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Meeting God in Rehab
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
Anthony Darden lived for two years as a homeless crack addict. Most of the time he lived in a drug induced fog. Sometimes he would walk for miles to go to a hospital emergency room just to get out of the rain. “And I would go in the bathroom and stay for awhile until I got dried off, then I’d go in there and sit with other people like I was there with somebody,” says Anthony.
Anthony took me to where he spent most nights living on the streets of Goldsboro, NC.
CBN Reporter Michelle Wilson asks, “When you’re in that drug induced state and you’re homeless, do you think about the hopelessness of your situation or do you just think about that next high?”
“Well you kind of thinking about different things,” says Anthony. “The addiction is making you think about the next high. But at the same time by the time I began to be homeless I’m in a state that it’s not fun no more.”
Anthony’s life seemed destined for trouble even from the very beginning. He was born in a health clinic to a teenage mother. His grandmother helped to raise him. But she died when he was nine years old. Anthony recalls, “I can remember going out the back of the house sitting down crying for hours, not knowing what I was going to do.”
Anthony’s mother assumed responsibility for her son but in reality she couldn’t adequately provide for his needs. Anthony remembers the night when he was 11 and an older male cousin came over and sexually molested him. He never told anyone what happened that night. Anthony says, “And I always wondered, ‘why me? Why did God allow this to happen to me?’”
Anthony never knew his father so he began hanging around his uncles who all used drugs. By the time he was 14, he was smoking marijuana. By 18, he’d dropped out of school and was snorting cocaine and drinking alcoholic almost every day. “It medicated the pain and it made me forget about the things that was internally eating at me,” says Anthony.
One night, Anthony confronted a drug dealer whom he’d stolen from and that decision nearly cost him his life. Anthony remembers, “Before I could get up to him, he hollered and a bunch of his other buddies that sold drugs started chasing me down the block shooting at me and I kept running cause I didn’t have no gun on me to shoot back. When I was running I was thinking, ‘This is it. I’m getting ready to die.’”
Anthony jumped behind a bush to hide. Anthony remembers, “And they was just walking around the house cursing; mad because they couldn’t see me because they knew I should have been there. And they walked right up to me and were looking right at me but they couldn’t see me. All I know is God made it where they couldn’t see me. And that right there was like a turning point too because I knew I was dead that night.”
But that wasn’t enough to make Anthony stop using drugs. He started dealing at this trailer park – which at the time was known as a haven for drug users. It was here that Anthony also thought about ending his life. “I said, ‘Well God, if You don’t help me, if You’re real, if You don’t help me, I’m going to end it all. I’m going to go get my pistol. I’m just going to kill myself, nobody don’t care about me no way.’ I kept thinking about that until I finally drifted off to sleep.”
When Anthony woke up he says something had changed. He says, “I began to hear a voice telling me to ‘Stop running from Me and the purpose I have for you.’ I knew if I didn’t come that time I wouldn’t be here today. And I just started talking to God and I told Him, I said, ‘Lord, if You’re real, I need You to help me not to get high no more. And if You do it, I’ll tell everybody what You done for me, and I’ll do what You tell me to do.’”
Anthony went to rehab and 3 weeks later surrendered his life to God. Anthony recalls, “I remember confessing that ‘Lord, I’m a sinner. I do believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I ask You Lord Jesus to come into my heart and save me. And I commit my life to You from this day forward.’ I knew I would never get high again. I knew I would never have to go back to another treatment program because the desire for drugs and alcohol had left.”
Today, Anthony is married and has been drug free for 15 years. “When nobody else could help me, God did,” says Anthony. God reached down and he touched my life. And no matter what you’ve been through, no matter what you’ve done, God is waiting for you to just come to Him. He said, ‘Come unto Me all ye that are heavy laden, and overburdened, and I will give you rest.’ So I’m resting today. I’m resting in the Lord today.”
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