Kele Sewell: 'I Should Be Dead'
By Ken Hulme
The 700 Club
Kele Sewell never intended for alcohol to define him or push him to the brink of suicide. But it did. With genetics conspiring against him, he turned into an alcoholic just like his father before him. It all started while he was still very young.
“I was surrounded by alcohol," he tells The 700 Club. "The refrigerator was full of beer, many times. I remember as a toddler going to the refrigerator, reaching up, taking a beer down and taking it to my dad. He would leave it open and I would take sips out of it myself. I remember drinking a full beer at 6 or 7 years old.”
Kele had few friends growing up. That had a lot to do with not being able to bring friends home and a childhood filled with his dad’s broken promises.
“I loved him very much. He was a kind man, but as a child I learned that I couldn’t count on him because he had a problem. And I said that would never be me.
“Looking back, I had a void in my life. I had a hole inside me. There was something missing. I didn’t know what it was. But, I was always pursuing that something to put inside there.
By the time he become a teenager, Kele was filling that void with football, friends, and beer. Any promises he had made to himself about not becoming an alcoholic were quickly fading.
“When they would drink one beer, I would drink two, and I very naturally fit right into that role. I was a partier.”
At age 17, Kele was introduced to prescription pain pills after an operation. When they ran out, he found other sources.
“I got to the point where I became addicted. I went from taking things to feel better to taking things because I had to.”
Kele had always done well in school, which made it easy to mask his drug and alcohol addictions. He even managed to graduate from medical school without anyone knowing he had a problem. But Kele knew.
“I just didn’t want to live like I was. I was so ashamed. The shame and the guilt were like carrying around 10,000 pounds on my shoulders. And I was so ashamed that I had become like my dad.”
Kele did become a doctor. He married, had a daughter and later divorced. As each year passed, he became more hopeless and convinced he would never change. Eventually he decided on suicide.
“I thought the world would be better off without me and certainly my family would be better off without me. My daughter would get a million dollars and she would be in great shape, I thought. That was my mindset. So I went in the closet and put a gun in my mouth 'cause I was gonna shoot myself and my daughter walked in and I put the gun away.”
Kele finally decided he needed professional help and went to an outpatient alcohol treatment center. There, he found a Bible.
“I just picked it up and opened it. I didn’t know what I was reading. I couldn’t read it. I was hurting so bad. I got in my car and I drove around. I didn’t know what I was gonna do. I’ve never been so lost in my life.”
“I screamed in my car, ‘God help me! God help me!’ as loud as I could scream. And something happened.”
A few days later, Kele turned on the TV and began to watch a Christian program.
“It was called The 700 Club. I’d never watched the show or paid any attention to it. Gordon [Robertson] said, ‘If you were to die today, where are you going to spend eternity?’ I couldn’t answer that question. I had no idea. He said, ‘If you don’t know, pray with me.’”
Kele prayed to receive Jesus as his Savior that day. Over the next few weeks, as he continued to watch The 700 Club, the truth of God’s forgiveness began to sink in.
“It gave me a tremendous sense of peace. I hear this and I know some people may not believe it. But I promise, I went outside and looked and the sky was blue and the grass was green, and it hadn’t been that way for a long time.
It’s now been almost a decade since Kele prayed to become a Christian.
“God set me free from the bondage and the slavery of addiction. I fully believe that I was demon possessed. I was doing things I didn’t want to do. And that’s gone. I’m free of that.”
Kele’s relationship with his dad has been restored too. They enjoy working together on projects and simply doing what fathers and sons are meant to do.
“My dad called me one day and said, ‘Do you read the Bible?” I said, ‘I do.’ I had to sit down. He said, ‘I found a guy on television who reads the Bible, and I listen to him.’ I said,’ Well, what do you hear?’ And he said, ‘I’m sorry.’ And from that day forward, that was about sven years ago, he’s been my best friend.”
Today Kele is involved in a successful medical practice and has even authored several books. But he says all of that means nothing without the faith that has made him into a whole person.
"I found what I was looking for. I found God. I was substituting football, money, alcohol, drugs for God. I found it. I should be dead. I should be dead. There is no reason for me to be on this earth other than the absolute, unwavering kindness of Jesus Christ."
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