As far back as I can remember I always felt out of place, worthless, unable to communicate with others. I adapted my behaviour to fit in with my surroundings. I became involved in gang culture.I became a drug dealer. I was well-known in my city. I thought it was great and I thrived off my newfound popularity.
Yet I always had this inner voice saying, “This isn’t you, Nathaniel. Soon you will get caught out!” I watched people deteriorate as I sold them drugs, but was so greedy for money that I ignored my conscience. By the age of 26 I was taking drugs, too.
In December 2002 my best friend was brutally murdered. I felt a massive sense of guilt. I knew my friend looked up to me. I couldn’t take this way of life any more, so one night I cried out in tears to Yahweh from the depths of my soul, “Please help me! If You are real, I need You to come and save me.” I sobbed myself to sleep. When I woke, something had changed. I felt different. I bumped into a friend who’d become a Christian. For five hours he talked with me and I met the real Yahshua that day. I went home and prayed. A Presence came over me, which I knew from my childhood. I spoke out saying, “It’s You! I remember You from when I was young!” Then I realised that Yahshua had been with me as a child. This really blew me away!
My life changed dramatically. Yahshua freed me from my addictions and cravings. I left my old environment and associates, and got a job. I studied the Bible and learnt lots. I had such peace! For the first time in my life I felt complete, but I became confused. I was changing so fast! I felt I was losing my identity. What was happening?
I was baptised in September 2003, and someone told me, “Don’t turn to the left or right. Keep going forward, for what Yahshua is doing in your life is for your good.” But I ignored them. This choice cost me dear, because something inside me seemed to snap until, by November 2004, my life had spiralled out of control. I became addicted to cocaine, linked up with old friends, and was consumed by shame and guilt.
In January 2005 I resigned my job and walked out on my long-term partner and children, who were heartbroken. I disappeared into the underworld. I used drugs every day and my health deteriorated rapidly. I looked in the mirror one day and didn’t recognise myself. I couldn’t cope with what I’d become and the damage I’d caused those around me. I isolated myself and took more drugs to numb the pain of my actions. I was running away from everything. I couldn’t talk to church friends because I thought they’d judge me. My mental state took a turn for the worse and I began to lose touch with reality. I was powerless over my thoughts, actions and behaviour. Physically, I was dying; mentally, I was close to insanity.
I called to the Almighty, Yahshua, my Saviour. “You said You would never leave me or forsake me.” Deep down I was sure I belonged to Him. I decided to open up and ask for help. An organisation that specialised in helping people with addictions was pointed out to me. I entered a rehabilitation centre called ‘Jericho House,’ where I had the opportunity to take a long, hard look at myself and face my insecurities and fears. Though painful, it was a life-saving experience because of the unconditional love of the staff and the mutual respect all residents had for each other.
Now I know who I am, and I’m aware of my assets and defects. Each day I seek to live as He leads me; this helps to improve my character and because of His help and the change taking place in my life, I work to help others to battle addictions. Yahweh has done a miracle in the life of my family, restoring and healing my partner and children.
Whatever you are going through in life the Saviour is able to bring you through! Yahshua died so we can be forgiven for the wrong things we have done. What’s more, He rose from the dead and is with those who call on Him. He is not a dead man in a grave, He is alive and will never leave or abandon those who want to know Him. Why not make up your mind to turn to Him and call out to Him? Why not make up your mind to live a better life? You can do that by believing on Yahshua, turning away from the wrongs things you do, like I did, then He will be your constant companion and friend.