Quinton McCool: Hooked on Heroin
By Rob Hull
The 700 Club
Listening to the sweet voice of Quinton McCool sing old gospel songs, you’d never guess that he spent half his life homeless and addicted to heroin.
Quinton remembers, “That drug it took me down a path, it took me further than I wanted to go and it kept me far longer than I wanted to stay.”
His long slide into life on the streets started after his 18-month-old son was accidently shot and killed by his brother-in-law. “He just happened to be playing in the hallway, in the doorway when my brother-in-law dropped the rifle and the rifle went off.”
“I questioned God. I was just mad. I was angry, really, really angry. I could not understand, ‘God why did you take my son?’ It was just hard to live with the fact that my son was gone. I’d wake up in the middle of the night sweating, and I could see my son running through the house in my own mind.”
Cynthia McCool adds, “He just couldn’t accept the idea that he was gone. It just took him down. He went down.”
Quinton explains, “I was introduced to a drug called heroin and the feeling that it gave me was a hiding feeling. I could hide my feelings and I felt as if I was there all by myself, and my best friend became heroin.”
Quinton and Cynthia had two more children and tried to maintain a happy home. But his heroin addiction consumed his life. Quinton and Cynthia separated. Before long he was a homeless heroin addict.
“Sleeping outside eating out of the dumpster. Many a night I lay awake crying out of cardboard boxes sleeping in fields with a bunch of other people who didn’t care about themselves. I was stuck in that situation. There were periods in my life when I would wake up to the fact that, ‘This isn’t how you’re supposed to be living. You’ve got a family. You’ve got children. You’ve got two little daughters.’ And I just couldn’t get out of it, that drug had me so bound up that I couldn’t even think straight no more. All I could do was just live, get through the night, live another day to get another drug in me. That became my life.”
He made a sign and became a panhandler by the interstate. When he got a little money, he spent it all in one place.
“I would take the money and go give it to the drug man. And when my drugs were up I would go back out there and I would do this day in day out for a few years, and the sign said, ‘Will work for food or money. God bless you. Have a blessed day.’ It was like I was spitting in the face of God I was using His Name for my own selfish needs.”
After years of living on the streets, Quinton saw his reflection in a mirror. He was shocked by what he saw.
“I didn't smell good. I didn't look good. It was just a horrible sight. I remember that. Crazy thing how that drug can hide you from reality to where you really don't take notice to how you really are. Something came to me in my mind saying, ‘You've got to get out of here. You're going to die down here.’ I started remembering the sayings that my mother told me about the word of God and being obedient to the word of God. So I prayed to God to get me out of this.”
He called the pastor of Grace Centers of Hope, a recovery center he had been to years earlier. Pastor Clark sent an old friend of Quinton’s to pick him up.
“I was so excited. I was like a little child who hadn't seen his father in a long time. I remember I left my bag and I left my belongings, all my paraphernalia I threw out the window. I jumped up and grabbed him and hugged him. I was just spewing with tears and all I could say was, ‘Thank you Jesus! Thank you Jesus! You heard my cry.’ Because I thought He didn't hear. I just didn't think He heard it. But He heard it and He sent help for me.”
While Quinton was in the recovery program, he says God freed him from his heroin addiction and he reunited with his wife.
“I look at my house I mean even down to the key having a key to my own door. I mean greeting your wife hugging your wife, your wife smiling now.”
Cynthia says, “God is wonderful. He just turned everything around in our life. And I know if He can do that for me, He can do it for anybody.”
“I have wonderful days now,” says Quinton, “I have glorious days, I've been blessed to sing back with the ‘Men of Grace’. We go out and sing the testimony and we tell the testimony and my job is to let folks know what God has done for us, He can do for you, too.”
“I prayed I said to God, ‘You come get me and I'll serve You for the rest of my days, for the rest of my days no matter what.’ I still have trials and tribulations. Things aren't perfect as I said, but I do know one thing, My God is real, my God is real...”
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