More from our continuing "Salvation from Addiction" segment on drug addiction and recovery

As part of our continuing 'Salvation from Addiction' series on drug addiction and recovery, we want to share with you these two testimonials that were sent to us from two men who found there way out of addiction with the help of faith and FreedWay Ministries.

 Addiction is an evil plaguing every corner of society, from inner cities to small rural communities like our own. The addiction demon comes in all forms, not just illegal drugs. Alcohol, legally prescribed drugs, and even food can have a debilitating effect on our lives when they transform from moderate use to soul consuming addiction. Winning the battle starts with awareness and this series aims to raise that awareness in our community. It's a sickness that affects all of us, affecting every family in some form or another.

The following testimonials help show there is hope for everyone. There is way out, all you have to do is recognize its there and follow it. That light comes in many forms, you just have to find that light that touches you and let it lead you out of the darkness. We hope you find meaning and hope in these two stories.

'I believed everyone had given up on me'

"I live at The Home Of Hope. After eight years in and out of prison I had come to believe that no one cared. Everyone that I had known, had given up on me. 

I had come to know and accepted Christ into my life during my last 3 ½ year stint in prison. It was not a cut and dry process for me. I approached the Bible study classes with doubt and distrust. You see, I had been brought up that Christians were weak and cowards who could not deal with life. I had no real idea about living a Christian life. I always avoided Christians. Therefore, the only thing I thought I knew about Christian living was that it was boring and people avoided you. 

During my last three months of prison time I started thinking seriously about what I was going to do when I got out. I was tired of not having any real friends, I was tired of disappointing my family and myself, I was tired of not believing in anything or anyone. 

I prayed for guidance and the Holy Spirit prompted me to make a choice. So, I made a conscious decision to spend some time on learning about how Christians live. 

That is when I met Chaplain Lloyd Blanton. I was doing time at Grimes Unit. I later wrote to Chaplain Blanton and explained that I would soon be flat on my sentence and wanted to live around Christians in order to get some foundation towards understanding what it meant to be a Christian. As I said at the first of this letter I had been studying scripture while inside but I had never been involved in Christian circles in the free world. 

After a few letters to Chap explaining why I wanted to live at FreedomsWay’s Home of Hope, he and his wife Linda agreed to let me enter their home and also their family. 

To tell the truth I was kind of freaked out about living in someone else’s home. What freaked me out even more though was the acceptance and kindness I was greeted with. I moved in with these strangers and for the first couple of weeks I felt a little uneasy. 

After making it through a Blanton’s Christmas, which became a whirlwind of people and activities focused on celebrating the birth of Christ and showing a genuine love and bonding between everyone; which included old friends and family as well as new friends. I say new friends because even strangers became new friends in an instance. I actually was a little overwhelmed by the unpretentious interest and caring that this family showed for others. 

Being among these people during the Christmas holiday not only opened my eyes to the true meaning of Christmas among Christians but I have witnessed these friends and family continue to offer each other the same love and concern for each other in their daily lives. 

I still have some old habits and beliefs that sometimes brings turmoil back into my life. I work on these daily and I am becoming more confident in my walk with Christ. I have learned many things about letting God into my life by being among those that live in The Home Of Hope. 

One of the most powerful lessons I have learned is that God’s faithfulness is awesome and unfailing. God can not and will not ever be unfaithful to His word. We are the ones that are unfaithful and get ourselves into all kinds of jams and dilemmas. 

In the past when I had troubles my so called friends would disappear until I was back on my feet. But my new Christian circle of friends, while they may be disappointed in me, their first concern is to help me with my failings. 

Because of the Blanton’s and The Home Of Hope, I have come to believe through faith that all things are possible through Christ. The best thing I have learned about living as a Christian at The Home of Hope is that I can completely depend on God and that if I call on Him I will never again be alone, in this world, or the hereafter! 

Thanks to all of you who pray for and support all the ministries that FreedomWay is doing. I owe you a lot in Jesus!" 

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'I sold everything I that I had to feed my habit' 

"First of all, I would like to thank Bro. Lloyd and Mrs. Linda and FreedomWay for giving me the opportunity of a second chance in life, faith, hope. 

My life changed after the loss of my beloved daughter, Carla. I turned to drugs, to kill the pain of her death. After the law suit settlement, it made it easy to get more drugs. I bought nice things, truck, boat, paid off the house, started a business and more drugs. Then I got caught with drugs in my house. Then DHS took my two kids away from me. That really hurt more because I let it happen. So I would leave town to go gambling, and lost what money I had left. 

I sold everything that I had to feed my habit (drugs, gambling, women). Then before I knew it, everything was gone. The checks were bouncing. I had no money to cover the checks, so the police picked me up on hot checks. I spent six months in county jails. 

In that time I began to see what I had done, the people I had hurt, my family, my children. My mother would not get me out of jail. But now that my mind is clear I understand why she did what she did. (Thank you mother.) 

I knew right away that jail was not for me. That’s when I met Chaplain Lloyd. I put my faith in the Lord. 

When I finally got out of jail I had no place to go, no truck, no home, no job. So I called my mother. She would not let me stay with her again. Again, I didn’t blame her. I knew that I had lied to her many times. 

Her advise to me was to call Bro. Lloyd and FreedomWay. I now have a place to lay my head at nights, with the Blantons and I have a good job. Bro. Lloyd also has a recovery program that I attend called Celebrate Recovery. 

Life is looking better for me now. I have set some goals in my life. One of them is to earn the trust of my family and get my children back. I love my kids." 

If you have or had an addiction, or are a family member or friend that has been affected by someone with an addiction, reach out to me at jjackson@thesuntimes.com or call at 501-362-2425 and we'll help you get your message out to the community. All stories will be published anonymously. Only by humanizing this devastating disease can we foster understanding and fight back against this killer of families and community.