17 Nov Phillip’s Story
We are honored to post our newest story of life transformation here at Shenandoah Valley Adult & Teen Challenge in Virginia. We hope you enjoy Phillip’s story on how God changed his life!
What is your first name?
How long have you been in the program?
I am a graduate of Teen Challenge and am in what is considered restoration, which (in my case) means after completing the program, small compromises led to larger compromises and I found myself in a very regretful and familiar position; in need of help.
Tell us a little about your upbringing?
My family is amazing and supportive in every aspect imaginable. I was raised to be respectful of authority. As a young person, I never had a real problem obeying or doing what I was supposed to do. I began writing music at a young age which helped me work through some challenges of my youth, and still helps me to this day.
When did you start using drugs?
I started drinking when I was pretty young, which was after my parents divorce. It started as just a “little sip here” and a “little sip there.” No one thinks that those little sips turn into the pages of your testimony about addiction at the time. As I grew older, I began drinking more heavily and soon it turned into a 16 year struggle with addiction, depression, suicidal thoughts and more – which at times seemed to be a loosing fight. But God…
What led to you making the choice to use drugs?
From a young age I viewed the world as a place that I just did not fit in; I didn’t belong. Those feelings never went away. No matter the success that I had, or how much I was encouraged by others, living life was just something to endure. There was is a common phrase used: “Life is a gift.” I 100% disagreed!
As I continued to discover life and tried to figure out who I was, alcohol seemed to, well, not really help me find the answers but helped me forget my need for the question in the first place.
Pretty soon, alcohol started to be the governing force of my life. I thought that once I graduated Teen Challenge my life would be different. I mean, God saved me from so much already, and now that I have all of the “training” I should be good, right? I was mistaken. Soon those same feelings of doubt, confusion and despair came flooding back, and all that I learned and even taught others was put on the shelf of my heart to collect dust. Although surrounded with godly people, I did not reach out to let them know what was going on inside. The secret to effective accountability and community is that you need to use them in order for them to work. I knew that, but I believed the lies that “…They wouldn’t understand,” and, “…My situation is different,” and “I’m strong enough to do this on my own.” About them all I was mistaken.
What was your rock bottom that brought you back to teen challenge?
The funny thing about rock bottom is that you always hope that you have already reached it. It is when you go past your “last rock bottom” that you are faced with extremely sobering facts and decisions.
All of my life there was still this place in my heart where confusion outweighed what God was trying to do in my life. I hated myself. I hated the way that I looked. I hated the way that I walked. I hated the way that I talked. Everything. It didn’t matter how talented I was, how skilled I was, I hated me. The feeling of “different” & “alone” triumphantly and continuously overpowered “wonderfully made” & “loved.” I could sing about them. I could teach about them. I could tell about them, but in my heart I was disqualified from achieving them. But deep inside I was desperate to believe that God must have a plan for my life which did not include confusion, depression, sorrow and purposelessness.
That night, walking out of the correctional facility, my brother leaned over and said, “You alright, bro?” With a knot in my throat and tears forming in my eyes, I blinked rapidly, exhaled, and (like clock work) said, “Yeah. I’m fine!” Absolutely nothing was further from the truth.
What just happened? I was in disbelief. Had I just spent 40 days in a correctional facility? Am I really now on probation for the first time? Did I just put my family and friends through this worry AGAIN? Like the prodigal son, did I just I just waste my inheritance of freedom? This isn’t supposed to be happening! AM I SERIOUS? REALLY???
As I processed all of this, God kept encouraging me to keep moving. He said, “If the race is over, there is no reason to get up when you fall; but the race is not over, SO GET UP!”
It was in this moment that a clear decision needed to be made. Despite all of my confusion; regardless of all of my fears; even if I didn’t understand, swallowing all of my pride, will I let God take control of my life again?
I contacted Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge and said yes to the next step of God’s plan for me. While at SVTC God has continued to remind me of how precious I am to Him. He is showing me that even though I have made some unfortunate, sad, heartbreakingly bad mistakes, He STILL has plans for me and that if I trust Him, He will continue to prove Himself faithful & strong in my life.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are simply to let God lead. His plans for me are better than mine could ever be!
Psalm 116:7 “Be at rest once again, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
What is one piece of advice would you give to an addict that might be reading this right now?
To the addict who may be reading this right now: You are loved. You are important. You are valuable. You are not disqualified from the love of God. It will be difficult. It will be hard and may be painful; but the fight for freedom is worth it. The years ahead can be filled with more peace & joy than the years behind – and if you run and fall, get up! The race is not over!