My name is Brandon Smith.
I am a 19-year clean meth, cocaine, and heroin addict. My addiction began when I was invited to participate in a motorcycle race in South America. At that point, I had never taken a drug in my life. I didn’t even drink alcohol. I ran into buddies I had not seen in the motorcycle industry for years. Typical Motocross guys are Type A adrenaline junkies. We walked around the town of Curacao and, as in most countries down there, a lot of people were smoking marijuana. A guy just walked up to me and asked if we wanted some pot. I said, “No, I don’t do drugs!” My buddy asked if he had any cocaine. I was in awe! I told him I had only seen that stuff on TV. I ended up trying it and I liked it right off the bat! After a week of doing cocaine I came home and wanted more…and I found it.
My addiction progressively got worse. It went from cocaine to methamphetamine, then heroin. It had progressively gotten worse over the course of about two years. Oh, by the way, did I mention that I was 23 years old, married, and had a 3 year-old and a 6-month old? My wife, Jennifer, noticed the change but had never been around any type of drugs and didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing.
We took our 3 year old to see Sesame Street Live in Atlanta. I’ll never forget the day. That night she marched me to my parents’ house and confronted me in front of them. I sat on the couch next to my mom and dad, when Jennifer looked at me and said, “You’re going to tell us what’s going on,” and she pointed at me she said, “This is not the man I married.” I was ready to stop using at that point (which is key) and I told her I needed help. I admitted to her and my parents that I was a drug addict. My dad thought it was a joke. I stood up and pulled some drugs out of my pocket and told him I had been carrying it with me for a week and had not gotten high, but if I did not get some help NOW I would smoke every bit of it that night!! I can still remember it like it was yesterday.
Jennifer leaned over me as I sat on the couch, tears pouring from her face, when she put her finger in my face it and told me, “I’m so mad at you! You have hurt me!” I had shorts on and I can still feel her tears that were hitting my legs when she leaned over me. And, I will never forget what she said next. “But I love you and we will make it through this!”
That was the beginning of a long recovery and a slow growth process that was necessary. I went into an IOP, an intensive outpatient program. I would spend three to four hours a night learning how to cope with my problems. I would stay clean 30 days, 60 days, then I would use again – but no one knew! I quit using just to pass my drug test to get out of rehab.
I got a job at Home Depot making $10 an hour. Did I mention that I had a wife and two little girls at home? I had ruined us financially. My parents had to make our house payment for years! Finally, one night around 8 o’clock, we were sitting at our kitchen table when I put my hands on my head and squeezed my hair and told Jennifer I felt like I was going crazy and that I couldn’t get the thoughts of getting high out of my head. She said we should pray, so we did. She left to go to the grocery store later that evening, leaving me with my 3 year old daughter, Ashton.
I told myself I couldn’t do it anymore and decided to get high. I went to the hallway bathroom, closed the door and got all my dope out. I heard a knock on the door and I look down to the bottom of the door and see Ashton’s little fat fingers stuck under the door, wiggling. She had her head at the bottom of the door doorjamb too and I heard her say, “Daddy, how long are you going to be in there?” At that moment I looked in the mirror at myself and asked, “What are you doing??” I didn’t get high that night.
The next night we went to Tabernacle Church in Cartersville, Georgia, where Dr. Harold Hunter was preaching a revival. We sat in the balcony as he preached about them unpardonable sin…to refuse the Holy Spirit for the last time. He held the microphone up and blew on it saying, “Do you want your candle blown out for the last time?” It was like it was just him and me in the room. I looked out the end of the row where about six or seven people sat and I whispered, “Get out of the way.” They looked at me confused, then I yelled, “Get out of the way!” I stepped out into the aisle and don’t even remember walking. God just picked me up and carried me down there.
I remember standing in front of Dr. Harold Hunter crying profusely when he looked at me and kind of smirked, asking, “ What’s wrong son?” I looked at him and said, “I don’t want to go to hell!” He said, “You get up here” and I got up there and received Jesus Christ as my Savior, and from that night on all of my temptations and cravings for the drugs were gone!
We went through a good six years of pruning, by far the hardest thing that Jennifer and I have ever gone through in our lives, but also the most rewarding. Through my addiction, both my mom and dad became Christians. They are now active members at the church where I was saved. The whole time I was in that stage of my life I was asking God “Why me? Why my family? Why me?” But God’s plan was so much larger than I could have ever thought…no just to save me, but also to bring my mom and dad to salvation!
Brandon’s story is a true picture of God’s grace. But, God wasn’t finished with Brandon. Stay tuned in a couple weeks, as Brandon shares how God got his attention again recently, and how it has changed him and his relationships with others!