I learned about hope when I was struggling with addiction to pain medicine. Anyone who has dealt with addiction knows it is a miserable life. I remember waking up every morning and my first thought was always, “Where will I get pain pills today?” The fear of withdrawal keeps you pursuing day after day.
Suicide was an ever present thought! But one thing kept me from it, HOPE – the hope that God would somehow save me from this craving that ruled me like a slave driver and I would once again feel alive and free. I discovered a verse in the bible a few months after God delivered me that described those feelings perfectly:
“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”
If you know someone that is out in the world in bondage to some form of addiction, pray that verse over them. Ask God to put that hope in that person’s heart.
My Loving Mother
I had just moved back to Greenville, South Carolina and was living with my parents. I got a job working for the Greenville Hospital System in the Mental Health Facility as a residential counselor for young children. I enjoyed the job, and I was happy to be home!
But then, two things happened; my mom got very sick and I needed to have some minor exploratory surgery. As it became clear that my mom was not going to get better, I found myself taking the pain medicine I had been given after surgery, to treat my emotional pain.
Three days before my mom died, we found out that it was just a matter of time. I was determined that she would leave this world with the assurance that I would be okay. I wanted her to die in peace. At one point, I was the only one in the room with her. I walked up beside her bed and softly said, “Momma!” She opened her eyes and at first she looked concerned. I looked straight at her and said, “I am going to be okay. I will be okay!” Now, you have to understand, I did not believe what I was saying. She looked back at me and her countenance changed. She shook her head yes, and I saw complete peace on her face. It was as if she knew something I didn’t know.
I have never forgotten that look on her face. It was obvious that the peace she had, did not come from me. It perplexed me for a long time because what I saw on her face was diametrically opposed to the reality I was about to go through. I realized a couple years later, that God had shown her that He had me and I was going to be more than okay.
My Descent into Hell
The day we had the visitation at the funeral home for my mom was the day that I wrote my first fraudulent prescription for pain medicine. Unfortunately, I was good at it and that first prescription was the first of many to come.
I could share a lot of details of my life as an addict and just how horrible the day to day life of an addict is but that is not my purpose in writing this article. I want share the details of how God saved me from that horrible life and I want to give hope to people out there who struggle with addiction. God will come and deliver you; all you have to do is want to be free and cry out to Him with everything that is in you!
Those of you who are parents, if you heard your child cry out and call your name, would you not drop whatever you were doing and run to them. That’s what God does when one of us calls out to Him in desperation!
He Reached Down from Heaven…
He then reached down from heaven, all the way from the sky to the sea. He reached down into my darkness to rescue me! He took me out of my calamity and chaos and drew me to Himself, taking me from the depths of my despair! -Psalm 18:16(TPT)
My deliverance from drug addiction happened in two stages. I found myself just existing and then one night I was watching that show called Touched by an Angel. In the episode I watched, there was a girl who was addicted to heroin and the angels helped her get clean and free. I kept thinking how I wished God would send me an angel to help me.
Up until that point, I hadn’t cried out to God but after seeing that episode of Touched by an Angel, something in me broke and I fell to my knees, looked up and cried out, “God, whatever it takes, please set me free.” The very next day, I got arrested and I knew God had come.
My dad immediately got me out of jail and took me to a detox center. I got clean and came home and I asked a woman I had recently met, what church she went to because there was just something about her like she had peace inside her. She invited me to go the next Sunday.
I walked in Redemption World Outreach Center that Sunday. Praise and Worship time started and what I felt, I don’t have the words to explain but tears just starting pouring from my eyes and I knew I belonged there. I joined immediately and I started to feel hope and happiness for the first time in a long time. But as I said, my deliverance happened in two stages. I believe God had me experience Him at church like that so I would have something to hold on to because I had not yet hit my rock bottom and my addiction was about to get even worse.
I don’t even know what caused me to take drugs again for the first time but I did, and it got worse than it was before very quickly. I tried to keep going to church while I was taking drugs but that didn’t last long. It got to the point that every waking moment was spent getting more pills. I had gotten to the point where I was taking 60 pain pills a day and on top of that I was taking amphetamines also known as speed. I was taking those to stay awake, and they also increased the euphoric feeling of the pain pills.
I was scared to cry out to God because I didn’t want to get arrested again but I felt God with me the whole time. It wasn’t like how I would feel Him in church but I knew He was with me. Every pharmacy I went in, He was there. I felt His love and I never felt anger from Him. I wanted to go back to church so much and one night, I just picked up the phone and called some TV ministry for pray. The woman on the other end was so kind, and she prayed for me and asked God to help me. Well, this time I was not arrested the next day. I was caught and arrested five days later!
I was picked up by the police at a 24-hour pharmacy in the middle of the night. All I could think about was how I didn’t want to have to call my dad. I did not want to hurt him. I told the policeman that, and he said he would try to get the judge to let me sign my own bond so I could leave. Then he put me in a holding cell to wait to be arraigned.
I cried out to God and I begged Him to please have the judge let me sign my own bond so that I would not have to call my dad. I told God that I would get help the next day. All of a sudden, it was like the holding cell had no ceiling, and I felt God come down. I felt Him just like I would feel Him in church but even stronger and then I heard Him. I don’t know if it was out loud or in my heart but I heard Him. It sounded as if He was crying when He spoke and He said, “I can’t let you go. I love you too much!”
So the judge did not release me, and I did have to call my dad. Once again, he came and got me, and took me to the detox center. I was very blessed to have such a forgiving dad!
Direction from God
After I got out of detox, all I wanted to do was get back to church and experience God the way I used to but Sunday was six days away so I decided to attend Narcotics Anonymous. I sat there and listened to people get up one after the other and announce how they were drug addicts. It was depressing to me and I just had to leave.
I got in my car and just started driving and praying. I told God that there just had to be a better way than to call myself a drug addict the rest of my life. All of a sudden, I heard God again; He said, “Go to church!” But I told Him, “God, it’s Tuesday night. Nobody’s going to be there.” Then He said, “Go to church. They are waiting for you!” Well, at this point, I knew that I was about to find out if I was crazy or if I was really hearing God so I said, “Okay, I’ll go!”
It had been nine months since I had been there. I pulled into the parking lot and saw some cars but not a lot. The church has several buildings so I decided to go to the main sanctuary. I was walking towards the door and I heard my name. I looked around and saw a group of people waving at me and calling my name. I went over to them and they said, “We were in there praying for you just now and we just knew you would come back but we didn’t expect to walk out here and see you!” I told them about God telling me to come there that night because people were waiting on me and we all just stood there amazed and in awe!
God’s Awesome Power
Sunday finally came and I couldn’t wait to get to church. I want to point out that I learned a long time ago that I don’t have to wait for a church service to enter into God’s Presence but I was still new to all of it back then.
The Praise and Worship started and His awesome Presence entered the room. I was standing out in the aisle beside the seats. I lifted up my hands and told God, “I want You Lord. I want You more than anything!” As I stood there with my arms raised, I felt something come into my hands. The only way I can explain it is that it felt like power. The strongest power I had ever known. I could feel the power move my hands but at the same time it was gentle. I felt it move down my arms and all the way down to my feet. When it hit my feet, I flew backwards and hit the ground.
While I was on the ground, God gave me a vision. I looked up and I saw God’s Throne. He was sitting there and I saw Jesus beside Him. I could see two separate people but They were also connected by something that enveloped both of Them and God showed me that it was the Holy Spirit enveloping Them and making Them One!
Normally when someone detoxes from high doses of opioids like I did, it takes about six months for the withdrawal symptoms to completely end. The first three days are absolutely horrendous but there are cramps and pain in the joints for about six months. However, after God’s power went through my body that day, I did not have one more withdrawal symptom. My life changed that day. In addition to physically healing me, God put a sense of purpose in me that day. I knew my number one purpose for being on this earth was to share the Grace and Truth of Jesus Christ!
Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you have at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
Yours In Christ,
Shiloh Mandi Griffin, M.Ed.
Founder of PrayingProphet.net