I am writing my story for one reason only, and that is to give others in a similar situation hope. I would like everybody to know that no situation is too big or too hopeless for God to handle.
I am 32 years old. I want to tell you of the miracle that took place in my life, but first a bit of background. I was raised in a dysfunctional home.
My father left us when I was eight years old. My mother had a very difficult time trying to raise three kids by herself. I always felt that I did not fit in anywhere. I was always looking for approval but did not find it within my family. When I was in high school, I started looking for approval elsewhere. I just wanted to belong somewhere, and unfortunately I made friends with the wrong people.
I started drinking in grade 8 and dagga and mandrax followed soon enough. I was rebellious and did not want to be disciplined in any way. I use to run away from home. The unhappiness grew and I tried committing suicide a couple of times.
I just wanted attention from my parents but did not get it. I was expelled in grade 11, but got sent to boarding school in another province where I completed high school.
I started hard core drugs after leaving school. Experimenting with Ecstacy, Speed, LSD, Cocaine and Crack. I did not like feeling normal, I wanted to escape reality all the time. I was using drugs every weekend of my life. The weekend soon turned into weekdays as well.
When I turned 21 years old, I started using heroin, and that was the beginning of the end. I did not know that this drug would eventually destroy my whole life. It did not take me long to become totally addicted to this drug. I had to use every day in order to avoid going into physical withdrawal. I injected myself between 4 and six times a day. I would do anything to not feel sick and to get my next fix. I did not use it to get high, just to feel normal and not sick.
I lost everything. I could not hold on to any of my jobs. I lost my flat with three cars. I even lost custody of my son temporarily. I landed up living in the streets of Bellville in Cape Town for seven months. I walked around every single day begging money from people to support my habit. I had hit rock bottom.
A miracle happend! I started crying out to God whilst living on the streets. I begged him to help me. I could not handle being an addict and live on the streets any longer. The feeling of having nowhere to go got too much for me. God, being faithful as He is, heard and answered my prayers.
A Good Samaritan came my way and wanted to know where I stayed. I explained that I slept in front of the video store. He offered me a bed in his home. It was the last time I would sleep on the streets.
I thanked God for a place to stay. I was so grateful to be off the streets. I asked God what am I to do about my real problem, the heroin problem? I was not able to quit without medical help and without anybody noticing. It so happened that I was caught out one night whilst using in my room. I burst into tears and admitted to everything. I told him of my struggles to come off the herion for ten years. My first thought was that he was going to throw me out of his house. Instead, he offered to help. I felt so relieved and praised God.
With his help and that of a doctor I started the detox process and went through hell with the physical withdrawal symptoms. A week and a half later I left for KZN to join a Christian mission centre.
Here I really got to know God. I spent all my time with Him in nature, in His Word and started trusting Him more and more. I got to know myself and started to realise what Jesus had done for us on the cross. God had taken my addiction away. He literally saved me from the claws of death. I want to glorify God’s name because I could not have done any of this without Him. It is due to His mercy and grace that I am still standing strong today.
And it did not stop there. I left the mission and relocated to Johannesburg. Within two weeks God provided me with a job! I have taken up jogging and run 10 kilometre races almost every week.
God gave me back my life. I found approval and acceptance in God. He restored my health. He restored all of my family relationships. He gave me a new mind and a new heart. I put God first in my life, before me, before anything else.
Podcast – Debra Steyn shares with Linda Ritchie on Radio Pulpit about how God saved her