The words “addiction” and “devotion” are interchangeable, one in the same. While “devotion” seems a little too endearing to describe an addiction to alcohol or drugs, the reality is that an alcoholic or drug addict has devoted his or her time and purpose to the effects of their substance abuse. This sort of devotion tends to destroy families by tearing marriages apart, taking children from parents, and creating distrust and dishonesty within the family unit.
After abusing alcohol and drugs, many people find themselves alone at rock bottom, and it seems nearly impossible to come out of the pit they are trapped in. Staying away from addictive substances, repairing a family, and rebuilding financial stability requires a miracle, and many powerful testimonies at this year’s Breaking Every Chain event explained how that miracle of change and hope is found in Jesus Christ.
On Saturday, October 22, at Lafayette Square, a large crowd gathered for a time of worship, prayer, and testimonies. 808 Ministries opened the event with praise and worship and was followed by the testimonies of law enforcement, church leaders, and those recovering from substance abuse. 2016’s Deputy of the Year, Todd Johnson, led the testimonies. He explained how our community needs a change, and even with an “army of support” from law enforcement and the public, we need Jesus more than anything to revive and transform our community.
Leci Funderburke, a high school dropout addicted to cocaine and diagnosed as bipolar, found herself in and out of prison until she found herself and her identity in Christ in December of 2012.
Micheal Moat Sr. was homeless by age 16. He sold drugs for money and eventually found himself so addicted to the substance that the GBI labeled him unfit to be a father, and he had his family taken away from him. Originally sentenced to serve 10 years in prison, Micheal gives God the glory for serving only 13 months and having his family restored and returned to him.
Britney Buchanan, a 4.0 student with a bright future, found herself in jail at a very young age when a friend asked her to hold onto a package for her, a package Britney didn’t realize contained methamphetamine. From there, her life spiraled downward. By the age of 15, Britney had already been mentally, physically, and sexually abused. Addicted to alcohol and drugs, she couldn’t see a way out until she found the One with the only way out. After Britney established a relationship with Jesus Christ, she became a counselor and leader at Reformers Unanimous and has plans to start college and become a DFACS worker.
Tarra Staten’s three daughters followed their father’s footsteps of methamphetamine addiction, and she quickly found herself alone and facing a torn family and abusive relationship. Feeling hopeless, she swallowed prescription pills to end her misery, but she survived after spending several days in a coma. This made Tarra quickly realize her purpose through Jesus Christ, and she made great community connections through Reformers Unanimous and Circles of Troup County.
Sharita Locklear had been shot, overdosed twice, and watched friend after friend pass away due to substance abuse, and she finally decided that it was time for her life to mean something. Now, living for Jesus Christ, Sharita knows that each day she says no to alcohol and drugs, her friends’ deaths are not in vain.
Carrie Bush, of 808 Ministries, finished the testimonies with a twist. Most of the stories shared surrounded an addiction to alcohol or drugs, but Carrie’s testimony centers on her addiction to being good, to being enough on her own.
As an atheist, Carrie saw no need for religion, for God, for anything other than her own achievements. She never had a substance abuse problem, always had great relationships with people, and always made moral choices, so she never understood why she would need redemption. Unlike a “rock bottom experience”, Carrie found Jesus after writing a college research paper arguing against His existence. She continued denying His validity until her research continued to point her to His existence. Coming to Christ was a long process for Carrie. Intellect battled blind faith until Carrie finally let go and found freedom from her addiction to being good enough and accepting truth without all of the answers.
Pastor Lincoln Anderson found his addiction in being “devoted to serving the saints.” Seth Harden, youth pastor and entertainer, found that fulfillment comes when “All Lives Matter”. Jimmy Pruitt, leader of Reformers Unanimous, knows that “as long as there’s breath there is hope.” Barry Davis, serving as a parole officer for decades, says “there’s no life” outside of Christ, outside of an eternal purpose.
LPC Kim Neese said, “A life of addiction is not a life.” When people choose to let alcohol and drugs (even their own goodness and moral achievements) control their lives, they are no longer calling the shots. The fate of their own life, along with the fate of their loved ones, rests on the power of the substance they abuse or how good they think they are. The only hope for living a life free of alcohol and drugs, free of meeting so many “good enough” standards, free of anything other than selflessness and love, is found in Jesus. That is what those gathered at this year’s Breaking Every Chain discovered: they were bound, but thanks to the redeeming power and purpose of Jesus Christ, they are chained no more.
“So Jesus said … you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8: 31-32
Peyton Hanners Staff Writer