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Joe's Testimony

 

     I was born in a small town in Northern New Jersey. I was the youngest with two older sisters. I was always a chubby kid and I never felt like I fit in. My Dad was into sports and I was not good at any sport, he died when I was eleven. My sister Chris used to babysit me and take me to parties and I drank beer and smoked pot, I really liked it.

     My Mom met a guy from Argentina a year after my Dad died, we had a nice house in Totowa and he told her to sell the house and she was to stay and take care of the sale and he wanted to take me to Argentina. I was eleven and on the flight I drank scotch and loved it. I was in Argentina for about 6 months and drank a lot of alcohol. He let me drive his car and I felt like a big shot. My Mom finally came and Angelo thought that the house was sold; we were in a hotel in Buenos Aires. She told him that the house didn’t sell and he pulled out a gun, took our passports and left. While I was there I learned some Spanish and I knew where his business partner was in Buenos Aires and he helped us get out of the country.

     When I came home to America I started drinking and smoking pot regularly with my school friends. When I graduated 8th grade we sold the house and moved to England where my Mom was born. My sister Chris stayed with her boyfriend Gary who was a drug addict and alcoholic. We lived in a bed and breakfast pub called The Bucks Head, I was fourteen years old and I was drinking regularly. I loved England and I started going to school but hated it, I had to wear a uniform and tie. I had a friend David who lived on a sheep farm, his Dad Sid used to come to the Pub to play darts. I used to skip school and go fox hunting with Sid, we would meet at the Pub for sherry and we would follow the Red Coats who were on horseback. We rode in a van and when the fox went into the ground we would go and dig it out. I loved it and I always found people who drank and drugged.

     We moved back to America when I was 16 the summer of 1976, all my old friends were doing a lot of drugs and alcohol. I got into a bad car accident, my friend was driving and we were racing and the car flipped over and severed my right hand. I was rushed to Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx where I had a 15 hour surgery and they were able to attach my hand.

     Shortly after that a friend of mine was shooting heroin and I tried it and loved it. Up till then drinking and drugging was fun but after about six months I was a full blown junkie and alcoholic. I spent the next 20 years on and off of heroin, cocaine and methodone. In 1988 I met a lady at a bar, we talked but I wasn’t really interested I was only with one other woman before her. Anyway we started seeing each other, she was married and had 3 children and was in the middle of a divorce. Time went on and I was still drinking every day and drugging when I could afford it. She was a school teacher who just drank socially, eventually she got divorced and her husband got custody of the children. I was living in a guy Normans basement renting, he had a full bar in the basement and we used to drink every night after work. Me and Barb got an apartment in Bloomingdale. She asked me if I wanted to get married and sober, so we got married in June of 1992 and went into detox where I just about died. I almost bit my tongue off and had seizures, it was really bad. I was brought up Catholic; I believed in God but had no idea about the bible and Jesus. After detox I went straight to rehab for 42 days, I really didn’t want to be there but one night I got on my knees and asked God to help me. The next day I was willing, I’m not saying I was saved but I had a spiritual experience.

     When I got out I found a home group and a sponsor, I was going to a lot of meetings. It was very hard I was fighting with my wife about going to too many meetings and my sponsor was telling me that I had to keep going because without sobriety there will be no marriage. I kept going and started a job at Ashley Farms and a couple of years after I got sober I worked my way up to Warehouse Manager. But after 6 years I got diagnosed with HcPC and the treatment was brutal I continued the treatment for a year and went into remission. It came back and I had to do another year of Ribavirin and Interferon. I cut back on my meetings after 6 months of the second treatment.

     My wife’s son was working in a pharmacy and I asked him to get me some Percocet, I felt a lot better for about 2 weeks. Then I started taking my company’s truck and stole pallets and selling them in Newark; a bad neighborhood. I was using the money to buy heroin, eventually I got caught at work and was fired. I spent the next eighteen years drinking and drugging and got divorced in 2012.

     I moved to Florida and went back to detox and when I got out I started going to AA meetings and a program called “Break the Cycle”. I stayed clean and sober for 8 months and I relapsed on crack and alcohol and returned to detox 4 months later. I was at a Flea Market in Port Orange selling bird houses I made and there was a girl across from me, her sign said “Come pray with me”. We started talking and she told me that her husband was in recovery and so was I. They went to church at the YMCA and I had just joined the YMCA! She was meant to be there, I prayed with her and asked Jesus to come into my life and I was saved.

     That was two and a half years ago, I started going to Bible Study and Church and I was on fire for the Lord. I still go to Bible study two times a week and Church as well. I read constantly about Jesus, what it means to be saved, and about the end of time. I love it and l love helping others. I am a changed man.

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