Part 1 (Introduction)
My name is Gary and I’m a recovering drug addict. My addiction to drugs started at age twelve in 1972 and my battle with drugs still rages inside me today.
My story will consist of 3 parts. First will be the introduction.
The second part is called “The Letter To Heaven.” I wrote this letter while sitting in Parker County Jail. The letter was written to my only son Jesse Taylor, who on June 21, 2007 (the first day of summer) was killed in a tragic drowning accident in Kingfisher Oklahoma. I wrote this letter about 4:30 A.M. one morning while everyone else in my cell was asleep.
At the time I was writing this letter to my dead son I had no idea why I was even writing it. But it was if my pen had a mind of its own. I had been in jail nearly 10 months and was facing 4 felony charges that were fixing to send me to prison for a long time. These charges all stemmed from some things found in a girl’s purse that had been left in the backseat of my truck. The girl was a good friend of mine and I was on my way to take the purse back to her in Fort Worth. I never even looked in the purse, so I didn’t know she had drugs and some other contraband inside it. My past criminal record, and the fact that I had a package of new needles in my boot when the State Trooper pulled me over, makes me now able to understand why no one would believe that I didn’t know what was in that purse.
My court appointed attorney, (Mrs. Tiffany Branson, who by the way was wonderful) after reading my letter to heaven, convinced the district attorney to give me a lie detector test, which I passed by simply telling the truth. All the felony charges in Parker County were then dismissed, (that is a miracle in and of itself) I still had one felony charge in Denton County to answer to, and I was guilty, as guilty can be, on that one. To make a long story short, I received 3 years in prison (T.D.C.) but I also got credit for all of my back time (time spent in county jails) which was about 15 months. That was another of many miracles that happened at that time in my life. So my actual time spent in prison was only about 3 months (another miracle).
I hated prison and jail but they make it that way on purpose to keep you from returning, and my faith in God enabled me to help some other guys who were in a lot more trouble than I. The Letter to Heaven has inspired and helped a lot of people. I hope you enjoy reading it.
The third part of my story is called, “ How To Win The War Against Drug Addiction” This is where my story might get kind of controversial and might offend some people. This is the third time I’ve rewritten this story. Each time I’ve tried to change my wording to make it readable and helpful to everyone. But I finally realized that it will rub some people the wrong way no matter how I word it. If you are an atheist, well I’ve been there and done that too.
I’ve only been a born again Christian for a little over 5 years. I claimed not to believe in God for most of my life, but as I stood on that bridge where my Jesse dove to his death I cursed the very God I said I didn’t believe in for allowing my only child to be taken away from me. I now believe, with all my heart that if God has chosen you to be one of His children that He will do, or allow, things in your life that will change your mind and make you become a true believer. And it might be something really extreme, like allowing the death of someone you love or maybe something even worse than death. So with that said, I can only give you my true and sincere thoughts and beliefs. My cell number and address will be given to you near the end of this story, but you will either have to finish reading it or cheat and skip to the end to get it (smiling here).
But you will not sway or change my faith in God no matter what you do or say to me. And if you’re a preacher or church member and you disagree with my beliefs, well I love to learn everything I can about God and His Word and I will listen with an open mind. But at the same time, if you call or write to condemn, judge, or just gripe at me, or you try and sway me from the truth that is being taught to me daily by my Bible and through the Holy Spirit, you will be wasting your time and breath. I’m going to use the Holy Spirit who now resides within me to try my very best to never return to alcohol, drugs, or that lifestyle again. But please remember that I am a weak and sinful recovering drug addict who will always make mistakes. But I am also a born again child of God and I will do my best to never judge anyone because when I judge you I also am judging myself and we’re all guilty. And Christ, will one day judge us all!
Part 2 (The Letter to Heaven)
Wow where do I start? You can’t imagine how much I miss you, or maybe you can. The one thing I am sure of is that my life will never be the same since you are gone. I’m not the same person I was 4 years ago. The main change in me is that I’m now a born again Christian, and Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.
Friday morning, June 22, 2007 I woke up about 6:00 A.M. and I walked into the living room and found your granddad Doug sitting in his chair still wearing the same clothes that he had worn when he came and picked me up about 5 hours earlier. The first thing I noticed was he was crying. I asked him what was wrong but he couldn’t speak because he was sobbing sohard. He finally managed to say, “Gary yesterday afternoon Jesse dove in the water to go swimming and now they can’t find him.” Jesse those words hit me like a sledge hammer. I completely lost it. I ran out of the house screaming.
The drive from Texas to Oklahoma, and the next 3 days as we searched for your body were by far the worst time of my life. I can’t describe the despair and pain I felt as I stood on the bridge staring at the swift, muddy, nasty water that had become your grave. You had been in the water for 2 days and I had been pacing back and forth along the bank of the creek ever since I’d arrived on Friday afternoon.
Saturday morning the governor declared Kingfisher County a disaster area. The status of the search changed from a rescue mission to a recovery mission. They brought in dogs that were trained to sniff out bodies. The dogs hit on an area where there was a concrete spillway about 50 feet from the bridge from which you had dove. The water was so swift that the rescue divers couldn’t get in the water, so they brought in overhead cranes to set concrete highway dividers across the spillway to divert some of the water. Jesse you would have been so proud of all your friends and all the people involved in getting you out of that nasty water. There were 13 volunteer fire departments, 2 swift water rescue teams, and the Oklahoma State Troopers had a dive team and a helicopter involved in the search. The Salvation Army had set up a trailer and they were feeding everyone. They also had counselors there for your
friends to help them cope with their loss. In all there were about 300 people involved in the search and everyone wanted you out of that nasty water.
I can’t describe the love that I felt from not only the people involved, but everyone in Kingfisher. That love gave me the strength to keep my sanity in an insane situation. Anyway just about the time they thought they had located your body and were getting close to getting you out of the water a really bad storm cloud appeared. There was large hail and a tornado warning. The entire recovery operation had to be abandoned. Man that was just about the last straw for me.
After the storm finally ended most of the volunteers had gone home; after all we had been looking for your body for nearly 3 days. Later that afternoon right before dark I pulled my truck up to the creek just as close as I could get to where I thought your body was. I got in the backseat and was laying with my legs hanging out of the open door. I had hung my old cowboy hat on the headrest above me. The rains from the storm had caused the creek to rise another 4 feet higher, so it sounded like a roaring river going past me. As I lay there listening to the roaring water with my eyes closed, suddenly my entire truck shook and caused my hat to fall and hit me on my chest. I rose up and you were sitting and smiling at me from the front seat for just a few seconds; then you were gone. I know now with all my heart that the vision was given to me by an angel to let me know you were ok.
There are no words that can describe the joy and peace I felt at that moment. I went from total despair and hopelessness to a peacefulness that no human should feel after a loss like I had just experienced. I get chills right now as I recall it. I believe God gave me a tiny glimpse of heaven and how it will feel when I get there. The power of His love was so strong that I was totally overwhelmed. Suddenly I knew everything was going to be ok. I didn’t know till the next morning but your body was found exactly 7 minutes after I saw you in my truck.
Jesse even after witnessing that miracle I still returned to my old ways. I did some really stupid and crazy things during the next few months and eventually ended up in prison for them. I’m writing this letter from a jail cell right now. But now everything is ok because you see, God in all His power and glory took the most horrible thing that could have ever happened to me and he turned it around and made it into the greatest blessing I’ve ever received. How can anyone ever say that God doesn’t do miracles in our world today! So thanks to Jesus Christ and you Jesse, I’m now saved and you and I will spend eternity in paradise with God. Praise The Lord!
Today the Holy Spirit is teaching me and helping me to learn how to stay off drugs and alcohol, and that is so cool! I consider my time in prison and jail to be like school, I even call it Holy Ghost School. And I don’t believe God will let me stay here much longer. I’m going to get out and spend the rest of my life helping others and serving God. Your granddad and grandma also need my help. Jesse if you can look down from heaven you now see a dad that you can be proud of. So son I will see you when I get through with whatever God has left for me to do in this world. Until then please know how much I miss you and love you.
Love always your dad!
P.S. See you when I get there and keep your wings clean and trimmed (smiling here)
Part 3 (How to Win the War Against Drug Addiction)
Forty years is a long time to be a slave to something, or in simpler terms, to be addicted to drugs. So therefore my story is a long one. I pray that you will keep an open mind while you read, and remember this is my story, this is what is working, and keeping me clean one day at a time. It can be the answer for anyone who is a slave to addiction, and its working for me. I believe it will help anyone who will open their mind to its simple truths.
Another thing I should tell you before we begin is that in this story there will not be any graphic tales, or war stories, as some like to call them. You will just have to take my word that in the last 40 years I have seen and done things that would probably make you sick to your stomach. But that’s not what this story is about.
It’s about the simple tools, and truths we can all use to win the war against drug addiction. Oh yes, one other thing before we begin. In this story there will be a few references to scripture from the Holy Bible, but please don’t let that keep you from reading with an open mind. I know that for most of my life when someone mentioned the Bible, or scripture, or church, I quickly found a reason to get away from that person. If you’re one of those people please give me a chance, and at least finish reading my story.
Whether you believe what I’m telling you or not, I’m going to tell you the truth about who, and what you are really fighting against. So with all that said let us begin with a little bit of scripture.
ROMANS chapter 7: 15 says, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT I DO. I DON’T DO WHAT I WANT TO DO. INSTEAD I DO WHAT I HATE TO DO. 16; I DO WHAT I DO NOT WANT TO DO. SO I AGREE THAT THE LAW IS GOOD. (He is talking about God’s law not Parker County’s.) 17; AS IT IS, I AM NO LONGER THE ONE WHO DOES THESE THINGS. IT IS SIN LIVING INSIDE ME THAT DOES THESE THINGS.
These words give me an inner peace and comfort, because you see, the apostle Paul, who was taught by Jesus Christ himself, suffered from the same doubts, fears, and inner conflicts that I suffer with daily in my battle with drug addiction. If a great man like Paul battled against these things, it makes me realize that I’m not alone, and all humans share a lot of these confusing emotions, and feelings. Now that we know that were not alone, and that all human beings on this planet struggle with these same inner conflicts, fears, and emotions, it’s time to look truthfully at who and what we’re really fighting against.
Again let us go to Gods word: EPHESIANS 6:12 says, OUR FIGHT IS NOT AGAINST HUMAN BEINGS. IT IS AGAINST THE RULERS, THE AUTHORITIES, AND THE POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD. IT IS AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL IN THE HEAVENLY WORLD. Yes our fight is with that old devil himself. He uses a huge arsenal of weapons against us, but in my opinion one of his greatest weapons is ourselves. Yes our own bodies, minds, and emotions are being used against us daily as we struggle with addiction.
Let me try to explain this. Ever since I really got serious about beating my drug addiction I’ve fought a losing battle with myself. All my willpower, actions, good intentions, and best thoughts have eventually caused me to find myself with a needle, pipe, or drink in my hand. I have found it totally impossible to beat my addiction with these human traits.
LUKE 18:27 says THINGS THAT ARE IMPOSSIBLE WITH MAN ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD. So as long as we keep trying to fight these battles with our minds, bodies, emotions and all of our weak human traits we will continue to eventually slip, or relapse when the temptations and pressures of life start to build up on our shoulders. So even though it goes against everything we think is right we have to finally give in and admit that as long as we keep fighting these things by ourselves, and trying to beat these demons alone we are doomed to fail. Until we finally surrender, and let God do what we can’t do by ourselves, were going to find ourselves doing the same old stuff that we have always done. We will end up right
back in the same hole where we started.
In 2 CORINTHIANS 12:9 Jesus told Paul, HIS GRACE IS ALL THAT YOU NEED. HIS POWER IS STRONGEST WHEN WE ARE WEAK. When we are finally broken, and to the point where we can finally admit defeat, that’s when God will do His powerful and miraculous healing, that’s when our lives will begin to get better. God’s best work is when we are defeated, and at our worst. Everybody’s point of brokenness is different. Some people hit bottom when they lose their possessions, for others it might be prison, or jail. In my case, it was the death of my only son that finally made me give in, and let God start to change me from the inside where there was such a deep and dark void. I didn’t even know this void existed inside me. But let me warn you, if you think all these wonderful changes are going to happen overnight then you will be disappointed many times, and will hit bottom very hard over, and over again because sometimes it’s a slow and painful process.
Everybody likes to think that God will divinely Intervene to instantly fix everything that’s wrong with us, and I’m not saying that in certain cases He doesn’t do exactly that. But in my case His Divine Intervention came in the form of pain, anger, failure, and many of those dreaded relapses. I am not one of those people who can be told how to do what is right and good for me and respond instantly without many reminders. I’m a hardhead, who only learns sometimes by first doing things wrong, and a lot of times I have to do them wrong over, and over again, until it hurts so bad that I finally begin to understand and do things right.
Sometimes God teaches His children, especially the bratty ones like me, we have to fail many times before we will accept His love and grace so that dark void I spoke of earlier can be filled with His Holy Spirit. ROMANS 8:28 says, WE KNOW THAT IN ALL THINGS GOD WORKS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. HE APPOINTED THEM TO BE SAVED IN KEEPING WITH HIS PURPOSE. That tells me that there will always be things happening in my life that will seem tragic, and horrible, like the death of my son, or any number of things that I can’t begin to think of or understand. But God, in all His wisdom and power, takes these seemingly bad things and uses them for my own good. God takes the very same weapons that Satan uses against me, like pain, anger, depression, and pride, and yes He even uses a shot of dope sometimes to teach His children the hard lessons that we could not have learned any other way.
You might say that God “flips the script” on the devil and shows him that he will never be able to snatch even one of His chosen children because God’s love is so powerful that Satan’s hatred of all that is good, is defeated every time. You have to finally figure out that He chose you before this world was even created, and since you are a child of the one true God, you will not lose when all is said and done. The gradual change that won’t be completed until your time in this sinful body is completed is called sanctification, or in simpler terms, you are being set apart for a divine purpose and on that glorious day you will become like Christ, and you will become an heir to the Kingdom of God, just like Jesus.
So sit back, take a deep breath, and the next time you mess up or relapse don’t be so hard on yourself. We are all just sinful children who are being taught by a Father that loves us more than our simple human minds can ever figure out. And for many of us we will experience failure, and heartache before we finally surrender and let God do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
Another thing that has to be a top priority in this war against addiction is we have to lose all of the old drug buddies we once called friends. They are not your friends, and Satan will use those people to deceive and drag you back into the hole where they live. If you are seriously trying to stop the dope, most of these people will drop you like a hot rock when they see the new you that is slowly changing into a person who hates drugs and the lifestyle that goes with it. If any of them are really your true friends they will respect what you are doing to change your life, and leave you alone.
Drug addiction is literally hell on earth, and I believe hell does exist here on earth. The Bible teaches that hell is total separation from God. And when you are out there smoking, drinking, or shooting dope with the devil and his demons you are totally separated from God. There is no middle ground, you are either serving God, or you are serving Satan. God turns his back to all sin, He hates sin. So the next time you are walking through Wal-Mart or any public place, and you see that person whose eyes seem hollow, and have that lost, and dead look to them, you very well might be looking at a person who is in hell here on earth.
I’ve talked to preachers and church members who claimed that they didn’t have a drug problem because nobody they were associated with used drugs. But in my opinion anyone who drives a car, or goes in a public place is vulnerable to a potential drug problem. People need to open their eyes to what is really going on in the world today. Drugs and the people who use them are everywhere, and you and your children are exposed to those people every day. You never know when you will cross paths with some freaked out meth head who has been awake for 8 or 10 days. It’s very possible that person will be carrying a pistol and might think you and everyone else is after him. You pass these people on the streets, and your children go to school with them, so their drug problem can instantly become your drug problem just because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. We all have a drug problem in the
So please never get the mindset that you are immune and drugs do not affect your life. We are in a war here. Satan is trying to run the show in our world today. He will lose big time when all is said and done, but until that day the timing of which only God knows, you better watch your backside because our enemy loves it when people are naïve, and blind to his sneaky attacks.
For most of my life I thought it was ok to smoke a little K2, weed, drink a few beers, or even do an occasional shot of speed, as long as I controlled it. But today the Holy Spirit is showing me how totally wrong that thinking was. Anything I use to alter my mind, no matter how innocent it may seem at the time, is the huge leap through that wide gate that leads us straight to hell, Jesus tells us about it in the Bible. So let an old dope head give you a little advise that might save you a lot of pain, misery, and even hell on earth. Get yourselves a Bible that you can understand, there are many great translations, I use the N.I.V. easy readers edition myself. Then don’t just read it, instead, read it over, and over, and over, especially the New Testament. Study it every day and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth in the scriptures, if you will diligently search you will find answers to all the questions you have about not only your drug problems, but all problems in your life. The Bible will be your best tool in this war you are fighting daily. I promise you this! The comfort, peace, and unconditional love, will then begin to change you from deep inside. Your life will just keep getting better and better and soon other people will begin to see the new you that will emerge. Man the Holy Spirit is telling me so many things that I need to reveal to people as I write this. I’d have to write a book to include them all. I pray that what I’ve said will give you a starting place on your journey with the one true God, and that you will continue with Him to find a peace, and comfort, in your life that only belief in Jesus Christ will bring you. Two of my favorite scriptures are from ROMANS 8; 38-39 I AM ABSOUTELY SURE THAT NOT EVEN DEATH OR LIFE CAN SEPARATE YOU FROM GODS LOVE. NOT EVEN ANGELS OR DEMONS, OR THE PRESENT OR THE FUTURE, OR ANY POWERS CAN DO THAT. 39 NOT EVEN THE HIGHEST OR THE LOWEST, OR ANYTHING ELSE IN ALL CREATION CAN DO THAT. NOTHING AT ALL CAN EVER SEPARATE US FROM GODS LOVE BECAUSE OF WHAT CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD HAS DONE.
Thanks for reading my little story, and try your best to always remember and understand that no matter what you have done in the past, if you will let God and His awesome love take total control of every aspect of your life then your war with Satan and his use of addictions was actually won 2000 years ago when our savior, Jesus Christ, allowed himself to be hung from that cross. He took all the sin of the whole human race and nailed it to that cross. He was totally separated from God the Father and therefore entered into the hell that all humanity rightly deserves. So he really did a lot more than just die for us! When you can truly and with heartfelt sincerity begin to understand what Jesus did for all of us that day on the cross your battles and struggles in this evil world will become so much easier. But until you finally surrender and give your battle to God you will remain in your self-inflicted hell here on earth. And the time is coming soon when the choices you have made will be final and forever. Then it will be too late and all the “I’m sorry’s and please forgive me God” will be nothing but wasted words. Then your hell will become eternal and forever. Pretty scary thought huh? So you better be careful whom and what you play with.
It’s really easy and simple to let your Father God do it all for you. Just surrender and let God love you the way he does anyway, and love Him just because He loves you. Then everything else will fall into place, and you will start seeing life as a child of the Most High God. And I promise you; that is awesome, and you will be totally amazed at the turn around in your life. Thanks again for reading my little story and may Gods wonderful blessings soon create a new you, and a life that will be worth living. Peace and remember GOD LOVES YOU!
P.S. Many people have helped me on my path to being drug free, but I want to especially thank the following, Charlene who is a drug counselor with SAGE in Weatherford and is a true and cherished friend. Also Bob Hopkins (R.G.) the fire marshal of Parker County. These people always took time from their busy schedules to help me or just to visit when I wanted to talk. Thanks guys! But most of all my thanks are to Jesus Christ and my son Jesse Taylor who both gave up their lives here on earth so that I might find my life……….Eternally! I would love to talk to any individuals, or groups, schools, churches, or anyone who desires help with their problems concerning addiction, faith, or loss of a loved one. I might not have the answers but I will help to you to find the people who will have the answers, and we all need help at times.
Comments from the Original Post
misty lakin 4.11.13
im trying really hard to stay strong in my faith with christ as i had a hard life also but mine was being sexually abused and growing up in foster homes..i am dealing with some really serious health issues of heart,iron,blood and liver and so much more and im going to be 36 next month…i dont blame GOD at all…GOD is good…I pray alot and read scripture but i have no positive support or nobody to talk to cause im single cause i have been hurt to much…im happy and at peace and i have a clean heart but it would be nice to have support…I lean on GOD and trust GOD..Hes the truth the light and the way…
Thank you for sharing your story. It gives me hope that my son (who has been an addict for more than 10 years) will someday be touched enough by something to get clean, too. As I watch the effects of crack on his physical body, I wonder how he can continue on this downward spiral. He denies that he uses, so I can’t even discuss it with him. Anyway, I just want you to know that you encouraged me.
God bless you,
Lola Mcmillian-Hale 2.13.13
I love your story, I just recently loss my husband on the 1st od this year suddenly nd am having a hard time dealing with his passing, I have dranked beer since I was in high school off and on, I am now 46 and I have recently started back drinking, I drink a 40 ounce and 2 tall cans of beer everynight, I know I should’nt do itbut it is helping me with the pain, I read my bible and I am a christian and I notoced rhat when I am not drinking I am more focused buy I need to drink to deal with this pain, please help me, Thank you.
Cheryl Kelly 2.9.13
Please everybody forgive me for my mis spelling i can’t see very well i responded from a tiny phone did the best i could am disabled.ms kelly i love this story and the brother who written it keep your faith in God Gary not man Amen
Cheryl Kelly 2.9.13
Wow You are another one added to the list sorry for ur lost but sometime God take away and sometime give so sad u had to lose to gain butt God is in the one in control .u really did’nt lose God has ur baby in heaven with him and yout still here to tell your story and let people know to get ththeir life in order and know God is so real .am crying because time is near and the word of God is say Few so i am a firm beleaver in God and one day we all will neal at his feet .non beleaver and and beleavers i just live my life seeking him its s battle but i know and now you know it ‘s the lord .so i am happy to cry the tears of joy of yout story just know God gave it to you to tell others even me my brother.i am going to tell others your story and i am going to write a book myself and will use a brief story of your in it to let others know to Wake up God is on the way are you Ready .Blessing my brother you lifted my spirit in a sad moment of this night .may God give you strength to proceed in sharing the word of God and touching people life. God bless you
Pete Chambers 2.8.13
What an inspiring story this is. I have struggled with chronic pain for over 20 years, and with it,the seemingly endless supply of prescription painkillers that go with it. It has almost cost me my marriage, more than once, as well as my career in public education. The physical pain is still a daily struggle, but my daily walk with the Lord helps me make it through each day. You’re right on man, the devil is on the prowl constantly deceiving us into believing that the use of drugs,alcohol, and other sinful devices is okay, when in truth, they can ultimately destroy us,and that’s just what old Satan would love to see happen.
Mr Gary, I love your spirit, God bless you so much, and I love what you called the prison Holy Ghost School. You’re awesome, and may the Holy Spirit give you strength to keep away from alchohol and drugs and someday you will be reunited with Jesse in Heaven by God’s grace in Jesus Name, Amen. Peace, remain blessed. Thank You so much Lord Jesus Christ.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT PART 3. I REALLY ENJOYED YOUR STORY THUS FAR, EVEN AS SAD AS IT IS TO LOOSE A CHILD.
I wrote a book called My Pen, His Thoughts. It is not that your pen had a mind of its own; it’s that His Own expressed His mind through your pen. It has happened to me several times. Even when I released a book of plays called See My Purpose:20 Plays, many of the plays had such a revealing spiritual content that I knew I’d only been the notetaker and not the author. Believe, surrender, obey and manifest. Truly God is good–ALL OF THE TIME.
Steve Kuhn 2.2.13
keep up the good work. God rewarded Abraham for his faith and counted unto him as to righteousness! Keep the Faith going as God is good all the time!
Donita Frederick Stratton 2.1.13
My story is similar to yours…..
Calvin Nokes 2.1.13
Love your story I too am now an addict still but also a grateful anal cancer survivor who knows the lord is real and has giving me many blessings but I’m struggling with same sex attractions and I know he does’nt approve I’m in a 19yr relationship and I’m not happy because I know it’s wrong but I can’t say goodbye. My deepest sympathy for the loss of your son at least you experience that blessing I have not. And May God Continue to Bless You Always.
this sounds like a very interesting story that i personally can relate to!! im very excited to read the rest of it!!