When twentyfold of oxycontin doesn’t work, … Call Jesus   


Here’s the story, much respect to anyone who makes it all the way through. It’s strange, but it’s the truth.  I couldn’t make it up if I tried.

I was raised in a Christian home, a normal childhood, parents took me to Church, I heard the Gospel and all the Bible stores etc. I was a very angry kid, just pessimistic and full of malice towards just about anyone. At about 14 I was just completely sick of everything and I decided I wanted nothing to do with God.  I saw a lot of hypocrisy, people pretending to be a certain way, and then leading secret lives.

So, through almost all of my teens I smoked weed and drank fairly heavily. Then right as the opiate epidemic became widespread in MA I was a 22-year-old with the maturity of a 14-year-old, with a pack of the wrong friends. A restructuring at work essentially left me with two decent sized salaries for doing one job. Talk about a recipe for self-destruction.  It was nothing but the grace of God that I survived the next 3 years, through multiple near-death experiences.

The addiction and depression and darkness just consumed me every day.  The thing that’s so insidious about heavy pain killers, is that when you first try them it is the most amazing feeling, for a while it barely takes anything to get your really high. Then as you grow your tolerance and dependence for oxycontin, the same thing doesn’t work. Then you are taking double. Then triple. Then Tenfold. Then Twentyfold. Then you don’t even get high anymore, you take hundreds of dollars of pills every day just to not want to blow your brains out.

Every second of the day is either planning or trying to figure out how to beg borrow steal or sell your way to getting more pills. The hours between when your high wears off and when you next get oxys are just hell, you obsess and have mood swings and deep depression. You drink and smoke and take anything you can find to try to make it go away but nothing helps. At this point most people in that case move onto heroin because it’s cheaper and stronger. The problem is around Boston you never know what you’re getting.  You could have stuff that is 90% filler, or stuff that is untouched purest form right from the lab. That’s why in MA alone we’ve had over 1500 deaths from heroin this year to date.  I have been to three friend’s funerals in less than a year this year.

So, I thank God that I never actually made the jump into heroin, I probably wouldn’t be her by now if I did. I did everything else I could find though, mostly oxy, booze, weed, prescription drugs and coke.

On June 1st, 2011, I was 11 years into the drug/depression cycle, the last three of which were the oxycontin/alcohol/coke fueled hell I just described.  I was in between fixes, and just considering how I hated my life and being depressed. I was driving on the highway.  I wouldn’t say I was suicidal, I never actually gave it a serious thought…but I didn’t want to live anymore. If you told me I was going to die that day I probably would have said, “Screw it, good.  I hate this place anyways.”  I was just completely overcome with futility, and the hopelessness and just being tired of the world. I never really gave any thought to God ever, I just would call myself agnostic at that point. Like I said, I grew up hearing that Jesus was the Son of God, and He died for our sins and whoever believes on Him will not die but have eternal life…And as I was thinking I just said to myself, “What’s the point of all this mess? Is this all life is? I don’t know how I got here but if there’s more than this God, I wish I knew what it was.”

And right there on the highway, I decided to try to pray.  Not anything complicated, but simply asking God a legit question and wanting with all my heart to know the answer:

“Jesus, if you are real, I want you to show yourself to me and help me.”

I can’t even give you a good description of what happened next, so I’ll just put it as plainly as I can and hope it makes some sense…. Jesus was all of a sudden sitting in the car next to me in the passenger seat.  That’s as simple as I can say it. I couldn’t see Him, but I could feel Him there 100%. This was not my mind playing tricks on me, it was not some strange feeling of, ‘Gosh, what’s this strange feeling I’m getting?’  It was absolutely, not a sliver of doubt, I know that I know that I know, Jesus the Son of God sitting in the car on the highway with me.  Instantly I was just immersed in who He is, it felt pure, indescribable love. Instantly all my dark thoughts, the depression, the futility, the anger, the hurts, the stress, every word that I would use to describe my self was GONE.  It was like I could feel that He had been watching me my entire life, and just waiting for me to want to know Him, and then He pulled off the cloak that He had been hiding behind… That cloak wasn’t what He wanted, that cloak was my unbelief and not wanting to have anything to do with Him.  He was there all along, just waiting for me to truly, genuinely want to know about Him.

I was completely overwhelmed with what was happening, I just broke down crying. I pulled off the highway and just sat in the car on the side of the road trying to understand and get a grip on how this could be possible… I didn’t know what it was but I could instantly feel myself transformed.  Later reading the Bible I found out it’s what they call being Born Again, (one of those Christian terms you hear thrown around but I never knew what it meant) …. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old had gone, the new is here.” And that’s exactly what happened to me.

So here’s where it gets weird: when your body is accustomed to daily intake of hundreds of milligrams of oxycontin, the withdrawals are EXCRUCIATING.  Quick math lesson here: you ever have a tooth pulled and get those round white perks? That’s 5 mg of oxy, and 500 MG of ibuprofen. Two of those will give most people a pretty good buzz. Now make a pill that is as strong as 16 of those, it’s 80 milligrams of oxy and zero ibuprofen. Now take several of those pills throughout the day.  That’s the amount of addiction we’re talking about, aside from the daily drinking, weed, cigarettes and anything else that comes across my path.

People trying to quit heavy addiction to oxy’s or heroin often are hospitalized, heavily medicated, the pain is unbearable, migraines, cramps, depression, nightmares, breakdowns, mood swings… and it can go on for months.  People spend years on drugs like suboxone just trying to get brief relief from the hell. That’s part of why people trying to detox from opiates have such a staggering percentage of relapses.

So, what happened to me?  Not. A. Freaking. Thing.

There is no medical explanation. When you quit after years of heavy opiate addiction, you have terrible withdrawals, just as sure as death and taxed, no exceptions. That is called a miracle. I was spared from it. That’s why I don’t accept when people try to tell me, ‘Congrats!’ or ‘Good Job!’ as if I’m some self-made man pulling myself up by my bootstraps and taking back my life by my own willpower… nothing could be further from the truth…. All I did was ask Jesus to come show Himself to me, and really hope that He would.  Everything that happened next was His doing.  I was just along for the ride.

NOW I wish I could say I had a spotless record for ever after, but that’s not true.  I have slipped up a couple of times in the last 5 years. I was not granted super human powers where I never make another mistake. BUT what I was given was a new heart with new desires, and believe it or not, this is explained in the Bible too: Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do, I do not do, But what I hate, I do. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh; for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

What it means, is NOT that when you decide to follow Jesus you instantly become better than anyone. You will fall short. I heard a really good analogy once: Picture owning two big dogs, one is called Flesh (the nature that all humans have to do bad things) and the other is called the Spirit (the desire that someone who decided to follow Jesus has, to live more like He lived, and have victory over our struggles with sin). Every day, these two dogs fight, and every day you can feed only one of them. Whichever one you feed grows bigger and stronger, and the other dog grows weaker and more frail. So, the longer a man or woman walks with Jesus, trying to be more like He is, the less they will find themselves falling into the same old garbage.

Now what I don’t understand is where the stereotype of the morally superior, haughty, self-righteous Christin who looks down on everyone around them came from. That is disgusting.  And that’s NOT what a forgiven Born Again follower of Jesus should look like.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23-24 …for all have sinned a fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through he redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

The playing field is level. If you are human you have done bad things in your life, because that is our nature. Anyone who claims they haven’t is guilty of lying lol.  When we ask forgiveness, and ask Jesus to come be part of our lives, He washed the record clean. He lived a perfect life and was killed on a cross and rose again, to pay the penalty for the wrong things we have done. All we have to do is ask forgiveness, and ask Him to come into our lives and make us a new creation, and He will do it.

No Pope, no holy cracker, no praying in Latin, no weird rituals, no list of good vs bad things we do….just a relationship between a person and the God who created them.  He wants so much for us to know Him, so that we can go through life together and then when our time is up, to be with Him forever. And someday when I die, I know that’s where I am going. Not because I’m anything special. Heaven isn’t a place for good people, heaven is a place for forgiven people.

Unfortunately the Bible also teaches that there is a place of eternal punishment for people who go through their whole life, and reject Him and His plan for us to be saved… and that’s not a popular thought today, but it’s the truth and that’s why I need to put it in this letter.  The good news, is that He tell us that that is NOT what He wants for humanity. But He has given every person a free will. We are all given a choice whether we want to know Jesus or not…. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

So that’s my story my friends, thanks for reading.

Matt – Bridgewater MA – Shared on October 4, 2017

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