Drug Addict Turns to a New God

“Some of them OD’ed on cocaine,” remembers Willie. “There was one that got shot and lost his life. Some wind up in prison because of selling drugs. Too many of them was dying.”

Some of Willie’s  Holloway’s friends have been gone for decades. Others have died more recently. He could have easily ended up like them.

“Don’t be a day go by I don’t think about some of them. And sometimes I find myself at the cemetery, even now, just going down and visiting their grave.”

Willie grew up in the small town of Neelyville, Missouri. His father was an alcoholic who physically and verbally abused Willie and his siblings.

“I would think to myself, ‘Why was I born? You know, why was I born? Was I born to go through this? What, why am I here?’ I seen other friends of mine and they fathers seemed like they would take them to, you know, places, out to eat. They would take them to their little ball games. We didn’t have that. And I longed for that. My father never could tell me that he loved me. My mother did but my father never could tell me that he loved me.”

Willie’s mother took him to church, and he accepted Christ as his savior at 11 years old. His pastor taught him about the unconditional love found through Jesus Christ.

“That’s what I was searching for. I was searching for love. And searching for this God that I knew that created the universe. And I wanted to know more about Him and I did know—begin to know more about Him.”

But it didn’t last long. Life at home was hard to cope with, and Willie put aside what happened at church. Alcohol seemed to help him cope.

“Drinking was my way of escaping a lot of this. That’s the reason I drank a lot. I was sad all the time. I didn't talk that much.”

He met Evelyn while in high school, and they got married. They had six children over the next six years, but cocaine and alcohol ruined any chance of Willie being the father he needed to be.

“The abuse that I, that we endured as children, this followed me, it continued to follow—haunt me. And that’s where a lot of my drinking and drugging came. I wanted to do this to try to numb it, to forget about it. But every time I’d wake up the problem is still there.”

He also had a growing sense of shame that drove him further into addiction.  

“Every time I would do cocaine, I felt very, very guilty because I know that I wasn’t supposed to be doing this. I had a loving family that –who cared about me at home. And I’m sitting in a crack house with other addicts.”

Over the next 20 years, Willie racked up six DUIs, and went to prison twice for violating his parole. He OD’ed twice on cocaine, trying to kill himself. After the second attempt, he began to see things more clearly.

“That was the lowest point in my life when this happened. And then I was ready like, ‘God, I’m tired now. I’m ready to surrender.’ And the funniest thing happened though is when I laid down one evening, God came to me in the form of a dream. And this place I perceived that was hell that I was in, and I seen faces, there was one face that was for me that I seen. And God let me know this is you; this is where you’re headed to. People were screaming in this place. And it’s the first time I ever seen anything like this in my life. God was letting me know this is you, this is where you headed.”

Willie hadn’t been to church in over 20 years, but he went back, and told his pastor about the dream. It was the same pastor he had as a kid.

“He had let me know that, you know, God is trying to get your attention, son. And he let me know that he loved me. And even though I had left the church as a young man, he embraced me.”

Willie prayed with the pastor that day and rededicated his life to Jesus Christ.

“I knew that God had put—wrapped His arms around me, I could feel that. I no longer felt like I was bound by a chain. And so that, that’s when everything began to fall in place for me. I began to see my family, the real love that they showed me. The love that they was trying to show me years ago, I began to see this then.”

That same day he quit using drugs and alcohol. Willie soon became an ordained minister. By then, his dad was in a nursing home, and Willie started visiting him, and telling him about Christ. One time, he found his father in the home’s church.

“He goes, ‘I’ve turned my life over to God.’ He said, ‘I know that I’m not going to be here too much more longer.’ And I mean, it brought tears to my eyes to see this could happen. So it was a blessing to see my dad turn to God.”

Willie was with his father when he died.

“I forgave him right then and there. I gave him a hug and told him that I was happy that he was my father. He held my hand and just squeezed my hand like this. And just smiled. And I knew what he meant. I knew what he meant.”

Today, Willie and Evelyn enjoy spending time with their twelve grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

“The Bible speaks about those that have their mind stayed on Him. And so that’s the way it is today. When I wake up, God wakes me up on mornings. He’s the first thing I’m thinking about when I’m awake. I no longer think about that drug no more. That drug used to be my god. But now God has replaced that and He came in and took over. He stepped into my life.”

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