Hi, my name is Brandon Robinson. I’m 33 years old. I’m a new creation in Christ and I want to share why I love Jesus.
I started off going to church at a young age. My parents dragged us all there. I have two brothers and two sisters, and I just really hated going to church when I was younger. I would try to act sick or fight back and forth, especially in high school. The church that we went to was very judgmental. I felt like everybody acted like they were better than other people. I had a bad taste about Christians growing up, and when I went to college, I wanted nothing to do with it.
I played football my whole life and in college I ended up getting hurt. I felt like my only worth in life was on the football field. I didn’t think I was really good at anything else. My whole goal since I was in kindergarten was to play in the National Football League.
I got hurt and I got six pins in my left wrist for six months and was prescribed Percocet or oxycodone. At that point, I was smoking weed every day and drinking and going to parties.
But once I started doing the pills, and football was taken away, I didn’t feel like I had any purpose in life. So I started partying a lot. I did every drug under the sun, but the opiates were really what got hold of me.
I actually got kicked out of college. It was two months before graduation, and I was doing my student teaching. I was going to be a Phys Ed teacher and I woke up two hours late on the day I was supposed to teach. I got kicked out of the program.
I never ended up getting my degree. I moved home and had all these student loans built up. I started working in construction with my cousin. Around this time I started doing heroin, and I got really bad on that. It just took everything from me.
My family relationships were horrible. A lot of my friends that really meant something to me were dead. The majority of them were either dead or didn’t want to talk to me anymore because of the lying and the stealing.
It got so bad at one point that I was homeless in Kensington (notorious drug area), Philadelphia, living out of my truck. I overdosed six times in a matter of three months. The first time I got kicked out of rehab and went right back to drugs and overdosed at a gas pump. I died for 24 minutes, and they had to bring me back with the defibrillator.
I woke up coughing up blood and the first thing that I was worried about was if I still had my (heroin) bags in my pocket. I continued to use and continued to do what I wanted to do.
I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t stop hurting myself, why I wanted to keep going back to what was destroying my life.
The worst point was when I was homeless in Kensington. I was living out of my truck. Then I totaled my truck in Kensington. I hid all my belongings behind a fence and went to get drugs. When I came back everything was gone. I slept on a sidewalk that night. I just wanted to die because there was no way I’m going to come back from this. There’s no way that my family is going to take me back and let me stay with them. I’ve already done too much damage with them.
I just remember my dad coming to pick me up and taking me to detox. He basically said either you go to Adult & Teen Challenge long term rehab or don’t bother calling us anymore. My parents had been trying to get me to go there for about two years. I just kept telling them, “Absolutely not. There’s no way I’m going away for that long. I have work to do. I have this to do. I have that to do.” But you know, none of that was ever going to get done because I couldn’t stay away from the drugs.
I finally decided to go to Adult & Teen Challenge. What else did I have to lose? It was a faith-based discipleship long term program. It was the last thing that I wanted to do, but it was the only thing that really changed my life. I had three court cases pending in three states. My DUI was still pending. I had a theft charge in PA and an organized retail theft in Jersey. They told me the program would help take care of my court stuff, and I’d much rather have gone there than to jail.
I gave it a try and remember our campus pastor who was the pastor of a local church where we would go every Sunday. Pastor Steve, and we would ride with him and just talk about life. I remember seeing something different in him that I’d never seen in a pastor before. He was a most kind, loving person. His goal in life was to love others and to try to be like Jesus as much as possible. I remember having conversations with him and feeling the love of Christ through him.
I remember being in church and going up to the altar and crying. I was so tired of the life I was living. I needed help. I felt a sense of peace at that time and knew that if this Jesus thing can work for some of these other guys, then it can definitely work for me. It took a little while for me to really buy into the whole thing, but I felt that God was pulling at me.
Adult & Teen Challenge was supposed to be a 12 to 15 month program but from acting out I got kicked out of the New Jersey program after six months and sent to Connecticut. I was there for four months and got kicked out for writing a letter to my uncle saying I couldn’t take being there anymore.
I had to call my parents and get a train from Connecticut. They didn’t know what was going to happen when I came home. I just promised them that everything was going to be OK. I was determined to do the right thing. I’m a Carpenter, so I just started picking up jobs and having to get rides there. I slowly but surely just kept taking steps forward every day and going to church and getting involved in Bible study. Still do this today I wake up and first thing open up my devotion and read. I’ll just flip to something in the Bible and just try to try to take in what God wants to say to me that day.
I ended up getting a job, and the boss I work for is also in recovery. He had given me several chances before and saw that now I was doing the right thing. I still work for him today. I’m grateful for everything he’s done for me. He had somebody pick me up every morning until I was finished my DUI classes. I got my license. I bought a truck, and then he allowed me to have a work van.
I just keep trying to do everything I possibly can to glorify God and to thank him for what I have today. When I wasn’t even looking, I met a girl at church. She’s now my fiancé and we’re getting ready to have a daughter next month. We just bought a house. I’m a homeowner. It’s crazy. It’s crazy.
I’m very blessed to be where I am today. I never thought I’d be able to get it together. I never thought that I could live life without depending on drugs every single day. I truly believe that God took my desire and obsession to want to use drugs completely away from me. I’ve only been home for a year and a month or two. All the blessings that I have today are because of God, because I gave my life to him and trust in him for everything.
One Bible verse that really speaks to me is 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” I’m a new creation. I’m no longer the person that I was before, and that person never has to come back.
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