The decision I made that day was going to be final. It was all or nothing. There was no turning back from this choice and I was at peace with it. I was the last one to leave the fire station that night. On my way out, I slipped the small cassette of IV narcotics into my backpack, got in my car, and pulled out of the parking lot.
Four hours later, I was sitting in a cheap motel room with about a half-dozen full bottles of various prescription pills and that cassette of narcotics I stole from the ambulance after my shift that day. I had a well thought out plan. It was going to be easy and painless. I wasn’t going to wake up the next morning. I had determined that after almost fifteen years of being held hostage by sexual sin and substance abuse there was no help for me. I was hurt, I was tired, and I was hopeless. I was better off dead. But that night, a God that I didn’t fully believe in had other plans for my life.
I grew up in the Northeast. At the age of ten, my mother developed an addiction to prescription pain killers that would turn into a full heroin addiction. My mother would battle with this addiction for over ten years. My parents eventually divorced and my sister and I were raised by my father.
I was introduced to pornography and masturbation by my uncle, which also led to him sexually molesting me at the age of twelve. Shortly after, I turned to pornography and masturbation as a coping mechanism for all of this. It wouldn’t be long until I added alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes to the mix.
I would turn to these various habits throughout the rest of my teenage years as well as most of my twenties. It prevented me from having healthy relationships. I quickly saw women as sex objects and relationships were a means to initiate sex. My life revolved around getting these “fixes” whether it was through sex, pornography, alcohol, or marijuana.
At the age of twenty, I started a career as a paramedic. My addictive personality loved the thrill of responding to emergencies that could vary from medical needs to car accidents and everything in-between. I continued to act out sexually, which now included visiting strip clubs, meeting women online, and having homosexual relations just to get a bigger “fix.” I also continued to use drugs and alcohol to cope with life.
I had two children with my first wife. Over the course of five years, I would have numerous affairs with men and women. I would have sex with bar hook-ups, co-workers, people I met on the internet, and prostitutes. This marriage ended in divorce. Shortly after, I met my current wife. She was truly a gift from God, but I also hurt her with my sexual acting out. My behaviors were only getting worse. Facing the potential loss of another marriage and losing the right to see my children was all I could take. It was this that led to my plan to commit suicide.
My suicide attempt was interrupted by my wife. Without knowing where I was and unable to track my location through my cell phone, God had given her a vision of my whereabouts. Halfway into taking the drugs I had, my wife was knocking on the motel door. I was rushed to the hospital and spent a week on the psychiatric floor. It was here that I start to feel God’s embrace for the first time.
My wife found a Christian ministry for men that specialized in sexual sin recovery, and a few weeks later, I relocated out of state. It was here that I had encountered Jesus for the first time. I spent about fifteen months in a rural, country setting healing from the wounds of the past. Through counseling, sermon teachings, worship, fellowship, and the Holy Spirit, I was able to find hope and sobriety. I gave my life over to Christ there. I was baptized there. I learned how to regain a healthy view of sexuality and a separation from the lusts of the world. God changed my life during my time at this ministry.
My wife and I were separated for almost sixteen months during this but it allowed her to heal from her addictions as well. We reunited in our new home in Oregon and began to heal our marriage. We have been married for almost four years. We are much stronger today and more in love with each other. I have remained faithful to her since coming to Christ.
God has also restored a relationship with my two daughters. He has given me a new career in a completely different industry. God called me to surrender my paramedic certification, which I did. I have new friends and healthy relationships. I have a new purpose in life.
Today, I am three and a half years sober from sexual addiction and substance abuse, although I still struggle with sexual temptation. This is where my 423 Communities group has played a huge role in my life. My daily struggles with fantasy, objectification, and other mental sexual sins is still a battle. I have been involved with 423 Men for two years. God has used 423 Communities as a place to help me continue on my healing journey. God says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). 423 Communities is part of God’s way of giving me resources, fellowship, and accountability as I continue on my journey of healing.
Recovery is a journey that I will walk my entire life. I am thankful to God for rescuing me that night in the motel room. I have truly been given a second chance at life. There is hope when we turn to the One Source who can give that real hope.
About the author of this testimony: J.W. is happily married and lives in Beaverton, Oregon. He is employed at a local tech company. He is a support leader for 423 Communities and enjoys helping other men find freedom from sexual sin. In his free time he enjoys hiking and reading.