Walking tall by standing in awe

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Testimony

Turned to God from Idols

By Gregory Madison


     As I look back over my life, it is hard to believe that I was ‘hooked’ on crack for 23 years. During that time, I participated in both Christian and secular programs (at least 14 or 15). The programs included Veteran facilities, Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, a farm program in Colorado (owned by Denver Rescue Mission), as well as many others. Very early during my struggle with my addiction to crack (and the other addictions that went with it), I sought to discover what the Bible has to say concerning addictions. In 1996, I began a personal study describing the link between addiction and idolatry. This is now a lifetime study of mine.


     Although I had begun to find the answers that I was looking for concerning addictions, I kept going back to using. During those 23 years, the longest time that I remained ‘sober’ was for 17 months (mainly because I lived away from the city, at that time). I lived at different places for 7 years, going from one program to another. At other times, I lived on the streets and with friends (on and off drugs). It was in the year of 2003 that I decided that there was no way that I was ever going to quit using drugs again. This was the first time that I had ever stooped to that level. Since I had made such a decision, I thought that it would be best for me to go to Florida where I could find what is thought to be the purest cocaine.


     After spending the winter in Florida and going back north in the summer for two years, I returned to Cleveland, Ohio. Somehow, God began to convince me that His way is best and that my actions were highly offensive towards He and my fellowman. I thought of how I was not only depriving myself, but also God (as well as others). This led to a decision to remain in Cleveland and seek out the help of my family and the faith community. I vowed to never move away until I had thoroughly allowed God to deal with my addictions and was considered to be ‘stable’. For about the next 6 years I went into the VA several times, joined different churches, and continued to read and write bible-based material on addictions.


     From 2005 until 2011 I sought to develop a consistent life of sobriety. I would sometimes go for months at a time, only to return to drugs. In January of 2011 I heard that my grandmother in Memphis, Tennessee was very ill. I knew that I could be of no help to her (or anyone) because of the investments that I was making on my addictions. I started doing everything I needed to do so that I would be able to assist my grandmother and her husband (86 and 96, at the time) as soon as possible. Through the power of Christ, the strength of His word, the prayers and support of my dad, and with the aid of a church as well as others, I was able to begin a consistent walk with Christ for 2 months before traveling to Memphis. One year after my first visit to Memphis, I moved there. And so now, the things that are most important to me are hearing God and being used by Him each and every day. True and lasting sobriety, that is pleasing to God, is found in Christ alone.

To be continued…