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How Can I Break Free From Drugs?

How Can I Break Free From Drugs?

 CHAPTER 35

How Can I Break Free From Drugs?

ARE YOU hooked on drugs? You may know that your addiction is damaging your mind and body. You may even have tried to break the habit but then relapsed. If so, don’t despair. Others have overcome drug addiction, and so can you! For example, consider what three people from very different backgrounds say about how they broke free.

NAME Marta

MY BACKGROUND My mom wasn’t married when she gave birth to me, so my sister and I were brought up without a father. From about age 12, I started going to discos with an aunt who loved to dance. I was very outgoing and soon became involved with people who had bad habits. I began experimenting with drugs at the age of 13. I also started using cocaine. At first, I enjoyed using the drug. But after a while, I began having hallucinations and became afraid of everything. And when the effects of the drugs wore off, thoughts of suicide filled my mind. I wanted to quit drugs but didn’t have the willpower.

HOW I BROKE FREE I began thinking about God and even attended church a few times. But I only felt more despondent. At the age of 18, I went to live with my boyfriend and had a baby. Having a son increased my desire to change my lifestyle. A former friend moved into the house opposite  where I was living. She visited me and asked how I was doing. I just poured my heart out to her. She said that she had become one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and offered to study the Bible with me. I accepted.

I learned that my lifestyle was not pleasing to God and that I had to quit taking drugs and smoking. But the drugs had a strong hold on me. I begged Jehovah God several times a day to help me break free from my bad habits. I wanted to please him. (Proverbs 27:11) After six months of studying the Bible and associating with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I was able to quit drugs. Now my life is more meaningful. I’m no longer depressed all the time. I met a wonderful Christian man and married him. I have raised my son according to Bible principles. I am so thankful that Jehovah heard my prayers and helped me!

NAME Marcio

MY BACKGROUND I grew up on the outskirts of Santo André, a densely populated city in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. I was introduced to tobacco, drugs, and robbery at an early age. Several of my friends were involved in car theft and drug trafficking. One of them offered free drugs to youths in our area. Once they were hooked, they had to buy the drugs from him.

The police were always patrolling our area, and I was arrested a number of times for petty offenses and once on suspicion of drug trafficking.  Many times I stored a gang’s stolen goods and guns in my house.

People were afraid of me. My eyes were bloodshot. I never smiled. In fact, I constantly wore a murderous expression on my face. I was nicknamed “Tufão” (Typhoon) because wherever I went, I caused trouble. I also drank heavily and led an immoral life. Many of my friends died or ended up in jail. I was so down that I tied a rope around a tree branch and tried to hang myself.

HOW I BROKE FREE FROM DRUGS I asked God to help me. Eventually, I met Jehovah’s Witnesses and began studying the Bible. I learned that God has a personal name, Jehovah, and that he cares about and helps those who try hard to live by his standards. (Psalm 83:18; 1 Peter 5:6, 7) I had a lot of changes to make. One of the hardest was learning to smile.

I constantly asked Jehovah for help, and I applied the Bible’s advice. For example, I stopped associating with my former “friends” and avoided going to bars. Instead, I chose to associate with people who lived by Bible standards. It has been a difficult struggle, but I am no longer a thief and a troublemaker. And for more than a decade now, I have remained drug free.

NAME Craig

MY BACKGROUND I was raised on a farm in South Australia. My father was an alcoholic, and he and my mother separated when I was eight. My mother remarried, and I stayed with her  until I was 17. That year I learned to shear sheep and started living with gangs of shearers who traveled about for work. I began taking a number of different drugs and abusing alcohol. I grew my hair long. Then I waxed and plaited it and wove beads into it. I became jealous and abusive and developed a bad temper. On more than one occasion, I landed in jail.

I moved to a small town in Western Australia and lived with my girlfriend, who was a barmaid at the local hotel. We both smoked and drank, and we grew our own marijuana crop.

HOW I BROKE FREE FROM DRUGS We had just harvested our marijuana when Jehovah’s Witnesses knocked at the door of our run-down old house. I didn’t merely accept what they said. Instead, over time, I proved to myself that what the Bible says is true. Then, one  step at a time, I battled each of my problems.

I soon knew I had to break my marijuana habit. What would that involve? I had put a lot of effort into growing my crop, so at first I thought of giving it away. But I decided that this was not a good solution and destroyed the crop instead. Prayer played a major role in helping me overcome my drug and alcohol abuse. I asked for God’s spirit to help me fight and win the battles I faced. I also stopped associating with the people who encouraged my bad habits. As I learned and applied the Bible’s teachings, I gained the emotional security I needed to overcome some of my personality flaws. My girlfriend also studied the Bible and changed her habits and lifestyle. We married. For 21 years we have enjoyed better health, and we now have the pleasure of raising two children. I shudder to think what my life would be like if I hadn’t had Jehovah’s help in changing my lifestyle.

KEY SCRIPTURE

“Jehovah is my strength and my might.”​—Isaiah 12:2.

TIP

If possible, avoid people, places, and things associated with your former drug use. Research shows that just seeing any of those can trigger cravings.

DID YOU KNOW . . . ?

Drug abuse can change the structure of your brain.

ACTION PLAN!

If I have a relapse, I will ․․․․․

What I would like to ask my parent(s) about this subject is ․․․․․

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

● Why might a person need to make drastic changes in his lifestyle if he wants to break free from drugs?

● How can learning the truth about God help?

[Blurb on page 253]

“By living up to the Bible’s high standards, I have now found happiness and meaning in life.”​—Marta

[Picture on page 256]

Overcoming addiction is like escaping a burning house​—you will leave things behind, but you will save your life