My name is Tony. I was born in North Carolina and at the age of 1 1/2 moved to the suburbs of Chicago. I was raised without any formal teaching in the area of religion, quite the contrary. My parents were pretty secular in their views and also quite liberal in their thinking. They believed in the Alderian concept of child rearing, which is to say they let me get away with murder( not literally)…
By the time I reached 12 or 13 I was pretty much classified as a juvenile delinquent. Though there weren’t many repercussions because I never got caught. This activity ranged from stealing cars to burglary to vandalism. And most of the time I got away with it. At the same time I started drinking and doing drugs. Most of the escapades I pulled were when I was drunk, high or bored. Usually all three. I started drinking alcoholically from day one. One wasn’t enough and neither were thirteen. I drugged the same way. Starting out with pot then speed, downers, PCP, coke then LSD. Usage was recreational (or so I thought) at first, then I started dealing to keep my habit costs down. By the time I was sixteen I was dealing a pound every two or three days and dropping six hits of blotter at a time just to catch a buzz. At seventeen I totaled my mothers VW and went through the windshield. I also was of legal age to join
the service. My thought was they had better, cheaper drugs overseas, my parents thought it would instill some responsibility in me. (They signed the papers.)
After four years overseas, a lot of busts and subsequent urinalysis,I was out. With two years to go in the reserves I went back home, a somewhat better person, but still having all the answers to my life. I got married, moved to Colorado to go to school. Still drinking as much as those around me (strange, huh?) and smoking a lot of dope. After my first DUI I went to “Alcohol Education 1” and caught my first glimpse of my problem, but I could take care of that since I now KNEW. After two more DUIs in the next three years I lost my marriage, my house, two cars, two dogs and three cats. (the Lord knew better than to bless me with kids at this time).
I was attending group therapy by this time pretty regularly, 2 or 3 times a week. All the while knowing that I could handle anything else that came my way. I was attending AA meetings 5 times a week, but since I didn’t get arrested for DUIs when I was getting high, I figured that was still OK.Then I slipped and started drinking again. The Lord was swift in His intervention because I received my fourth DUI and was sentenced under Colorado law as a “Habitual Offender”.This meant a MINIMUM of one year in the state penitentiary.Again I was blessed by God (though I had no idea). The judge said the time frame of my offenses was over by TWO days. He sentenced me to one year in county jail, suspended 275 days and I got 90. So here I sat in the Arapaho County Hilton with nothing to do but make chow ( I was a trustee) and contemplate the wreckage of my life. At this time I started reading the bible. I prayed a lot but didn’t have any idea what salvation was. I just knew I needed someone to talk to.
Time in jail is boring. So boring that I started responding to personal ads as a joke. This was sort of in vain because I didn’t realize my out going mail was stamped “CENSORED INMATE MAIL ENCLOSED”. The joke was on me….. Until I got a response. Some woman in Boulder had actually written back! We corresponded for awhile and when I got out I called her. She had since gotten engaged and had set a date. I drank again, but I had the good sense not to drive. About a month went by when she called me. Her fiance had threatened her with bodily injury, she had grabbed her three year old daughter and left the house returning that day to remove his belongings a kick him out. We decided to meet. We talked about moral values, ethics and how each of us would raise children. She was a Christian I was not.
She is now my wife of almost seven years. I knelt down with her, after being with her for three months, to ask Jesus to come into my life. And He definitely has. I’ve been blessed with my daughter and my son, who was a home birth,(The LORD was there in force)and the most understanding and loving wife I could ever have asked for.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t make mistakes, still think I know everything now and then, get angry, sad or operate in self will sometimes.It doesn’t mean I haven’t turned my back on the Lord at one time and drank and drugged again, when I didn’t stay close to Him and His Word. It does mean that when things don’t go my way I don’t have to pick up a bottle or a joint, I can pick up a Bible. It does mean that I don’t have to go around mad at the world wondering why others have more(or different) things than me. It does mean that I have everlasting life in Jesus and when things get bad I have that personal relationship with Him so I can talk. I don’t pray enough or witness enough and I don’t praise Him as much as I should. But that all doesn’t matter because He died on the cross for my sins and I am forgiven through His grace and He KNOWS what is in my HEART.