Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Healing Journey

My Healing Journey 
By Adam Stone
How Accepting Jesus Saved My Life
In 1993, at the age of 29, I began to experiment with meth-amphetamine. I got hooked immediately. I spent all hours hanging out with the wrong crowd in a nocturnal underworld. This was the drug that brought me to my knees and opened the doors to schizophrenia.
After a few weeks without sleep and completely insane behavior, a friend took me to a psych ward where they shot me up with thorazine and strapped me down to the bed with restraints. I was diagnosed with meth-amphetamine psychosis and thus began the revolving door of psychiatric hospitals and medications.
I became homeless and wandered the streets for a few weeks, but eventually found my way into a group home and enrolled in a local community college. I took English and typing classes and did well. Soon optimism returned to me and I began to make plans for my future again. I still held onto the hope that my life would amount to something.
I was obsessed with trying to find a way to deal with my illness. I went to a lake shrine to meet with a yogi monk, studied the Koran and Zen and consulted with a Kabbalistic Rabbi. I called Jews for Jesus and tried to fathom the Tao. I sampled guided meditation tapes, repeated mantras, practiced deep breathing and hypnosis. I wrote to an Indian Shaman and read “The Power of Positive Thinking.” I listened to Anthony Robbins and other motivational gurus. I combed bookstores looking for answers in self-help books. I called the Arch Diocese office for an exorcism, but they told me I had to be levitating. I even sought help from an alien abduction specialist.
Occasionally, the subject of Jesus would come up, and I would dismiss it as being for others but not for me. I thought Jesus was ridiculous and those who followed him were fanatical Jesus freaks. I believed the resurrection was fiction, the bible old wives tales, and that Jesus was just a wise man, and certainly not God.
In 2002, I decided to move to New York to start a new life. I went to what would be my last psych ward. I was released and moved into a quiet group home on the Upper West Side and attended a day program. After graduating from my day program, my father agreed to pay for culinary school. I went on to serve as an extern at many of New York’s finest restaurants. I was then hired as a Garde Manger (French for "keeper of the food") at a restaurant on the Upper West Side that eventually went out of business.
I was still searching for answers, attending synagogue occasionally, but felt uninspired.
One night, after an AA meeting, I went out to dinner with a new friend. I told him I felt like I was dealing with spiritual warfare. He turned to me, and, for some reason, I knew what he was going to say. He said, “You need something more powerful than AA. You need Jesus.”
I knew it was a pivotal moment. A few days later I attended a small church in the Bronx and accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior. It was 2008.
As a young Jewish man, going to Jesus is about as rebellious as one can get. A Jewish family would almost rather you become a Buddhist, or Hindu, than to give your life to Christ. It took the gift of desperation to accept Jesus as my Lord and savior.
A pastor suggested a wonderful church in Times Square. I dove right in and signed up for New Believers classes and received water baptism. For the first time in so many years I felt less alone. My new friends understood spiritual warfare. I felt some sense of peace and comfort.
I am here to tell you that, as a man who had no faith, no belief, was condescending, full of conceit, arrogance, sin, pride, and rationalized everything, Jesus changed my life.
Coming to Jesus did not disqualify me from trials and tribulations. Coming to Jesus also didn’t mean all would be smooth sailing. I continued to be tested in the furnace of affliction.
I am now involved in three different ministries at church. Most of my life revolves around church. God has placed a burden on my heart to work with those suffering from mental illness. AA says that my experience can help benefit others. I want to give back what was so freely given to me.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, harmony. Where there is error, truth. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”— Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

Pullout: “He turned to me, and, for some reason, I knew what he was going to say. He said, 'You need something more powerful than AA. You need Jesus.'”

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