"I won’t ever forget the moment my life changed. I was in excruciating pain as my body was crying out for another fix. At the same time, my mind was crying out to God. I could hear myself screaming for help. I had just been released from a psychiatric unit where I had been receiving treatment for a drug-induced psychosis. A friend had reported me to authorities when I threatened suicide, so they intervened. When they released me, I was back on the streets and afraid. I went to my Dad’s house; already high and knowing I had no means to sustain it. Initially, he threatened to call the police. I begged him for help, so he made calls to several agencies. The only place he found ready to take me in my condition was the Fresno Rescue Mission.
I remember lying on a mat. Someone was listening to music in the background. The song kept repeating, “There is power in the name of Jesus.” It kept playing and playing, over and over. I mumbled, “Turn it off.” The song would cycle back again and replay. At some point, the words began to touch me. The next morning I exited. I was still really sick, so I stayed near the Mission so I would be safe. Someone from the Mission walked up to me and asked me if I wanted information about the addiction recovery program. Within just a short while I was given a permanent bed, time to detox while someone watched over me, and offered encouragement that I could do it.
A few days later I could barely walk, but they gave me my first duty to occupy my mind. I picked up trash on a field with other disciples. In a way, it felt good. That night I attended chapel service. God comforted me, even though in that moment I felt naked before Him. Something inside me needed to ask Him for forgiveness. He just kept building me up. From that day forward I watched the power of Jesus being lived out in front of me, through the staff and the volunteers and the other men in the program.
It’s been 1 year since I was lying on that mat in Community Care. I no longer identify with the man I once was. I’m not the 12-year-old boy, heart-broken by my parent’s divorce and intoxicated from my introduction to alcohol and drugs. I’m no longer the Blackjack dealer who used heroin to avoid feeling responsible for the people I entertained as I crushed them in their gambling addictions. I’m not the same person who was charged with crimes of theft and assault (all of which were later, mercifully, dropped). Today, I am a child of God. I am a dad with two amazing children, thankful for family relations and the hope I see in every relationship Jesus is helping me restore. I am the friend of a youth pastor who mentors me and takes time each week to walk me through ministry opportunities, together (pictured above). I am a quiet man whom God is using to speak into the lives of other desperate men, all because I understand their pain really well.
I used to dream of being an architect or a doctor. Today, I feel like both. I help build into the lives of people who are broken, just like me, and I continue to point them in the direction of real healing. There really is power in the name of Jesus." ~ Tadd
Story appeared in the April 2017 edition of Lighthouse News