Cruising Into Destruction - Jeffery’s Story
Night life. South Florida. Cruise ships. The Bahamas.
For years this was my life, and I honestly thought I was living a dream. My career began in college, serving as a bartender in bars and restaurants. After graduation, I stepped into management and eventually opened my own entertainment company performing at resorts and on cruise ships, entertaining VIP guests at exclusive SouthBeach clubs. I had lots of fun. I got lots of attention. I had a talent for it, and I loved it.
The only catch: It was an industry very conducive to an alcoholic lifestyle. In fact, drinking is almost a ‘job requirement.’ We often don’t see traps until it is too late, and I drank for the next 30 years. For 20 of those years, I drank every single day. In the last of those years, I found myself swallowing half a gallon of vodka daily.
In 2010, out of sheer necessity and desperation, I entered the Owl’s Nest Recovery Community in Florence, S.C. Quite a few of the residents were into a church called NewSpring and invited me to go. I avoided it and was determined not to like it because it was not your ‘traditional’ church. Kind of ironic that I was looking for something traditional out of the high-rolling lifestyle I was living.
On Father’s Day 2011, I gave in and attended NewSpring at the request of a friend. I prayed to God just before I entered "please let me go in here open-minded." During the service, I could not stop the tears. I responded to the invitation and told the care volunteer I surrendered my life to Jesus. I asked for prayer over my life. I had completed my recovery program, and I wanted and needed God to use me to help others. Within weeks, I took the next step in my life in Christ and was baptized.
God has used me in an incredible way. Since then, God has allowed me to help other Owl's Nest residents not only with their addictions but also to encourage them to be in church, and to begin a relationship with Christ. I have seen Him wash away their sins both in salvation and baptism, and His blessings never end.
It is strange, but even in my former lifestyle, I always thought I was close to God because I grew up in the church. I was so wrong. Now I know what I was missing and what it is like to have a real relationship with God. Through His Son, we can overcome anything. I am living proof of the miracles of Jesus. I have been sober for two years.
The Owl's Nest is soon to be opening an additional recovery/treatment center in Tampa, Florida. Construction is almost complete. I will be the director when it opens! Before NewSpring and Jesus came into my life, I had tolerated three other treatment programs. I had been in and out of intensive care units because of alcoholism and was given at least two blood transfusions to save my life. So I know, and want others to know, Jesus is the only difference between addiction and peace.
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