Tony Aruta: Snatched From Death
By Matt Vilkas
The 700 Club
“I dealt drugs in order to take drugs. I robbed to get drugs. I snatched handbags on my motorcycle to get drugs. And, I tricked people.”
Tony Aruta’s life had turned into a gut-wrenching mix of drug-induced highs and drug-deprived lows. He grew up in a poor Italian neighborhood. By his own account he had a normal childhood, and later became a pilot for the fire department.
“Those were very great times, because to top it off, I was wearing a uniform that made me look pretty handsome. And I was successful with the women. My car, my motorcycle, women.”
As he lived out his dream, Tony began smoking marijuana. That’s when things went seriously wrong.
“Because of my way of life, they fired me; because I was more of a problem than something positive. So it was a very bad time in my life.”
Tony dove deeper into drugs. He was at a party when he used cocaine for the first time.
“I took it with pleasure that day, because the effects were very nice.”
That began an eight-year tug-of-war with addiction.
“I also took heroin, which is totally opposite to cocaine, I mean the effects. At that time, as far as I was concerned, the more drugs I took, the more I wanted to take.”
“But, when I wasn’t taking drugs, these thoughts of my family, my father, my mother used to come to mind. I was seeing these images, and my heart was aching, but it only lasted for a little while; because, the monster then took over, that's to say my addiction prevailed. I constantly thought, ‘I have to take drugs. I must have an injection.’”
For years, Tony managed to hide his secret life from those closest to him.
“I was a great actor. I succeeded in masking the whole thing, because I found the right excuse at the right moment.”
In 1994, Tony stole a woman’s purse that was filled with money. He knew exactly what he would spend it on.
“I went to buy drugs, a lot of drugs. And when I fixed, at the very moment when I shot myself, after just a few seconds, I went into a coma. And I remember the last moment, just as I lit a cigarette, I went into the coma.”
“I remember I was under a lamp. I opened my eyes under an intense light. I remember the doctor's words. I will never forget it. He said, ‘we snatched you from death. If it was just a couple seconds later, we would not have been able to do anything for you.’ ‘Thank God,’ I thought, ‘now hurry up because I have to get out of here.’”
Afterwards, Tony could no longer keep up the façade. His sister and her husband noticed that something had changed; he was always on edge. So they took him to speak with a local pastor. Tony nearly laughed when the man asked about his problem.
“When he asked me this, I said, ‘I don't have a problem! I have a billion problems, but you can't help me.’ And he said, ‘come on, you're here now, tell me.’ And I told him all that I was doing in five minutes, from my past to that moment. He put his hand on my shoulder and told me, ‘you’re right. I can't help you. But I know the one who can!’”
“Then he told me: ‘Tony, if you put your trust in the name of Jesus, not in a church, not in a religion, not in a pastor, but in Jesus Christ; at this very moment God can help you, because he reads your heart.’ And so with all my heart, I decided to believe in Jesus Christ. And at that moment, a chill came over me.”
It was an experience Tony had never had before. He knew it was God.
“I said, ‘Jesus, I want to look at people's faces. I want to enjoy the sun. I want to smile. I want to love life, the gift you've given us. I want to start over again. Help me.’ And at that very moment, it really happened.”
“From that moment on, no more drugs, no more blasphemies, no more robberies, no more swearwords. Only love for my neighbor, love for myself, and love for life.”
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