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Sexual Abuse and Addiction: I Lost My Life and Found It

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Editor’s Note: After I had the privilege of sharing my story last week, I received many emails of support and understanding. Jarid sent me his life story and wanted to share it in the hope it will inspire others as well.

Growing up I learned that a good boy gets rewarded, while a bad boy gets disciplined and still gets some sort of attention. My parents always thought there was something special about me. At age 4, I would pull chairs out in restaurant waiting areas and stand on it and sing and encourage people to give their hearts to Jesus. I had no idea what this meant, but at church everyone seemed to love it. All in all, I looked like a normal healthy boy who loved life.

This was a mask I would wear till I was 34 years old. From what I can remember, age 7 is when I was sexually molested and then throughout my younger years and teens. I was an outcast who had few friends, but I put on a smile at church like I was like everyone else. Into my teens I started to become quiet and isolated from the world. I found a love for singing and used that as a mask as well. It served its purpose and gained me friends, girlfriends, and what I thought to be love, acceptance, and approval. If I was to tell you that I was happy, that would be a lie. No matter how much I sang, or how many compliments I got, I still felt empty inside.

After high school I made some choices that would change the course of my life.

I always knew I needed love. I subscribed to the bad boy theory seeing that when I did wrong and made bad choices, I still got some attention. The next ten years I would choose to cling to addiction after addiction. I used woman after woman in relationship after relationship to fill the love hunger I had in my heart. I destroyed my life with the choices I had made and I really didn’t care if I lived or died. When I turned 32, I told God, “If you can make something of my life and fill the emptiness in me, I would stop all the fighting and running.” I had moved around to 8 states, was so co-dependent and destructive to anyone around me, and I didn’t know how to change.

The next 2 years, I would continue in and out of treatment trying to get clean from drugs and addictive living.

I would like to pause for a moment for the people reading this who are thinking to themselves, “Why didn’t you just stop sinning and repent and turn and let Jesus heal you?” To that I would say because when someone grows up with a core belief about themselves that says that no matter what they do they are unlovable, then the process isn’t an instant one. And if you try to force a wounded heart to just heal on your time, you force them to behave a certain way, and that is not authentic change. As a matter of fact, until 8 months ago, my desire to change and God’s will to empower that and heal my heart had not met yet.

Fast forward to Sept 2014. I had had enough of this life. I had spent 8 years trying to let God heal me, only to fight him and get into drugs again. I had destroyed a marriage, I was an unreliable father, and my poor parents were so tired of seeing me hurt myself.

I woke up that morning, drugged out and ready to give up on life. I was tired of seeing the pain on my wife’s face. I could barely look my son in the eye and he was approaching 2.

God had waited a long time for me, patiently allowing me to stumble over myself as I used my emotional wounds as an excuse to blame him for my wrecked life.

October 8th of 2014, I enter Miracle Center Arizona, where I finally came face to face with a loving God who not only sent his son for my screw ups and selfish living, He sent His son for those who molested me. He sent His son for all the lies that all men choose to believe.

As the weeks rolled by, and I was willing to work the program through AA, counseling, I started to come alive. I don’t just mean the come alive in the sense of getting physically healthier, I mean the kind of miracle that only God can pull off in a man who has never ever known peace in his life. As I made the choice to allow God to work in my life and heart, I began to heal, forgive, and let go of those that had wronged me. Best of all, I learned to forgive myself. I learned that I have influence in every single person’s life that I come in contact with. I either inspire the uninspired or I shrink back and then it has a negative effect on not only my life but theirs. I learned most of all that His love was the one I needed and nothing would ever take its place. I had to lose my life to find it.

I now have the honor of serving people, of being in healthy relationships, and best of all, the glory of God is me fully alive. When I let Him and others in, the healing began. This is my story and my hope is that all of you men out there will share yours with the world. Men come alive when another man dares to overcome great pain to see peace.

The Glory Of God Is Man Fully Alive.

St. Irenaeus

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8 Responses to Sexual Abuse and Addiction: I Lost My Life and Found It

  1. Andrew Dillon Ballard May 19, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    It only takes a quick glance at the Bible to see that God loves using our weaknesses as tools to build his kingdom. Paul was the greatest missionary to ever live, and yet he had the most shameful beginning- and he continued to struggle with sin even after conversion and throughout sanctification. But God used his story and ongoing struggle to strengthen him, humble him, and help him to relate to others in ways that some of the other apostles couldn’t. Like Paul, God has great plans in store for you sir. Thank you for having the courage and humility to share your story. God bless you and keep you.

    • jarid tolson May 19, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

      Andrew, I appreciate the kind words, it seems to ring true that our greatest testimony is our lives and how God moves in them, not what we say…

  2. Lance May 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Jarid, I was impressed with you the first day I met you at the Miracle Center, and this article furthers that respect. Thanks for sharing your story – I know God will use it to impact other men. It’s not an easy story to share, but being obedient to God sometimes (often) isn’t easy. God bless you brother, and I’ll see you Wednesday morning.

    • jarid tolson May 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Lance,
      Thank you sir, its an honor to have you as a mentor.

  3. Tony Redick May 19, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    I have had the privilege of living with Jarid at the Miracle Center in Tucson Arizona now for over 5 months. Everyday I see a change in him as God continues to work in his life. True change comes from the inside out as we allow Jesus to be the LORD of our lives. The enemy comes to Steal, Kill and Destroy but Jesus has come to give us Life and that more abundantly. (John 10:10) Jarid, you have such a strong anointing for leading others into the Throne Room of God and that is why I believe the enemy has attacked you the way he has. Your Measure of Authority in the Kingdom of God will touch thousands as you stand up and Worship. Get ready for the ride of your life as God continues to use you for His Glory. Haggai 2:9 says “Your Latter days will be greater then your Former days.” Love you bro

    • jarid tolson May 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Tony,
      You are an incredible friend, I am so glad to walk through the valley with you by my side!

  4. Anonymous September 20, 2016 at 8:36 pm #

    Having been molested myself at the same age, I was very touched and inspired by your story. Hopefully I too can find strength in unloading this stone on my back for the past 29 years.

  5. Jarid October 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm #

    Man, i just saw this ! I am so sorry for not replying. If by chance you need resources or just someone to talk to my email is [email protected]. I am here for you brother. Even though it’s 2019 I’m still here to let you share your pain.

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