Garrett Crawford - 02/10/2008
Many in this country have had experiences with drug addiction or know someone who has suffered from the bondage of addiction. I was one of them, being addicted myself and seeing many members of my family in bondage to this gives me a very good understanding of how powerful and destructive addiction can be. It is sad to see so many in our modern culture make light of drug addiction and abuse. Through the use of music and media young impressionable minds have been taught that addiction is just a way of life and that you should just accept the fact that drugs and alcohol are the only way to ease the pains of life. Four years ago I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined I'd be completely free from the daily routine of buying and taking drugs. But what is even more amazing to me is that not only have I no behavior of drug abuse now, I have no desire or want to even use again, and for addicts that is the very center point of the sobriety issue -- fighting the urge to use. I can safely say before God and man I have been cured of the desire to use drugs or alcohol, all through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ.
My name is Garrett Crawford, and this is my story:
I grew up in southern Ohio, near Cincinnati, about 40 miles outside the city limits. I spent my childhood bouncing back and forth between my divorced parents. I attended more than your average number of schools growing up -- maybe four or so. I began to use alcohol and marijuana when I was 14. I really had no clue about why I was doing it, except the fact I saw others whom I thought were cool doing it. I wanted to be cool too. I spent ages 14-16 drinking and smoking marijuana occasionally. I developed a like for them, no longer trying to be cool but actually enjoying the buzz it gave me.
My drug addiction took off to new levels when I was a junior in high school. I began smoking marijuana daily and started attending football practice high; that eventually led to quitting the team to devote my after school time and Friday nights solely to partying and staying high. Looking back, I am really stunned how much of an addict I became so quickly; it was like I became in bondage over night. During my whole junior year I would wake up, smoke weed, go to school --without fail; sometimes without the going to school part. Out of 250 days or so school was in session I missed about 55-60 days, which means I should have failed by default but somehow I passed. I had no fear of authority or consequence and it was no strange site to see me red-eyed and smelling of liquor in the halls that year, for I had robbed a local bar owner's stock of Jim Beam which numbered about six cases. It wasn't even that I liked alcohol that much; I just hated to be sober. I really thought I was some kind of rebel and that through my maturity in substance abuse I was somehow more enlightened than others around me, which is just insane. I continued using drugs all that year, including acid, ecstasy and who knows what else. I guess this was about at the end of 2000 and I was a full-blown addict and only 17.
My senior year of high school was just the same, but with harder drugs and more quantities. This is when I developed the beginnings of cocaine addiction, often doing it all night and going to school with some hidden in the stem of my ink pen, making constant trips to the restroom to get another bump or line. Looking back, I am really ashamed to say these things, but I need to let you know how serious my addiction was (and you have not heard anything yet).
I supplied my habit by my monthly social security check, robbing my dad, counterfeiting money and anything else that would enable me to get the money I needed quickly. I lost about 15 pounds that year. I began the school year a muscular 175 and by the time spring came around I was pale and sickly at 160. The last thing I needed was more money and more drugs, and that is exactly what I got when I went to spring break festivities in Daytona beach. I went down there with a little less than $900, a couple grams of coke, a quarter sheet of acid and bag of weed. Needless to say, I went insane in Daytona Beach and bugged out in a hotel room for days, miles away from the companions I came with -- all the while they thought I was dead, drowned in the ocean or something. I would come across people from my school years later and they would say, "Aren't you Garrett Crawford? I thought you died in Florida". This was because of the fact I never returned to school after disappearing on down there, thus making some kind of urban legend or something.
I spent the next years of 2001, 2002 and 2003 developing addictions to nerve pills such as Xanax and Valium --often robbing my family of their prescribed pills and manipulating doctors into giving me my own. It was no strange thing for me to eat 10-20 1 mg tablets in a day. But I guess a normal day was five or six. I was a mess if you haven't already realized, and just imagine all the things I am leaving out; I am trying to keep this somewhat short.
So by the time I was 22 I was a borderline crack/cocaine addicted, pot smoking, pill-popping junky with a terrible tendency to steal from anyone at anytime. I would sneak into dark rooms at night when a person was sleeping with a nightvision scope in order to take money out of wallets without being detected, or wait till someone was in the shower to snatch a 20 out of their pants. Not only was I completely infested with sin and the inability to please God, I would still confess Jesus Christ as Lord! That is just unbearable to comprehend to some Christians, but I did, and still many youths do it to this day, never knowing that they are an abomination. I cannot even begin to tell you the amounts of cocaine I had snorted and smoked, pills I had taken and bottles of liquor I went through. Money was no object because I never really worked to get it; I would find anyway possible to attain it, no matter whom I hurt. I could just take a few Xanax and then all the bad feelings and conviction would be gone. But I must say I completely hated myself; I was not oblivious to the fact I was the scum of the earth, but I thought, 'this is my life and nothing will ever change. This is it, just accept that I am a drug addict'. I used to stare at the sky and say, "So this is it? This is what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life?" But I was not mad or angry -- I had come to a place of peace with this. I just thought I would always be a drug addict. It never crossed my mind that I would ever be anything different. I just thought everyone had a place and a position in the world, you know, just like some people were doctors and some were teachers, I was just a drug addict and I played my part to perfection.
Very few of my peers could grasp my insatiable appetite for drugs and alcohol. Even 'so-called' hard partiers were often scared away by my destructive and insane behavior. This led me to have to pair up with many professional addicts like myself, often spending endless days and nights embedded in a basement or upstairs bedroom smoking piles of crack cocaine and then snorting Oxycontin or heroin to come down. I cannot even tell you how many times I traveled to the inner city of Cincinnati to score crack. I was very much accustomed to just driving up to a shady dope dealer somewhere off Liberty Street without the slightest hesitation or fear and hand him a 50. This even led me to having multiple guns pulled on me a couple different times, and coming seconds away from losing my life. But did that wake me up or stop me from using? Did that scare me straight? If you think it did, then you really don't have a clue about how strong the powers of addiction are, and the power they have on someone's soul, mind, thoughts and actions. I mean, I even lost my best friend to a drug overdose in 2002 and I did not even skip a beat; nothing could stop me from using. And it's not that I did not want to quit. For Pete's sake, I tried to muster the strength to quit many times, never managing to stay sober more than a couple weeks (in 2001) and that was only because I was reading the Bible daily -- that should tell you something. The Bible has power! But at that time I was still young and not ready to give up the world yet, so it was not anything long-lasting, but it did leave me with a good impression of the Bible and Jesus.
So let's fast forward to late summer of 2005. I came home after a marathon session of smoking crack all night at another guy's house. As soon as I got to my room, I got into my stash of drugs and took a Valium and Vicodin, and rolled a blunt to smoke, so I could come down off the cocaine. Then I went to bed, woke up about 10:00 am, smoked a joint, took a Valium and took off in my car to see a friend. Later that day, around 6:00 pm, pretty much sober now, I was at an intersection, getting ready to turn onto my road. I looked left and saw a Dodge truck approaching fast at about 60 mph. I looked right and looked left again and the truck was gone; I wondered where it went. So I pulled out and instantly BANG! I was being thrust sideways down the road with a Dodge pickup staring at me through my driver-side window. The impact was incredible and the truck had been almost surgically connected to the driver-side of my Lincoln. As soon as the vehicles hit the ditch I jumped out to look at the driver of the Dodge. I knew this was my fault and I just wanted to make sure they were ok. But as I looked into the cab of the truck I did not see anyone -- no one was there! Then I heard something and I poked my head into the truck and saw a woman basically plastered against the floorboard of the truck with her throat slit from ear to ear. Needless to say I was beside myself; I thought I had caused this woman to die.
Without any long delay the scene was flooded with paramedics and cops, and there I was, the guilty party, looking onward as they rushed the dear lady to the hospital. The cop had insisted I go to the hospital, and since I was a scheming, wicked drug addict I thought it was a great idea because I could score some drugs for my injuries, which I would make up when I got there. (I had not suffered even a scratch from a truck hitting me head on at 60 mph in the driver-side door, which in itself was a miracle.) The cops and the doctors went right to work on me, getting the blood sample, which was the only reason he insisted I go, I suspect. A long time later and after some cold stares from the doctors and cops I was informed I had tested positive for drugs. Three months later I got a knock at the door and two state troopers informed me that I was being charged with a third degree felony for the wreck -- aggravated vehicular assault -- which carried one to three years in prison. He also informed me they found seven separate drugs in my system. The good news was the lady I had hit made a full recovery and was doing well, which was good to hear. But now I had a serious problem -- I was now having to pay for all the evil I had done over the years and probably spend at least some time in jail.
So I started getting high like never before. The next few months were like a blur; the amounts of alcohol, cocaine and pills were just enough for me to keep my mind off the charges and jail. I was so gone that I even spent the night before one of my court hearings binging on cocaine and heroin, only to forget about the court appearance later the next day. When I did realize I had to be in court in 20 minutes, I was so high on heroin I was puking every five minutes; going in before the judge that day was not something I liked to think about. This behavior continued for another couple of months. Then my dad finally realized that I was a full-blown drug addict and gave me an ultimatum: Go to rehab or leave his house. I was ready and did not fight. To be honest, I was relieved that he knew. I had been very good at keeping it from him for years. Now God had opened his eyes and the jig was up. I knew that this was a good time to go to rehab -- I had disgraced my family, almost killed a woman, and destroyed my body with drugs. It was now or never. So after calling around for days I could not find a rehab that was willing to take me; then I heard of the place called Teen Challenge -- a 9-12 month program that was Bible-based in its approach to addiction (it's funny, they did not even approach the problem as substance dependence; rather, they went to the root of the problem which is sin!). I was in there three days later.
I spent the next month seeking the face of God and renewing my mind in the word of God; then one day my mom came there and said, "Garrett, all the charges have been dropped; they don't have any substantial proof you were on drugs. Somehow the test results came back from the toxicology report and it showed the drugs were so minimal that there were only traces of them and no sign of cocaine". Which is impossible because I had just been doing cocaine for over 10 hours the night before! The Lord had also touched the woman's heart and she did not work with the prosecutor to bring a conviction against me; she refused to testify. I stayed at Teen Challenge another month after hearing the news, then decided to come home. I got pretty religious for a while -- going to church, staying away from bad influences, as well as staying sober.
I managed about five months sober and I thought I had made it, but one day The Lord spoke to me through a prophetic dream that I was following another Jesus (which can be read here) and shortly after that I began a two-week period of drinking, smoking weed and taking Xanax again. I guess I had not been completely delivered by God from drug addiction; rather, I was sustaining sobriety by my own power and righteousness, which I realized later. So after two weeks I was at work running a machine; I was completely apostate and in the flesh, thinking about when I could get high. That is all I could think about. I had forsaken God and His Word and all I wanted to do was get off work and get a joint. I was so engaged with the thought of getting high I began to break out in a nervous shake that was so visible the foreman even made a comment to me about it. I was terrified. I was right back where I started -- addicted to drugs, and defeated! I could not stop shaking, but I continued to watch the clock and hope that quitting time would come faster so I could get high.
All this time a spiritual battle was going on in the heavenlies for me. God was urging me to repent, confess my sins and stop this madness and come back to Him. The flesh was saying, 'it's too late you have already fallen away and you might as well just forget about ever really being free; it's just not for you'. Then after hours of trembling hands and racing thoughts, I ran outside around the corner of the huge building and hit my knees, raised my arms toward heaven and confessed my sins. I told God I could not go on living like this and I needed Him to take this desire away once and for all or I would not be able to live. I knew that only He could do this, and as I looked toward heaven I was healed. I was instantly healed! The shaking stopped, the sweaty palms dried up, and the thought and urges of getting high were suddenly gone -- and I mean really gone, like they were never there to begin with. I had received a miraculous healing, the kind you always hear about from people but never believed because it did not happen to you. Well, I must say that day I became a believer in God's supernatural healing ability. I spent the rest of the day happy as can be and it felt like I was just released from a demon or something.
That was in the summer of 2006, and I can honestly say I have been healed from the urge to use drugs ever since. It's not even something I think about now. I enjoy being sober and love being free from the bondage of addiction. This is not something that I have to battle daily and claim by faith because this was fully manifested in the physical instantly that same day. I wish I can say all my healing needs were like this, but the truth is they are not. I am still having to fight the good fight of faith for some things, but the truth remains that this was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life because it was so instantaneous.