Finding Hope When All Seems Lost
By Christine McWhorter
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Young Johnny Callicott always loved being with his father. So when his parents divorced years later, Johnny was crushed. “When an adolescent needs guidance from his father, he’s not there.”
Johnny lived with his mother but rarely saw his father after the divorce. Music brought him comfort. His love for music started as a child. “I started playing drums when I was about six. I got my first little toy kit and played the radio, and I would just play along with it. I could pick up what the drummer was doing.”
In his teens, Johnny started a garage band. His skill grew over the years, and he became a professional drummer. The attention was intoxicating. “I think I was seeking attention from everybody because of the situation that happened with my father. That’s when the cocaine came in the picture. I loved it. I loved the way it made me feel. It made me feel like I was six feet tall and I could open up conversations with everybody and anybody, and just be the life of the party.”
But the drugs and alcohol had a harrowing downside. “It was literally destroying me physically. Not only was it destroying me physically, but my mind as well. I couldn’t remember where I was in the song sometimes, like, ‘Is that the first chorus or the second chorus?’ ‘Is this the end?’ and I would be messing up. So inevitably, my ability was no longer needed.”
Eventually he lost his music career. The women, the fame, and the crowds all vanished. “(I was) Very disappointed in myself. Because I had worked so hard to get to that point and I was throwing it all away. And I knew I was, but I had become addicted to the alcohol and the drug and I couldn’t’ stop.”
Johnny’s addictions made even daily, routine tasks difficult. “I went from job to job to job to job. I never had a problem finding a job; I had a problem keeping them. I’d do good for about four or five days and I’d just, ‘I gotta go out.’ And I’d get drunk and I’d go get high.”
He often checked into faith based rehabs. At one clinic after seeing some of the progress of the former addicts, he decided to give his life to Christ. “I really started to look to God on a daily basis and pray to Him and ask Him to guide me through this day and give me the strength to not to want to leave this place and go use again, and get on this path.”
But the addiction was strong and he always ended up back on the street. “I wasn’t staying there long enough to let God do His work. I would say, ‘I’ve given You eight months God. I’m done here. I going to take the wheel now. Let me drive.’ And I’d drive myself right back into a hole.”
“When my father was on his deathbed – He’d battled cancer for about two or three years – and I remember receiving a call from my uncle saying ‘Listen, they’ve given your father like two hours to live.’ And my addiction at that time was so severe and so selfish and so all about me that I didn’t even go. It’s a regret that I live with. I gave up. I gave up on ever being clean. I gave up on ever being the man God created me to be.”
One night his brother called. “He asked if I was ready to give God another chance. In my heart, in my mind, I thought, ‘No way.’ But out of my mouth said the word yes.”
His brother then helped Johnny contact Circle of Love, a faith based rehab center. “This place had a chapel and had a brand new set of drums in it and a piano. I would get in there and practice hour after hour. Every time I had an opportunity to get into that chapel and play the instruments, I would.”
Johnny began writing worship songs and spent time reading the Bible. “It was probably the most emotional time of my life ever, because I wept on a daily basis there. Not weeping in a sad way, but weeping of, what God is doing in my life and seeing what He’s doing in others around me. Yeah, God really filled me up there.”
He stayed at Circle of Love for two years. By the time he was released, Johnny was free from his addictions. “It was really an awesome experience. It was rough at times but God was stronger. God knew my heart for music. He knew that would keep me there.”
Today Johnny is married to Lisa. He says he has a renewed relationship with God, and a new sense of purpose. “He’s the one that is changing me and making me a better person. Without Him, I can’t do anything and that’s it. He understands me and He knows me. He always forgives me. And, He always gives me another chance to make it right.”
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