My name is Katrina and I’d like to share my testimony with you. I was raised in a good (but non-Christian) home with parents who encouraged my sister and me to be strong and successful. My parents divorced when I was 14,and that was a major turning point in my life. At 15, I started drinking and experimenting with drugs, drinking hard on weekends, and occasionally during the week. Maintaining good grades, no one caught on as I hung out with an older crowd of mostly drop-outs or ex-cons, who made me feel accepted. Adopting their lifestyle of drinking, drugs, and punk music, I wore pink and green hair, cut-up jeans, combat boots, and had multiple piercings and tattoos.
Soon, I moved to harder drugs and addiction. Graduating from high school after being voted class rebel and living a double life, I won a scholarship to a private college. There, I used speed to stay awake to study, work, and party; and my life spiraled out of control. My mind was consumed by drugs, and I hung out with drug dealers and criminals, finally dropping out of college two months before graduating.
Like many, I tried moving, thinking my problem was the drugs and the city in which I resided. Over the next 10 years, I moved often, not understanding the root of my problem. I lived in several states and even Zimbabwe, Africa. I finally moved to Cleveland Ohio. I spent the next eleven years addicted to cocaine and heroine.
Then, the legal problems began. I was arrested seven times in six months for drug offenses, then I was given treatment and put on probation. I was court-ordered to AA, NA, and CA meetings, but I still ran with a bad crowd and was soon using again. Justifying my choices, I blamed society, my parents, and God. I soon violated my probation and ended up jobless, homeless, and pregnant. I wanted to get out of that life, but couldn’t break the chains. Though I didn’t know God, I prayed that He would make it all end. My drug friends were all dying or going to prison. I went to jail two days after giving birth to my son, Gabriel. Somehow, I knew God had saved my life. Two weeks later, my son’s father, Wayne, also went to jail, where we each spent the next six months.
At the age of 10, Wayne had been saved through the bus ministry of Cleveland Baptist Church. I didn’t understand what being saved meant. Just prior to going to jail, we were standing on a street corner when a man stopped his car and handed us a tract from Cleveland Baptist. We knew we had to get to church and talked about going to Cleveland Baptist. Once we were in jail, we wrote each other, I realized my need, and I was saved there in January 2001. We promised each other that we’d go to church as soon as we got out.
I kept that promise and was in church the Sunday following my release, where I saw a brochure for Reformers Unanimous and I knew that God wanted me there. Everything that the secular programs couldn’t do, RU and the Lord could. Wayne and I attended RU on the day after he was released. We started to rebuild our lives and got married on August 17, 2001, and stayed faithful to church and RU… but Wayne made some decisions; that took our lives in a different direction. He owned his own business and decided to open another store renting in his old stomping grounds, a drug area. I disagreed with his decision, but he assured me that he could withstand the temptation. Soon, he was getting high again and was back in Satan’s snare.
On the morning of October 27, 2001, I woke up and didn’t see or hear Wayne, and I knew that something was wrong. I found him on the floor of the bathroom, cold and lifeless, where he had died 2-3 hours earlier. My world was shattering around me, but even during those dark days, the Lord was with me. Gene and Dian Piazza, our RU Director and his wife, took me into their home, and the Lord gave me the strength to continue on. I believe now that God took Wayne home because of his disobedience; and that if he had continued on that path, it would have destroyed Gabriel and me, as well.
It is now five years later, and the Lord has blessed me in countless ways. I now have full custody of my son, and he attends our church’s Christian school. The Lord has given me an excellent job with a top national accounting firm another miracle, since they know of my criminal history. I have a nice home and our basic needs are always met, though I still remember the desperation of being hungry, cold, tired, confused, and addicted. God has brought a special man into my life who is now my husband and a father to my son. Dennis and I were married in 2002 during an RU Conference at our church. We have recently won custody of my husband’s13-year-old son, and we look forward to seeing God bless his life.
The Lord has allowed me to serve in our RU, and I know that my calling is to share my story with the addicted, to help them to avoid the pain and hard lessons. I’ve had to endure and to help them realize that our Savior is the only Way to true peace and freedom.
My name is Crystal and I would like to share with you my testimony. As far back as I can remember, my life was always in turmoil. I grew up in a very abusive and alcoholic household. It seemed every night there were people getting drunk and then the fighting would start. My siblings and I knew that it wouldn’t be long until we would all be standing outside in the cold again, because mom was leaving dad – for good this time. We were tortured by this night after night, never knowing what was going to happen. I felt completely helpless. I simply wanted to run away as fast as I could. As I grew older, I buried those memories and did what I thought I needed to do in order to get through life.
While still a young teenager, I went to a close family member’s house and was introduced to something that has forever changed my life. I was introduced to marijuana and allowed to drink. Oh, this was the life! I had finally found a cure to all my problems. I was definitely feeling no pain. Over the next several years, the drinking got heavier and the drugs got harder. I continuously needed more to get the same feeling, and I was always searching for the next level.
When I was seventeen, I met my husband, Bill. We were so much alike. He, too, had many bad memories that he was burying under a mountain of drugs and alcohol, and that was fin with me. I mean, we weren’t hurting anybody else. It was our life, and we wanted to live it our way.
Withing three years, I had two beautiful children, Meagan and Savannah. We tried to slow down a little when the kids were born, but we needed to have some kind of fun, right? Besides, we enjoyed it…until one night in May of 2001. Bill and I sat down to get high and drink for a while, and he told me that he wasn’t feeling very well. Then it happened. I watched my husband nearly die of a heart attack. He spend about a week in intensive care in a hospital in Pittsburg. While he was there, I made up my mind that we were going to change out lives. For about a year we did; but as he got healthier, the “call of the wild” grew stronger and we gave in.
For some reason, this time was different. My addiction absolutely took control of me. I didn’t (couldn’t) seem to think about anything except drugs. I stopped paying the bills. I started selling off personal items and furniture to make money. I stopped cooking, cleaning and being a wife to my husband. Even worse, I stopped being a mother for my two daughters. This went on for about a year and a half, and then it seemed like I woke up. Only I woke up into a nightmare. My children were freezing cold and literally starving. We had been spending hundreds of dollars a day on drugs, yet we didn’t have electricity. We had no water. We had no heat. We didn’t even have food to feed our children. Where did everything go? Where is the car? What happened to my house? What have I done? I looked like a skeleton. My teeth were decaying and falling out. I looked like I had some kind of disease. My heart cried out, somebody help me!!! PLEASE!!!
All I could think of doing was going to the church where I went as a kid. I could remember my Sunday School teacher leading me to the Lord there when I was 8 years old. Many years had passed, but I knew that they would help. I began going to church on Sundays and to my surprise, so did my husband. Three weeks later, he got saved! I thought that things were finally going to get better. Unfortunately, they just got worse. I tried so hard to do right, but I kept falling flat on my face. This happened again and again, no matter what. I had enough. I just wanted to die. I had failed as a mom and was left with no other choice. I called the pastor of that church and did the hardest thing I have ever done. I gave up my children because I could no longer take care of them. That’s when I learned about Reformers Unanimous.
Since attending RU, my life has turned around full circle. RU showed me that I was trying to change my life in my own power and has taught me how to rely on Jesus Christ for strength. The Strongholds Discipleship Course has given me exactly what I needed from the Word of God for the things that I was about to face in my life.
However, the most effective tool that RU had to offer me was the “It’s Personal” Daily Journal. It has helped me to get right using the Bible in a way that has caused me to grow. It has also given me the accountability to my leaders that I needed. Through this program, I have become involved in my church and I have absolutely fallen in love with the Lord.
In addition to restoring my marriage, the Lord has give me the greatest gift. He gave me back my children, who by the way are both SAVED and serving the Lord. I am so thankful that the Lord has used Reformers Unanimous to be that special something that God used to change my life.
(A note from Crystal’s husband): For years I was addicted to drugs right along with my wife. I stood by and watched helplessly as the devil used our sin to tear apart our lives. He stole everything from our home to my wife’s beauty. It if was not for God using RU in her life, I wouldl not have watched God restore life back into my wife. God not only gave her back her health, but He gave her back her beauty. You can see it every time you look into her eyes; and especially, every time you see her smile.