"I pray my story finds its way into other's hearts; that they might not have to struggle for as long as I did; and find the true joy that can only be achieved through Christ."
Joy After 50 Years
Mark’s drug use began in his teenage years. Accessibility to drugs made it easy. “At 13 I started using drugs and drinking; at 16 I quit school and started selling drugs.”
His family was known for drug dealing in Columbus, Ind., and Mark followed suit. At 21 he was arrested for dealing cocaine. He was sentenced to 20 years. After serving his sentence, he resumed his lifestyle of drinking, selling and using drugs; the next decade included numerous trips back to prison and a few court ordered treatment programs.
“I’ve been through about every substance addiction out there: cocaine, meth, nerve pills, pain pills, and heroin. I finally came to the end of myself at 55. During a four year bout with heroin, I overdosed and was on a ventilator for two days.”
Weighing only 130 pounds at the time, Mark left the hospital with a four day lapse in his memory, “I don’t remember anything from those four days. Then, for a reason I did not understand, God picked me up out of the mess I had created in my life and guided me to the Wheeler Mission Hebron Program.”
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
Wheeler Mission’s Hebron program is a Christ-centered addiction recovery program based out of Indianapolis. It is a two-part program, the first serves as orientation and is the model for the Chain Breaker House in Columbus. The second portion takes place at Camp Hunt in Bloomington. Through the spiritual leadership of men walking free from past addictions, Mark surrendered his life to Christ.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
“I was broken. The never-ending grace and mercy of Christ gives me strength to continue walking for Him. I know that even after the life I lived I am alive and he has forgiven me. He has given me a new heart and new desires.”
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast.
Among those new desires is one to help lead the formation of Chain Breaker House, “I know now my future does not need to look like my past. In order for me to be something I have never been, I need to do things I have never done.”
If you or someone you love is caught in the chain of addiction, please seek help: “My plea to an addict or anyone reading my story is that if you do not have a relationship with God, please consider accepting Christ into your life.” The transformation of Mark’s life is nothing short of a God-sized miracle. Through the Wheeler Hebron Program, the fellowship of his brothers-in-Christ, and God’s pursuit of him, Mark is on the path to freedom.
“The joy and peace I find in my heart today is what I tried to fill with worldly things for 50 years.” Mark’s story is one of surrender and pursuit of the Lord who never stopped pursuing him.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.