes in my life. I was reaching out talking to God, and reading in His word from time to time. I began building a relationship with my Creator, but somewhere along the way I grew strong resentments. Growing up, I watched as my alcoholic dad abused my mother and they divorced when I was 12 years old. Not only did I play the blame game, I also used this separation to my advantage. I learned very early I could use and abuse my parents by manipulating them. This carried on until I reached the “know it all” age of 18.
I moved out and was given a house by my grandfather, which enabled me to live more for myself. I started throwing house parties with drugs and alcohol (alcohol is a drug). At age 21, I had successfully managed my cocaine addiction, but not my life. In and out of jobs and jail was the norm, and my life was ultimately based on how I could please “Travis.” Selfless living was nowhere in my sight, and walking with Christ was something that I never wanted to talk about. You see, “For a man to know to do good and to do it not, to him it is a sin” (James 4:17). I knew to do right, but I chose not to. I did this so many times I had developed a reprobate mind. This mind set twirled me in a deeper hole of addiction that I swore I’d never go. From needles to crack cocaine, I not only experienced drug use, I craved it and it was all I ever thought about. I started selling drugs to keep up my habits.
One day I was in my bedroom, and I had a box full of various drugs that sat on my night stand. I also had a bible that my mom gave me sitting right beside it. I grabbed the bible and walked to the hall closet. I threw it as far to the back as I could. I didn’t have room for my drugs and the bible. One had to go, and I made my choice. A week later in my own house, I was face to face with a man gunning to take my life. With about four thousand in cash and various drugs, it was a drug deal gone wrong. I ran into my hall bathroom and pulled out my pistol. Fear overwhelmed me. I contemplated jumping out the bathroom window. I flushed the toilet and chambered a bullet simultaneously into my 9mm automatic pistol. I looked up with fear of losing my life and cried out to Jesus for the first time since I was 9 years old. “Jesus, I need you now more than ever… help me. I’m afraid of losing my life.” All of a sudden there was a great calming and a clarity like never before. He took me back within seconds in my mind, body, and Spirit. He showed me the way I had been living, and how far away I had gone. Then in that very moment, in that small bathroom I stood in agreeance with a right on time God and said; “I’m sorry”. He spared me my life, and the life of the man there to take me out as I watched him flee from the premises. Immediately the thought of that bible I threw into the back of my hall closet came to mind. I rushed and dug through a mound of clothes until I found it. I held it up with a pistol in one hand and a bible in the other and said “I’ll never leave You now! I’ll never leave You now!”
I contacted my mom that day, and she drove me down to a rehab called “Home With A Heart” in Liberty South Carolina. The lifestyle I lived had earned me a bed. I began to seek after the Lord during that time. Through His word, He began to reveal to me He had been there all along. He was giving me wisdom and knowledge of His will, and I thirsted for more. He was the one I cried out to in that bathroom, and He was the one that showed me my wrongs. He not only saved me from an early death, but forgave me in an instance for all I have done. I felt fear, but a Godly revering healthy fear. It became clear to me that my obligation to Christ was to serve Him. He saved me to serve. I was humbled, therefore, I was teachable. Home With A Heart was an eight week course. At this point, I felt like I had it all together so I trimmed it down to a six week course and left early. BIG MISTAKE! I was sober, but I had no recovery.
After leaving the rehab, I found a job and I was making sixty thousand a year. I was living in a new house with 2 new cars. Most would think from the outside looking in that I was on the right track. However, it wasn’t long before I found myself back to my old ways. This time I found a new low; crack cocaine, and anything I could put in a needle tore what life I had into shreds. The house had to be sold. I watched as a rollback wrecker came and took the cars away. Everything I had was lost to the pawn shop.
After it was all said and done I sat in an 8′ x 10′ prison cell with a “High and Aggravated Assault” charge which carried behind it a 10 year sentence. The third day in my cell, locked down, I was going through horrible opiate withdrawals (which lasted for 10 days). The attempts to get my mom to bail me out were null and void. She was happy where I was for she new at least I was safe. On the same day there was a preacher that stopped by my cell door. He asked if I knew who Jesus Christ was and I replied “yes sir, I do.” He said “son, draw near to the Lord, and He’ll draw near to you.” Then he kicked a small New Testament bible under the cell door. I began to read that bible and started my amends with a loving God. He accepted me right back into His forgiving arms. I was in that jail cell for 67 days. I read the New Testament four times through, and lead two souls (that I know of) to heaven. If you came by my cell we were talking Jesus, and that’s just all there was to it.
My mom bailed me out on day 67 on a Tuesday. I was scheduled to go to the “Overcomers” program (rehab) on Thursday. I had to pass a drug test before enrolling. In my mind I didn’t think I needed any program seeing how I just spent 67 days in jail. I also had been reading my bible, and I felt closer to God than before. I was sober. I was clean. Truth is, I was still the same man before I went into jail. I was sick. I had no recovery, no 12 steps, no program, no accountability. Within 3 hours of being bailed out of jail, I was taking shots of liquor and back to the crack house. So there I was, sitting in a hotel room, broke, busted, coming down from my high, and feeling like dying. I felt hopeless. I didn’t want anyone to know that I messed up once again. I tried staying clean “my way” for so long that I thought my way was the only way. That was my selfish thinking. I honestly didn’t want to get high, but it was all I knew. I knew how to get high, but I didn’t know how to stay clean. I was using against my will. I walked out the door to the balcony and decided to end it all. As I walked to the hand rail to jump off into the parking lot, I felt a calming peace clear as a bell. I recalled the morning devotion that I read in my jail cell early that week. It read something like this, “Come out on the limb with me says the Lord. For out on a limb with me is a safe place to be. Look at the view from here, but make sure you hold my hand. Now look back at the trunk of the tree, and see how far you have come, cause you have come a long way.”Right then and there I knew He wasn’t through with me. I felt a hope like no other. Even in the state I was in He still loved me. What a love I felt that day! Hallelujah!
That night I decided to cheat the drug test to get enrolled into the Overcomers program. Even after this huge revelation from God, and being out on a limb with Him, I still was trying to do things on the shady side. In my mind the only way to get into rehab would be my way, and I would have to cheat the test with someone else’s urine sample. In my mind, I’m trying to do good and seek help. The problem was, I started out on a lie. I also had another problem. I was more concerned about who in the world would give me some “clean” pee in a bottle. Everyone I knew were addicts like me. I didn’t know anyone that was clean. The first person that popped in my mind was a guy named Brett. Brett was a guy that constantly encouraged me through the toughest times. I worked with Brett. He was always talking about faith, and most of the time I couldn’t relate to him at all. He was a Christian and surely he would have a clean sample to give me. I called Brett and told him the whole story about how I messed up and God still loves me, and most importantly how I needed some clean pee in a bottle. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. Brett came to the motel I was staying at that night. I watched from the balcony as he got out of his car and anticipated him holding a bottle, but instead, he was carrying a bible. I thought to my self, “oh Lord I don’t want to hear this.” I told Brett that I needed to pass this drug test so I can get into rehab. He didn’t even crack his bible, but this is what he said, “Go and tell them the truth, that you have messed up. Travis, have you ever thought about telling the truth?” WoW! It was as if Christ was speaking out of his mouth. Have I ever thought about telling the truth!? Well I haven’t until that moment. I realized that I had been a liar all my life. This was another high watermark in my life. A moment of clarity that would be remembered forever. Brett had me so pumped up on telling the truth that I couldn’t wait to take that test. I remember calling my mom and telling her that I wasn’t going to cheat the test, but I was going to tell the truth. She was ecstatic. Praising God over the phone, she cried and said it was the right way. The truth is always the right way, and I was doing something like never before. I was going to tell the truth for the first time in my life, and I knew God would honor it and enroll me into that rehab.
The next morning, mom picked me up from the motel and we headed to Greenville with a plan. Tell the truth and God will honor it. I walked in the rehab and told the truth and they said, “Sorry, but we have people waiting for that bed who are clean, and we cannot let you in.” I was extremely bummed out, but mom encouraged me letting me know that God was still in this. She found out about a rehab called AOJ (Arms of Jesus) campground, “Freedom Farm Ministries.” It was a safe house ran by a husband and wife team, Robbie & Rita Collie. It was a place for alcoholics and addicts to go if they didn’t trust themselves not to use, or if they couldn’t pass a drug test to get into a rehab. She didn’t even call them. She said “get in the car, we’re riding to Boone, NC.” I was not up for riding all the way to Boone, NC from Greer, SC on faith, in hopes that they would have a bed. That’s a looooong drive. As we started off my mom said, “We’re headed to the Mountain of God!” She had me looking out the windows for a rainbow. She said that would be a sign of God’s promises. I wasn’t feeling it to say the least. She was on some high octane spiritual stuff. Actually she was looking for confirmation, and we received none. It was a step of faith, and it had to be that way. The whole ride I was begging that she would at least call them, but she wasn’t budging. She knew that God honors steps of faith and we were taking a leap.
We arrived in Boone late that night and finally mom says “I think I’m suppose to call now!” Finally, I thought! There was no mobile service available at the time so we pulled over to a gas station to use their phone. Mom called and Robbie Collie answered. He said, “You’ve come a long way for nothing.“ She told him the whole story, that the Holy Spirit had told her to come, and I told mom to tell him that if he didn’t have a bed I would sleep on the floor. After hearing mom tell him the story, Robbie said, “Let me give you directions on how to get up here.” Mom hung the phone up rejoicing. She began jumping around the store passing out spiritual tracks to everyone in sight. There were some construction workers in the store that asked if she had won the lottery. She said, “No, it’s better than that.”
Right around 11 o’clock at night, Mom dropped me off way up a winding road in the mountains of NC. There was a double wide trailer full of addicts who welcomed me at the door. Mom told me not to come down from that mountain, and I said I wouldn’t. For I knew that I was right where I belonged. I was at home. I stayed at AOJ campground for the next 2 weeks. I spent Christmas there with a bunch of addicts and alcoholics. It was the best Christmas ever. Robbie Collie took all of us back to SC to a rehab called Faith Home. It was an 8 week course. I stayed 10 weeks. They didn’t teach me how to stay sober for that would be too easy. Don’t put the drugs in, and you’ll stay sober. They taught me much more than that. Something that’s life changing. They taught me how to live a selfless life as best as I could, one day at a time. Through bible studies, service work, and twelve step meetings, I learned that life isn’t all about me. Life is about what I can do for someone else. I have been given so much so that I would have something to give when I see someone in need.
Today I’m enjoying life living each day to it’s fullest. I’m always ready for opportunities to let God’s glory shine through my life, which is His. I still have day to day problems, but drugs and alcohol isn’t one of them. For I have been delivered. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11