The following testimonials are from Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge in Minneapolis. Some edits have been made for length.
I struggled with a 15-year addiction to meth, opiates and alcohol prior to coming into Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge (MnTC). My physical health was in shambles and my mental health was unstable. I overdosed and was hospitalized. I had been in over 15 treatment programs. I was disconnected and homeless.
I lost my career as a drug and alcohol counselor. I destroyed my relationships with my family members to the point where no one had contact with me. My father was beginning to plan my funeral. I tried everything and felt like death was the only option. I was truly hopeless.
Aside from surrendering my life to Christ, deciding to come to MnTC was the best choice I ever made. Since I walked in the doors every area of my life that was destroyed by addiction has been, and is being, restored. After graduating MnTC I regained my license as a counselor and have begun working on my ministry license with the Assemblies of God Church.
My friendships are healthy. My family is reconciled. In fact, nine family members have come to know Jesus since my time here! The cycle of addiction truly ends with me. I am stable, happy and hopeful.
I spent more than a year in our Minneapolis women program. The biggest aspect of my recovery, growth and transformation has been my walk with Christ.
When I was nine, my mother found out that my uncle was being inappropriate with me. She took me home and got me high for the first time; the next day she sent me back to my uncle to babysit me. This set the stage for me thinking that getting high when bad things happen was an okay coping tool.
I let my addiction take everything from me. I went from abusive relationship to abusive relationship. Eventually I lost my children because of my addiction, and on more than one occasion my father had to hire a private investigator just to find out if I was alive. I saw no way out. I had become hopeless and complacent about being a drug addict. I thought that was all my life was going to be.
And then I met God, and everything changed! I firmly believe that MnTC is the vessel that God not only put in my life, but in my husband’s life too. We were both born addicted to drugs, we both used at very early ages with our mothers, but we made the decision together that it stops with us.
Now I see miracles every day. I see drug addicts and alcoholics pick up Bibles instead of bottles or their drug of choice. I see mothers that have lost their children get to see them again. And I get to see my husband go through the program and open his heart to Jesus.
In 2010, in the midst of a 10 year long drug addiction, I became the father to a healthy boy named Keenan. At the time, I believed that the sense of responsibility I had for this child would change me, but six months later I was in prison. For the next two years Keenan only knew me by my voice; my only contact with him were phone calls from prison.
When I was released from prison I went straight home, and saw Keenan playing outside; he didn’t recognize me. As soon as I spoke to him he recognized my voice, reached out his arms and smiled. I was so happy to be reunited with him, but I hadn’t changed. My heart and mind remained the same. Decades of drug addiction and a criminal lifestyle led me back to prison. I was in a car accident while high on drugs, violated my parole, and ended up behind bars once again. I remember speaking to my mom, telling her I couldn’t remember the last time I talked to Keenan. I was finally tired of hurting my family and ready to change.
In July of 2016 the prison transport dropped me at the door of MnTC. I was greeted with smiles and encouragement from the staff. I knew at that moment that this was going to be the first day of my new life. That day I started building my relationship with God. Jesus became real to me through the staff at MnTC. I felt like I had known them my entire life and that they understood my struggles. In Jesus I found healing from the past and hope for the future. When Keenan came to visit me, he stretched out his arms and said with a smile, “Daddy.” As we embraced, I was given the confidence that I was finally doing the right thing.
Over my years of addiction and incarceration, the only stability Keenan had in his life was with my parents and my sister and brother-in-law, who cared for him when I couldn’t. I had to make the difficult decision to allow my sister and her family to officially adopt Keenan. I trusted God in this decision and have had no regrets. The beauty of that choice was that it helped to restore the relationships with my family, including Keenan.
I have now graduated the long-term recovery program at MnTC. The best part of my week is Friday, when I get to spend the entire weekend with Keenan. We play sports together and go out to eat. Every Saturday and Sunday morning Keenan sits on my lap and we read a daily devotional and the Bible together. One morning Keenan turned to me and said, “Dad, I am mad at you because you keep going away, but I know that won’t happen anymore so I am not mad at you.” He knew that things had changed.
I now have the strength to be a good dad. I read a book while at MnTC that said, “You will not change until you are about to lose something you cannot live without.” My something was Keenan.
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