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Alcoholic Faces His Mortality, Turns Life Around

“I felt like Christ really wasn't for me because when I was around church at a young age, it seemed like to me, that they didn't want me around. So if they didn't want me around, their God must not want me around,” says Brian.

Brian’s father left when he was a small boy. “I still held a lot of resentment towards my biological father. I guess I felt abandoned by him. Why wasn't I good enough to stick around for? I just felt like there was a hole in my life like there was something missing; there was something wrong with me.”

Brian’s mother raised him and his stepfather treated him well, but Brian always felt insecure.

“I felt like I had to be perfect to be loved,” he says. “Or maybe my adopted dad wouldn’t stay around either.”

His parents took him to a well-to-do suburban church. being from a middle- class family, Brian felt like he didn’t measure up. “It was for the wealthy. It was for those who were in a better position, but it seemed like to me that I guess Jesus didn’t really care about me.”

Brian was small as a boy, and was often bullied at school--but as he grew bigger, so did his anger.  “The more I got bullied, the more I took it out on others,” Brian says, “and it just kind of fueled me. I would get into fights. I once beat a man’s head in with a can of corn.”

Eventually he joined a gang. “I felt like I belonged. We were all just out there broken together,” Brian admits, “and it was a place where my anger and my hatred was allowed to be expressed.”

He was arrested several times and did time in both juvenile detention and adult correctional facilities. “I got into trouble all the time. I started running around with the wrong crowd. I was in and out of jail from the time I was 14, taking pills, using cocaine and-and smoking marijuana as well.”   

Brian eventually got a job cooking in a local restaurant and his gang activity slowly ceased. but his drinking did not. “I was also drinking shots beers and at the club every night, Brian says. “A half-gallon of vodka was just a minimum. I was a highly functional alcoholic.  I was working 70 to 90 hours a week, 12 hours a day, in a hot kitchen. I had bottles stashed all over work: in the walk-in, in the kitchen, in dry storage, outside in the shed. I had bottles everywhere.”

Because of his alcohol addiction, he began bleeding internally and suffering from numerous health problems: “I realized things were getting to a breaking point and something was going to have to give.”

In 2014, Brian spent some time with his stepfather and mother. When he came home, something changed. “I had just gotten back from a vacation with my parents,” he says. “I hadn't seen them for quite some time, and I realized that I didn't really have any memories of them. I looked back on my life and I didn’t have any memories of any of it. The drugs and alcohol had taken that. I didn't remember any of my life I was throwing up blood every day.  I knew I didn't have much time left.  I didn't want what little time I had had left, not being able to make a memory with my parents. It was the first time it really clicked in my life that they're mortal-- I'm mortal.”

Alone on his couch that day, Brian prayed for the first time since he was a child. “I yelled out for Jesus to come into my life. And in that moment, Christ entered my life. I could feel his mighty hand reach through and squeeze the evil, the hatred out of my heart,” he says. “When I finally recognized Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, immediately I felt his presence in my life.  It was like being hit with this awesome power that I can't describe. I was enveloped in love.”

That morning, Brian was delivered from his alcoholism and his health begin to improve. “I poured out very bit of alcohol that I had in the house. I threw away all of the marijuana that I had in the house. All of my addictions were just gone,’ he recalls. “I felt immediately clean. I felt washed, like the sludge that had been wrung from a sponge. I felt like a new person. And I felt like I had a new start.”

God also released him from his anger and helped him forgive his father. “Forgiveness was the only way that I could move forward. I could no longer hold on to the resentment. I could no longer hold on to the hate., and I didn't need it anymore. I felt full in Christ. “

Brian says God is continuing to help him mature in his faith, and today, he is the pastor at the first United Methodist church in Rogers, Texas. “Christ was for me that hand reaching down into my abyss, into my darkness, my shame and my pain,” he says. “And he pulled me out and he's called me to be that hand to reach down and help out others who are lost in their darkness, who are lost in addiction, who are lost in pain. He's called me to be, for Him, His body, His hands and feet in the world, and to reveal the love of Christ.”

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