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When Addiction Meets the Presence of God

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Brett Porter seemed to have the world by the tail. “I had a great childhood. I lived with my dad and my grandmother. My parents got divorced when I was young. My dad and I, we had a very unique, close relationship. I was very involved in sports, had a lot of friends; didn't want for anything.”

In college, Brett dedicated his life to Christ. “I was just plugged into the church, and I was going on mission trips and enjoying my new life in Christ. I was going to school full time, but I had also started a landscaping business and it was going really well.”

After he graduated, Brett decided to pursue his landscaping business full-time. “I started working more hours and I started slowly pulling away unintentionally from the church. I found myself one afternoon looking for some equipment at a family member's house and I stumbled upon some pain pills. I had been working a lot and really was just kind of aching and tired. I remember the Spirit of the Lord telling me not to do it. And I pushed through that because I thought I knew better. I thought, what could one pill do? I mean, how much harm could come from one pill? And so, I took it and then I found myself a couple of days later, back. I enjoyed that feeling. I think it provided a form of escape for me. I quit taking their pills, but I still had the craving. And so, I called an old friend of mine who wasn't living his best life. A couple of weeks after I took my first pill, I made a run at stopping and I got really sick, and I had no idea what that was. And he said, ‘Well, come see me. I can fix it.’ And so, I realized I don't wanna feel like this, then I need to take more pills. And they were expensive.”

Brett began stealing from family members and others to support his addiction.

“I was scared in some ways because I was so ashamed. God had done a major work in my life leading up to that. And so, I didn't want to ruin my testimony. I still didn't want to bring it into the light for fear of judgment. I just slowly got more and more pulled in, still believing that this isn't who I am. I know I can come out of this, but I'll do it tomorrow, you know? And tomorrow never came.”

Lauren, a childhood friend, reached out. “I recognized that he needed some people in his corner and so I just tried to step in as I could and then from that it kind of grew into, into more.”

Over the next three years, Brett was in and out of jail and rehab. Brett called his dealer for more pills and instead was offered heroin.

“I do remember believing in that moment, because I really did hate needles so much that there's no way that I would continue to do this. This will be a one-time thing and I'll get my fix for today, and then I won't do this anymore. And nothing could have been further from the truth. At that moment I really experienced a level of darkness that I did not know even existed. Really, became a full-blown junkie overnight. I mean, I was living out of my truck, my dad had kicked me out of his house. I wasn’t welcomed to family holidays, family get-togethers.”

“It's hard to see someone that you care about so much, seemingly just walking into their destruction,” Lauren recalls. “I had to kinda live in that tension of knowing that I was helpless. I couldn't really help him. God was gonna have to work a miracle.”

“I didn't wanna look at myself in the mirror,” Brett remembers. “I wanted to get back to that place where I was being used by God. I just didn't know how. My life was outta control and so I remember calling out to God that He would please help me. Basically, more or less get me out of this.”

Lauren had a different prayer: “One of my prayers for him was that God would bring things to the light that were in the dark and that He would truly strip away anything that needed to be stripped away so that this would be a lasting change.”

“I wanted to know the master plan and I remember praying one morning and the Spirit just telling me to trust Him. And it was something that I grabbed ahold of, I held on to. I didn't know what the future looked like, but I knew at that point that God loved me, that He saw me where I was, and that if I would just trust Him for the next decision, that everything was gonna be all right. Then He told me to go to another year long program and I said, ‘What?? I will do anything but that!’”

Brett went to a long-term, faith-based rehab for the next year and worked on his relationship with God. “I slowly started surrendering things to Him. Sin lost its power as I would bring it into the light. And as I would do that, I would think, oh, this isn't so bad. Why did I work this up in my head to be such a thing? I remember clinging to a verse, Psalm 32, 8. It says, ‘I will show you and teach you in the way you should go, and I will tell you what to do with my eyes upon you.’ And I just gripped to that verse. When I started to really experience His love, His forgiveness, the word, and the truth of the fact that it's Him that makes me clean and righteous before Him, that was transforming truth for me.”

Brett interned with a construction program. Afterwards, he and Lauren married. Now, they have two sons and Brett has his own business.

“Had God not intervened, Brett wouldn't be here today,” Lauren notes.

Brett is also grateful to be alive. “God’s restored so much, I mean, the relationship with my dad. Giving me a family. All the things I never thought that I’d have again, He has saw fit to bless me with those things. It doesn't discriminate. Whether we're all as vulnerable and vocal about our problems as we should be or not, everybody is experiencing something. There is real hope when you begin to bring things into the light. Community is a gift from God. Bringing things to the light, being vulnerable, is where true freedom is found.” 

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About The Author

Amy Reid

Amy Reid has been a Features Producer with the Christian Broadcasting Network since 2003 and has a Master’s in Journalism from Regent University. When she’s not working on a story she’s passionate about, she loves to cook, garden, read and travel.