I shared this with a friend and I thought others might like to hear how the Lord has touched me.
I will do my best to put my testimony to paper. I pray that God be glorified for the work He has begun in me. He has lifted me out of darkness.
I grew up in a home which did not attend church. I knew nothing about the Bible except for John 3:16 until I was in high school. Around my senior year of high school a mother of one of my friends on the golf team gave me a book called A Purpose Driven, Life. I read parts of it and started to become interested in God. About that same time I was working an internship and one of the employees there was a Jehovahís Witness. He and I had some discussions which got me thinking about the big questions in life. I wasnít satisfied with the responses he gave to my many questions and some of his theology seemed ridiculous.
After that summer I began my first year in college far away from home. There I met one of my good friends who is a strong Christian. I believe God was beginning to move in my life by putting Tom in my life. I attended a non-denominational church with him and I saw people shouting for joy lifting their hands in thanksgiving worshipping the Lord. I wondered why I didnít feel the same way. I went there for a couple of months but I never felt compelled to join them in worship. I didnít want to fake it as I suspected some of them were doing. I wanted the real thing, and unfortunately I didnít think it was there. The church gave me a free bible though and I stashed in a desk drawer and never opened it. Even years later when I bought other spiritual books which spoke contrary to the Bible, I still hung on to the worn NIV.
In my sophomore year of college I roomed with Tom but the rooms there were suites with a connecting bathroom. We needed 4 people to get the rooms and we only had 3, so I picked a name off a list of singles looking for roommates. His name was Joe. Tom knew Joe and thought that it was a bad idea since he was a big partier on the weekends. I didnít care so he became our fourth.
By this time I was skeptical of church and Jesus being the way. Me and Joe became friends right from the start. I began drinking with him on the weekends and listening to some of the music he was into. He and I had some discussions about God, and we criticized the church together. He grew up in a Catholic school and was bitter about being forced to participate in the church for 18 years. One day a friend of his came over from another college and brought some marijuana with him. I had never done it before, but I was open to it partly because I had found some in my parentsí bathroom years ago. I tried it and coughed like crazy. I didnít feel anything, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. So I tried it a handful more times until it began having effect on me. I began buying it myself and Joe and I would smoke some everyday after we finished our homework. I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever experienced so I smoked daily for some time. The thing I enjoyed most about it was the way music and food were 10 times more pleasing while high. Like I said I began listening to music which was a part of that scene. Like the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, and what was my favorite band for a couple of years, The String Cheese Incident. It was like marijuana turned on a switch in my mind which said question authority. In the songs I zoned out to the lyrics reinforced this and I began to do just that. Question all authority.
Looking back I can see the subtle lies Satan plants in our minds. I was smoking and getting the best grades of my life at the same time. I felt great doing it, and since it was illegal, I bought into the idea that government was there to control us. This plant was harmless I thought. Nobody has ever died from an overdose on it. So I rebelled. I began to surf the internet and found a message board which discussed marijuana and other psychedelics. I prefer to call them hallucinogens now. I read what other people had to say and began to research the drugs on drug friendly websites of course. I was buying weed from a guy on campus and I overheard that he was getting some mushrooms in. After reading reports of otherís experiences on mushrooms and after my pleasant experiences on marijuana, I thought mushrooms were exactly what I was looking for.
People said mushrooms produced some of the most spiritual experiences they ever had in their lives. I took them and my eyes were opened to the world in a new way. One of my ideas is this could have been what it was like for Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit. For 5 hours alone in the woods behind my college campus I thought in a new way and began to feel like the answers to all my questions would be found by using psychedelics. This experience fueled my spiritual quest and my desire to try other varieties of these ďteacherĒ plants as some in that circle called them.
I wonít go into detail all of my experiences on these drugs. I took them about once a month and always had one intention in mind. To know the truth. I tried LSD, mescaline, and a legal drug called Salvia in that pursuit.
In the winter of my sophomore year I got in trouble with the law. I went to a party called Around the World where each room in the frat house represented a different country. The last country I remember being in was Russia with a large cup of vodka. I blacked out as I had a few times before but this time I woke up in jail. The officers there told me I had assaulted three police officers that night which were all felonies. For the first time since I could remember I prayed to God. There was a little New Testament in the cell and I read it. I had nowhere to turn so I looked to God but didnít really expect any answers from the God I had almost written off at this point. My dad drove up from Atlanta and bailed me out. I saw sadness in his eyes and we didnít speak much but this experience jolted me into the realization that I needed to change my ways.
I ended up getting into a program called Drug Court which is an intense probation that lasts 18 months. If I completed it without infraction, the charges would be dropped. I was drug tested twice a week and had to go every morning for a while to blow into a breathalyzer. I had to attend an 8 week drug rehab course while attending 3 AA meetings a week. So I stopped drinking which wasnít a big deal since I knew it wasnít helping me anyway. What I didnít want to do was stop smoking marijuana, but being drug tested twice a week forced me to stay clean of it for the next 18 months. I remembered reading that the hallucinogens I was so interested in did not show up on drug tests, so I kept up my once a month journey into the unknown throughout the probation.
It was around this time that I viewed the psychedelics as catalysts in my spiritual growth, but I needed more discipline I thought. I began to read books by mystics around the world. I took their advice and began to meditate as they do in the East. Clearing the mind of all thoughts Zen Buddhism style. I practiced diligently for about 2 years. It was something I practiced all day long even when I wasnít sitting in silence for hours at a time. I was on a quest for what Buddhism calls awakening or enlightenment.
The hunger in me for truth in me grew and grew and the states of altered consciousness I achieved through meditation made me think I was heading in the right direction. A few months into new spiritual discipline I had a dream. It was a blinding white light and I instinctively knew that God was there. A gripping terror overtook me and I woke up in a sweat. I know it was from God. I did not give the dream the attention it deserved and basically ignored it.
So the months went by. I kept a good front with my probation officer and jumped through all the hoops. By this time Tom had dropped out of school due to grades so I had the room to myself. I spent most of my time alone throughout my sophomore and junior years. Taking long walks and reading a growing library of spiritual writings which promised peace and joy and power. I did not go home for over a year as I was not allowed to leave the state so my parents did not see me during this period where I was changing from the innocent conservative young man from my high school days into a left wing liberal Buddhist.
On my last experience with mushrooms I remember being thrown into lunacy. I thought that I was talking with God and I think I may have been. He told me to never take mushrooms again and I never did. I came out of that crazy experience shaken. This was in around May of 2007. In June I was released from probation and that night I went to my friend Joeís house to celebrate with a little marijuana. We smoked and I think I said some very strange things to him. I didnít sleep that night. I was off the deep end but it was not all unfamiliar territory due to my past experiences. I didnít come out of this one though.
That night was the last time I ever touched drugs. I did not come out of the psychosis which the marijuana triggered for six weeks. There were voices I could communicate with which told me some very troubling things. I now believe I had allowed demons into my life which were threatening to destroy me. I will not go into all the delusions and madness that I went through but it was very painful. I went home that summer and met my parents in this psychotic state. That night I fled from home and listened to the voice in my head. I jumped on a plane to California where I continued my quest for truth while hitch hiking around. By the grace of God I made it back home. My parents took me to a mental hospital where I was admitted with delusions of being Jesus.
For a month I was in there and this is where God reached out to me once again. Like when I was in jail I had nowhere to turn. I had no hope. I knew my way of doing things did not work. There was a King James Bible amidst all the magazines in the hospital and I picked it up. I opened it randomly to a page and the word of God sliced through me like a sword.
ďFor the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.Ē Hebrews 4:12
I closed it out of fear. Every time I picked it up it spoke to exactly what I was thinking of. I became afraid of it. I was being convicted deeply of sin and didnít realize it. The pressure just grew and grew until one night I had a vision of hell. I knew I was on my way there and I began to confess my sins. A peace overcame me as I cried out to God. A brother in Christ there prayed over me the next day and I saw the power Jesus had over the demonic spirits which were terrorizing me. I knew Jesus was the way but I did not know how to follow Him. I was not grounded in the Word and my psychosis was not yet under control by the medication, but I knew I had found what I was desperately looking for all my life. I was still caught in the raging battle between good and evil as the dark forces which I followed sought to destroy my new relationship with the Lord. My mind was filled with all sorts of God hating thoughts and I became discouraged but I continued to fight for my life. I knew Jesus was the only way as that hunger for truth in me had been filled.
ďJesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.Ē - John 6:26
I was filled.