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Hopeless Addict Finds the Power to Get Clean

The words of a hopeless addict.  

“I’m just a junkie,” Brandon said. “That’s all I will ever be.”    

And the family who was trying to save him. Brandon’s mother and father will never forget the day he told them about his addiction, “He said, I got to tell you guys something, I’m shooting up.”

“We just kept saying, this is not what God has intended for you.”

Brandon’s wife Julie did everything she could to help him. “I tried to control him, I tried to love him, I was angry at him. None of it worked. But I would pray for him that God would get a hold of his heart.

Brandon was not always an addict.  The son of a minister, he gave his life to Jesus when he was seven.

Brandon remembers, “I had a strong encounter with God at that time. And became really at a young age on fire for God and had a hunger for him in my life.”

But a storm would come that would shape his life for years.  It happened at a boy’s club sleepover.

“A couple of the older boys molested me and several of the younger boys. it really shook my faith. I blamed myself for not being able to stop it, so there was shame and guilt.”

Embarrassed and afraid, Brandon told no one.  By his early teens, he was using marijuana, alcohol, and sex to dull his pain.     

“I started to do things to validate who I was. Every line that I crossed, I would begin to feel more guilt, more shame and I just continued to spiral and slip further and further from God.”

There was a bright spot in Brandon’s life and her name was Julie.
They met at a church camp, became high school sweethearts, and married shortly after graduation. He still smoked pot and drank on occasion. But in 2008, he found something more effective.

“I got in a bad car accident I really hurt my back. I got sent to pain management and they started prescribing opiates. I took the opiates and the pain went away. It was almost instantly, I was hooked.”

Within the year, Brandon’s drug use had escalated to heroin. He was also selling prescription drugs. Julie had seen signs of addiction, but then she found the needles.   

Julie says, “I think, ‘Lord, he is trying to kill himself.’ There is no hope. I don't know what to do. And so many times I wanted to leave, but I thought, ‘If I leave, he'll die. If I stay, he'll die. Lord, what do I do?’"

In 2010, he was arrested during a drug bust, and sentenced to two years on house arrest. In that time, he and Julie had a daughter, but even becoming a father wasn’t enough to keep him from going back to drugs.

“I absolutely loved her,” Brandon says.  “And I kept trying to quit on my own and I remember looking at her and I couldn’t quit thinking, this little girl is going to be better off without me.”

Over the next several years, Brandon was in and out of jail and rehab, unable to control his addictions.  

“The reason I kept going back was because I wasn’t dealing with the emotional pain that was driving me to do that. And I still had that hurt on the inside. I saw myself as trash.”

Brandon’s mother remembers family’s pain. “Every time the phone rings you think, this is the call that they found him od’d or by the side of the road.”

Through it all, Brandon’s family continued to pray for him.

“The bible talks about calling things that are not as though they are,” Brandon’s dad says. “I would call him and say, ‘hey man of God, what are you up to?’ And he would say, ‘Dad, don’t you know I’m not a man of God, I just shot up, I’m going to end up dead someday.’”

“I remember when he would say that to me, it would hit me right in the heart. Something in my heart said, yes, I want to be a man of God but I don’t see how that is possible.”

All this time there was Julie by his side, crying out to God for her husband. “I just said, ‘Lord, whatever your will is, please let it be done. If it's to save him, save him now. If it's to take him, then take him so we're not hurting and he's not hurting anymore.’”

Then, in 2012, Brandon was placed in Dunklin Christian Rehabilitation Center. One month later, he was returned to jail for violating his probation. When he was released, he quickly resumed his destructive behavior.  That’s when Julie knew it was time to take their daughter and leave. On her way out she sadly reported Brandon for violating his probation again.

As Brandon sat in his lonely jail cell, he remembers the prayer he prayed. “I finally just cried out to God. I don’t care what it looks like, if I go to jail, if I go to prison. I can’t keep doing this. Whatever you want for my life, I’m going to serve you.”   

The next day Brandon stood before the judge

“But I go back to court and you know I had that surrender moment, even still though, I’m standing there shackled and I’m more nervous because I have a daughter now. And I felt something, a presence settles on my shoulders and I just heard a soft whisper, ‘I got this.’ Then, the judge said, ‘I don't know why I'm doing this. But I'm going to suspend the 7-year sentence in lieu of you going back to Dunklin and getting your life back together.’"

It was there with a Christian counselor, Brandon was finally able to talk about his molestation, and break the bonds keeping him in addiction, and learn his true value in Christ.  

“And I walked through forgiveness with the guys who did that and with myself and my God. There is so much freedom in forgiveness. Then, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I no longer saw a junkie, but I saw a father and a husband and a son, somebody that actually had hope.”

Brandon is still drug free and is a sales manager at a national telecommunications company. He spends most of his free time with his beautiful wife and 3 children.

Brandon’s mother smiles and says, “Today, he’s the son that we lost, the little boy that was full of joy.”

“God was just restoring my identity. And telling me you are precious, you are valuable.  He was taking the mess I made and making it into something beautiful, into his own masterpiece.”

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