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The 700 Club

The Cost of Chasing One More High

On Saturday evening, May 10th, 2008, 32–year-old Neal Ahearn left his AA meeting early to go find a party.

“I'm not going to quit drinking because I loved drinking.  You know, I loved drinking.  And I thought ‘well, I'm going to drink,’” said Neal.

There were no witnesses to the crash but at the scene local fire and rescue found Neal lying on the pavement, with massive head injuries.  He was taken to the local hospital, to be flown to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina.  His parents, Diane and Mike, got there in time to see their son.

“I grabbed his hand and I said, ‘Neal, you have been stubborn your whole life, you know, don't give up now.  Don't give up!’” explained Diane.   

Neal had been suffering with anxiety and depression since he was a teenager, and used alcohol, marijuana, and eventually crack to ease his mind.

Neal said, “I could get a little relief from my anxiety, from my worrying, my compulsive worrying.”

Diane believed God was the only one who could help.

“I would go to bed praying at night,” said Diane.  “You’ve got to do something cause I can’t do it and I know he’s killing himself.”

As Neal got older he functioned well enough to hold down a job, get married and have a daughter.  But the added stress of a family heightened his anxieties.  His addictions got worse, eventually costing him his marriage and custody of his daughter.

“I was a nervous wreck for one thing.  But, I tell you, I would pray and I would say, ‘Lord, you know, I can't handle this, I'm going to turn it over to you,’" said Diane.

It turns out that Neal was praying too.

“I prayed the Lord’s Prayer,” said Neal. “’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.’ I would pray that prayer and ask the Lord, ‘please help me.  I’m living this hell on earth.’”

Then in April 2008, Diane was watching The 700 Club during CBN’s week of prayer. She had been giving to the ministry for several years.

“They sent me an email telling me, ‘if there's anybody that you want us to pray for, we will,’" said Diane. “And so I put in, you know, ‘pray for my son, Neal, that he has addiction problems.’"  

The next day Diane received a reply from CBN, with a prayer.

“I bind the evils that are trying to control my son, Neal, here on earth, and I claim the victory through Jesus Christ in heaven."  

Some time later, Neal asked his mother a question.

“He said, ‘are you praying for me, mom?’ And I said, ‘I am, all the time, every day.’ And he said, ‘don’t stop.’ Then he said, ‘I feel it.’ I knew somebody was praying for me,” explained Diane.

Two weeks later Neal was in the hospital with a crushed skull.  A life flight to nearby Vidant Medical Center was his only chance for survival.  Diane spoke to the pilot before they left.

“He said, if you want to say good-bye to him, we’re going to let you.  I don’t usually do this, but if you want to say good-bye to him you can,” said Diane. “I mean, first thing popped into my head is they don’t expect him to live.”

The doctors at Vidant explained Neal had massive brain trauma and would probably be in a coma the rest of his life.  Even if he came out of it, his mental capabilities would be extremely limited.  As Diane prayed over the next week, she felt God telling her something different.

“I'm reading the Bible and praying and I heard a voice say, ‘don't worry.  I've got him.’  And it was so vivid that I actually looked around to see if somebody said it, but there's nobody there.”

Then 16 days after the accident, Neal suddenly woke up.

Neal said, “I remember looking at my arm and thinking, I don’t know what happened but whatever it was, was bad. And I remember thinking at the time, thank God I’m here.”

Diane said, “I don’t even know how to describe it.  It was so miraculous because they’ve already told me that your best hope is long-term care. And I thought “here he’s got a second chance. He’s got a second chance to get it right.”

It soon became clear, that Neal would be okay.

“I'd been laying in the bed for a while in the hospital here, and I said, "you know what?  I'm going to make good use of this time.  I'm going to get up and read my Bible,” said Neal.

Something else happened in Neal’s two-month stay at the hospital.  He rededicated his life to Jesus Christ.

“There ain’t but one that would have known that this was what it would take to turn my life around,” said Neal. “Jesus, I've learned He's my Lord and Savior and I felt Him.  I felt that peace that surpasses all understanding and I never want to lose that.”

And not only that, Neal says God freed him from addictions to drugs and alcohol.

“I truly believe with all my heart that God took that desire away from me,” said Neal.  “The thrill of doing it, He just took it away from me.”

Since then Neal still has no signs of brain damage.  Diane believes that it was prayer, God’s love and grace that made her son a new man.

“You know, you pray about everything, and worry about nothing,” said Diane. “And that's became my motto.  No matter what!”

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