Nick was saved from a life of drugs, gangs and violence.
My mother gave me up at birth and I was raised by my grandparents who filled my life with love and support. When I was 11, my mother, a ‘showie’ on the carnival circuit, wanted me back, so I lived a transient life with no stability. At 13 I joined my brothers and friends breaking and entering businesses. I started using marijuana daily, which led to methamphetamines, all paid for by the proceeds of our stolen goods.
When I finished school I hooked up with a notorious motorcycle gang and started doing ‘jobs’ for them that paid for my drug habit. This lifestyle was drug and alcohol fuelled, full of extreme violence—my life was secretive, dark and violent.
I met my first real partner in 2006 and my daughter was born soon afterwards. I started a gardening and landscaping business, but our relationship fell apart. I returned to drugs, alcohol and a street gang lifestyle. My business collapsed, so I made my money by dealing in drugs which paid for my own addiction, and I pushed my daughter away, choosing drugs over her.
Life on the streets with the gangs became extremely violent. Over a 12-month period 24 of my associates died, and although I was attacked and shot at many times, it seems I was one of the lucky ones. Once I spent three weeks in ICU and several months in the wards before discharging myself, only to return to the drug and bike scene.
During this time I met C, my current partner. Together we kicked our drug habits and lived a good life. She was what I needed at the time and it seemed my life was going to be on track. We had four children, but somehow drugs entered our lives and our world as we knew it collapsed around us. This time I was addicted to ice and with it came violent outbursts.
My first prison term was for drugs and violence towards C. Child safety stepped in and removed our children. I had hit rock bottom and there seemed no way out and nowhere to turn.
During my second jail stint I watched other inmates who seemed to have it together. What did they have that I didn’t?
One handed me a Bible and invited me to church, where I met Bob, our Salvation Army chaplain. I would chat with him each week about how I was travelling. He was genuinely interested in me and my welfare. Each week he offered me a bit of inspiration by sharing God’s word, so I made it my task to follow it up by reading the Bible each day. I met other Christians walking in the faith and saw God working through them. I burned inside to learn more about Jesus; I couldn’t explain the feeling but it made me feel good. Through church, study and prayer, for the first time in a long while I felt whole again, like the man I knew I could be.
It didn’t take long and I was inspired to engage in improving my education standards by returning to study. I willingly participated in drug counselling and successfully completed the course that The Salvation Army runs. At the centre of the program was God.
Now I can clearly make plans, set goals and build a life without drugs and violence. I have confessed my sins and repented of them. My walk with God has just begun and I know the journey will be long, and it won’t be without problems or trouble, but I am reassured by God (and by his angels like Bob) that I will make it.
C and I have plans together, built on a solid foundation—Jesus. Time will tell but I have faith that I am not alone and that God’s path is set securely before me.
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