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"My only memories of my father are of him drinking, yelling at my mother, and us being afraid of him. My mother used to go around crying all the time, and I could never figure that out. And he left when I was around five or six, and we were all happy."
Bill Roam thought life would get better once his father left. Then his mother moved in with a woman she called a "friend." Bill says that friend hated men and abused both the boys and the girls in the family.
Bill shares with The 700 Club, "I’ve had my head split open more times than I can remember."
He did anything to escape the pain. Writing music helped him work through some of his emotions. The rest he dealt with by taking drugs.
"It started with alcohol, then it went to marijuana, then it went to methamphetamines. I took whatever I could. If you had it, I took it. Anything that could take me out of me and kill the pain is what I did, and I was off to the races."
Bill eventually started shooting heroin. He never had much of a relationship with God, but his sister, who was dying of cancer, talked to him about God and told him that he needed to forgive the people that hurt them. Bill wasn’t ready to listen.
"One of the things drugs do is take away any kind of feeling. You become a very selfish, self-centered person. You don’t really care of think about anybody else. As a matter of fact, I remember stealing stuff from her [sister] and stealing her pain medication. Boy, what a piece of work I turned into on that stuff."
Bill didn’t even want to think about God or going to church.
"I was really mad at God. I have to be honest with you. It was like, 'How dare you do this to us?' I didn’t know what His plan was."
So Bill was on his own, fighting a losing battle with drug addiction.
"I cleaned up for maybe two or three months. It was a game," he says.
During one of those short spells while he was clean, Bill met his future wife, Karen.
"I didn’t even know he had a problem until after I married him," says Karen.
"And then I went right back to shooting dope and being an idiot," remembers Bill.
Karen recalls, "It was three months into the marriage that he started hitting me, physically abusing me, and mentally abusing me."
"I had three kids with her, started this rock band, and kept leaving her. She prayed over me, and I still didn’t get it. I still didn’t get it," Bill says. "I would just disappear for like a week, two weeks, and come home all beat up, and cry, and beg to be forgiven."
Karen always took him back. She prayed over Bill for years, and called 700 Club prayer counselors often.
"I always knew that God was going to do something and that He was going to change it for me. That’s what made me stay," she says.
"I went through countless meetings of AA. I constantly had an urge to get high. I was obsessive. The stuff called me. It talked to me. And if I wasn’t wanting to get high, then I was battling with gambling, or battling with this or that."
One day Bill decided that he’d had enough, not just enough of drugs, but enough of running away from God.
"I was at work. I went outside, and I looked at the drugs. I threw them away, and I cried like a baby. I was done, and I cried for about a week. You know, big, tough Bill, crying like a baby. I was just cleaning out all the junk and asking God to help me. All of a sudden I had feelings. I cared. Obviously, I didn’t want to lose my wife. And it was too late. She was gone."
After all the years of abuse, Karen had finally had enough, too.
"She didn’t just take me back. She had to see the change. It’s an amazing thing when you get saved. It’s almost like a glow comes out of you. Things don’t bother you as much. Was I in a fog? Yes, but when I sincerely surrendered, that fog got lifted.The hole got filled," remembers Bill.
That was a turning point for Karen too.
"I haven’t had an urge in almost four years now, and for me to tell you that, to say that, that’s a miracle. What a relief. What a burden lifted. All that hate I had from a bad childhood, too. When you accept Christ and you surrender, then the healing can start," says Bill.
Today, his relationship with Karen couldn’t be better.
"I know now that the Lord put her in my life. Twenty-five years, she’s a great woman. She’s my best buddy and the mother of my kids," he says.
Karen agrees, "Oh my gosh, it’s wonderful. I can’t ask for a better husband. I can’t ask for a better life. It’s been a blessing."
Bill still loves music, but now he’s writing songs and producing Christian music for a band he formed called Eternity Now.
He says it’s still hard looking back on the years he abused drugs and hurt the people he loved, but he says with God’s help, he’s leaving the past behind and moving forward.
"It’s the power of the Lord, the power of the Lord. You have to hit your knees. You hate to surrender. It’s one thing to really want to stop, and it’s another thing to surrender," says Bill.
"God is amazing. The grace is phenomenal. With God with me, who can be against me?"
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