Editors Note: the following reflection was written by someone who faced incarceration and addiction. It was originally published in the newsletter Voices from Prison and the Edge (issue #34), a publication of the Adeodatus Prison Ministry under the Augustinian Defenders of the Rights of the Poor.
I was always trying to fill a void that was inside of me. If it wasn’t women, it was drugs, clothes, cars or friends. I was always trying to be accepted in life. The truth is I had no idea who I was or where I belonged in life. When I was twenty-four, I jumped bail on a drug case I had. I ended up in prison with no bail. By now I was so strung out on cocaine that I didn’t care about anything. I tried heroin for the first time. I remember my cellmate shot me up. It was everything I was looking for in life. It took that void and filled it. By the time I got out of prison this time I was off to the races. I found my true love, heroin. It loved me back by taking everything that I ever had in life including my soul. I was Satan’s partner because I hurt a lot of people to get my drug, and nothing or nobody got in my way when it came to my love.
By now I’ve been in and out of prison quite a few times. I found God in jail, but something always took me back to my old ways and my addictions. Today, I am starting to understand “why.” See, I always counted on myself. My pride would always get in the way of growth. Plus, I was looking for something that always had been there but never knew it.
Today I know that I need God and people in my life to show me how to live. I pray on this void I have for my Lord to fill it and it works. I am a thirty-nine-year-old man and I want life. I am putting my foot forward to get one, asking for help from God, and the All Mighty is putting people in my life to help me.
It’s time to face my disease. I know I am an addict, but God loves me and I’ll be free, free of the chains of myself. But it must be you that take the steps to change. I am a prisoner now, but I know in my heart that I am free.
“Earthly life is a pilgrimage, and as such it is full of temptations. But our spiritual growth is worked out in temptation. By experiencing temptations, we know ourselves. By fighting them, we have the chance to become winners. By overcoming them, we are crowned victors.” – Saint Augustine (Commentary on Psalm 80, 3).