From Prison to Pastor

As a former atheist and addict, I never thought I would ever be a Christian with over eighteen years of sobriety, much less a Pastor. I also never thought I would serve a life sentence in prison, but that’s exactly what happened to me.

While I was in High School, I drank on the weekends and smoked marijuana occasionally. Then when I went to college, the floodgates of alcoholism and drug addiction opened up. I was getting high and drunk all of the time. During my senior year, I tried cocaine for the first time and was instantly hooked. I couldn’t get enough of it, staying up for days at a time, and losing over forty pounds in the process.

In an effort to support my expensive habit, I started selling drugs. One night, one of my customers tried to rob me at gunpoint. Not wanting to hand over the drugs and money, I opted for grabbing the gun I had on me and started shooting at him instead. After the bullets ran out, I was still alive but he was not. I never thought my...

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Megan's Story of Hope

My name is Megan. I am 32 years old and I am from Amarillo, Texas.

I was molested by a neighbor when I was 8 years old. He got me drunk on pina coladas and he told me they were snocones. I was spending the night over there because his neice was there. I never told anyone.

From that point on I always sought love and acceptance from all the wrong people, places, and things as well as being very rebellious, especially at school.

I got pregnant with Andrew my senior year of high school and dropped out. I got my GED a year later.

I dabbled with drinking, pills, and weed but it was never really a problem.

I met a man and fell in love. While we were together he lost his son to SIDS. He moved away to North Carolina. I found out I was pregnant shortly after but I never told anyone. About 5 or 6 months into that pregnancy I lost the baby, a little boy I named Ezra Blake. I didn't even tell his father that I was pregnant and I didn't because I saw how it destroyed him when he lost one of his...

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John Arnold - Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge Alumni Spotlight

One of the greatest joys is to get to hear stories of the Alumni of Shenandoah Valley Teen Challenge still serving the Lord several years later. 

One of our team members recently was able to catch up with John Arnold, a 2015 graduate and got a few encouraging words from him. 

For all of those that support us at SVTC, thank you. These are the testimonies of life transformation that take place because of YOU!!

Alumni Spotlight - John Arnold

For most of my teenage years and beyond I bought into anything the world had to offer.

I thought that with the right amount/combination of drugs, the right job, the right amount of money, living in the right city, the right relationship, the right friends etc. would give me happiness.

I searched for that combination for almost 10 years and never found it.

I remember my mom coming to visit me one weekend and just completely breaking down.

I had been trying for so many years to keep it together but couldn’t...

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How to Fix Myself when Someone I Love Is in Rehab

Imagine being in the trenches of war for years then suddenly finding yourself back at home in the comforts of your own living room.

What would you do? Relax, breathe, recalibrate, do things you enjoy?

If you’ve been in the up and down battle of helping an addict through and addiction, then you can relate to war. It’s tiring. Stressful. Difficult. And at times, unbearable.

If, however, the addict has gone to a rehab like Adult and Teen Challenge, it’s as if you are back in the comforts of your own home. Instead of the daily battle, you are able to rest, refresh, restart, and renew.

And honestly, the addict is not the only one who needs healing in this situation. You do too. And now that the person is in rehab, you finally have the change to do that.

The question, however, is how?

What can be done to fix all the damage while the person I love is away getting help?

There are actually 3 ways to find healing for yourself and to prepare you for what lies ahead.

...

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Whose Fault Is Their Addiction Anyway?

Have you ever been blamed for someone’s decision to abuse drugs or alcohol?

Perhaps the all too familiar you made me do it is something you’ve heard a time or two.

The truth of the matter is that you are not, and should never be, responsible for another person’s decisions.

To deal with this sort of backlash, we must first understand it for the 3 things it really is.

Manipulation

An addict always wants a second chance. Another night to stay. One more dollar to spare. And if they can convince you that you’re the reason they relapsed, you are much more likely to give in to their demands. Why? Because it’s your fault so you should compensate for your fault in the matter, right?

Of course not. But that’s what they are hoping to make you feel.

Avoidance

Nobody wants to admit that they are the reason something went wrong. Car accidents are always the other driver’s fault. Bad grades are the teacher’s fault. And the cycle continues.

...

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Am I Crazy for Supporting the Addict I Love?

It’s always easy for someone to tell someone else what they’d do in their situation. Especially when they aren’t in the situation themselves.

The all too familiar, If I were you I would…, is common in these scenarios.

But honestly, if they were us they don’t have a clue what they would do.

And that’s why they don’t understand that we love someone who struggles through an addiction.

Sure, the addict hurts us time and time again. We forgive them. They do it again. All the while, our friends and family witness the cycle and wonder whether we’ve lost our minds or not.

They tell us to quit, to move on, and to stop living in this situation. Our friends tell us the case is hopeless and that the addict will never change. Our family says we should stop allowing this person to hurt us so much.

And all of them tell us we’re crazy.

But the truth is that we aren’t crazy. We just believe in some things that seem crazy from the outside...

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Relationships and Sobriety: Should I Date Someone During Recovery?

 

No one wants to be alone.

We all want to love and be loved. This is actually a God-thing. He created us this way. So, wanting to be in a relationship is a good thing.

But a good thing at the wrong time is a bad thing.

And a good thing with the wrong person is a worse thing.

Since many of us going through recovery want to know whether we should date or not, it’s important that we address two big issues about this topic: who and when?

  1. Who

Who you decide to spend your life with is the second most important decision you will ever make in your life. (The first is where you decide to spend eternity). The spouse you choose will have a greater impact (either for the better or the worse) in your life than any other person ever will. So, who you date is a very important decision.

Let’s first look at what the Bible has to say about this. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, it says not to “be unequally yoked” (ESV). That means that two people in a relationship need to be...

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Raising Grandchildren When Your Child Is Addicted

Could there be something greater than winning a million dollars?

What about the likelihood of finding something better than a treasure chest full of gold under your house?

Would it be possible to think of anything greater than being granted endless health forever?

Some people may say no. But a certain group of people would say absolutely, yes!

They would say that there is something better than riches, health, and anything else you could think of combined.

But who would say such a thing? Grandparents. The grandmother or grandfather would tell you that having a grandbaby is better than all of that and more.

And sometimes, these grandparents have the opportunity not only to love their grandchildren but to raise them as well. However, this is typically the case in less than favorable circumstances. Raising the grandbaby no doubt is a wonderful experience, but typically this happens then the grandparent’s child (the grandbaby’s parent) passes on before his or her time.

The...

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Sustaining Sobriety Beyond Rehab

If you had to guess what the two hardest words for a recovering addict are, what would you say?

I’ll give you a hint. It’s not bar and room. It’s not old and friends. It’s not even drugs and alcohol.

The two most difficult words a recovering addict must deal with are these: what now? What now is the turning point. It’s the axis. The mark in the road. The line in the sand.

You are fresh out of rehab. You just finished up a program like Shenandoah Valley Adult & Teen Challenge.

You are motivated to maintain your sobriety.

But you are facing the daunting task of what to do now.

Too often, we set down a list of rules and guidelines that we tell ourselves we’ll follow. Don’t go to so-and-so’s house. Don’t stay out past 10pm. Etc. But what do we do? We stay out late, we go to so-and-so’s house, and we end up doing Etc.

Rather than living by a list of rules, what if we decided to live what we can call The Great Exchange? This...

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The Hidden Meaning of Grace

Have you ever heard a word so often that you almost forgot its meaning?

Some words are tossed around and used in so many different contexts that it becomes easy to lose sight of all the ideas wrapped up inside of a single word.

Additionally, words also have implied meanings. Consider, as examples, terrible tragedy, future plans, and true facts. These words are redundant because the elaborated meanings added by the additional words are already contained within the words. Let me explain.

A tragedy is terrible. No need to call it terrible. Plans are for the future, no need to call them future plans. And facts are true, no need to call them true.

You see, words have meanings contained within them already. And taking those meanings away would actually change the word. For example, if we took “true” away from facts we’d no longer have facts, just opinions.

But what does that have to do with helping someone we love who is dealing with an addiction?

Actually, a lot.

You...

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