From crack to the Altar

Good morning, Bishop!

I would like to share with you what happened in my life.

I was always a responsible and respectful young man with family and friends, and I never had any addictions. Until I went to college and lived in a dorm where everyone used drugs. I stood my ground for six months and was strong enough to turn away every time one of my “friends” offered me any drugs.

However, one day I decided to try marijuana, because I started feeling a little rejected by my dorm “friends”. And this was when my troubles began. Marijuana took over my life in such a way that I began failing classes and eventually dropped out of college.

I thought that moving back in with my parents and starting over from scratch would help me overcome the addiction. The problem was that I didn’t understand I needed to take action if I wanted to change. I moved back home, but I didn’t stop using marijuana. And I started using other types of drugs: inhalants, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, thinner… I used anything that would get me high.

This was when I learned about mixing marijuana with crack, which is something we called “molasses” or “honey”, and dove deeper into drugs. But this was just the beginning, because I didn’t know how addictive crack was.

Soon, I decided to only smoke crack. I prepared a tin can with some cigarette ashes; this was when I hit rock bottom. That different kind of feeling, a feeling of euphoria, of doing something forbidden, fascinated me and the sensation was gone so quick that all I wanted was to use more and more. I was constantly searching for that euphoric feeling, that feeling of well being.

But I was never able to achieve it, and afterwards, once I was sober, depression kicked in and I would be overcome with a craving to do more drugs. This is how I lived during four years of my life.

When my mother began to suspect, she stopped giving me money, and the only way to buy more drugs was to sell my belongings. So, I sold everything: shoes, clothes, a bicycle, a stereo, cell phones, everything I found served as an exchange for drugs. Things reached a point where all I had was one shirt, a pair of shorts and a pair of jeans. So I started selling my brother’s things and I even sold my mother’s camera. The addiction had completely taken over my life.

Not having anything else to trade or sell, I started buying drugs from dealers and promising to pay them back, until one day I asked a dealer that I already owed money to. He and his friends beat me up pretty bad; when they were done, he threatened to kill me. He put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger, but the bullets wouldn’t come out.

At that moment I remembered everything my mother had done for me. She was already seeking God, participating in chains of prayer and she even did sacrifices for me. She once said, “I’ve sacrificed and said to God: either he changes or he dies, but I don’t accept him to continue in this situation!”

I went home that day thinking about everything that was going on. This happened on a Friday. On Saturday, I received a visit at my house from a servant of God, a pastor came looking for my brother, and since he wasn’t home, he spoke to me instead. He told me all about his battle with addiction.

All the events leading up to that moment made me think and reach a decision. On Sunday, May 13, 2007, Mother’s Day, I told my mother I was going to give her the greatest gift a son could give. I went to Church with her, but I didn’t know that I was actually giving myself this great gift.

Thank God I was delivered and today I am part of this great Work of God. I am a pastor of the Universal Church in Argentina.

Lucrecio Santana

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