I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT SOBER WAS...
(The Dean Bales Story)

By: Dean Bales

Hello, my name is Dean Bales and Iím a born again Christian. This is a testimony of my life with drugs and how I came to know Jesus Christ. I am the youngest of three boys. My oldest brother was hooked on heroin and he died when I was seventeen in an automobile accident. My other brother smoked a lot of hash oil and pot. I started using drugs when I was fourteen. I started smoking pot at first. I then took Whites, Reds, Mescaline, LSD, PCP, Hash, and smoked every kind of pot there was. I took any drug that made me feel anything but normal. At that time I hated feeling normal, I thought it was boring. There was a time when there werenít any drugs so we inhaled Pam, glue, paint, and even gasoline...whatever made us feel a rush. 

We smoked a lot of pot that was grown all over the world. Sometimes we smoked as much as an ounce a day. We would smoke pot, take Whites, and go to school. It wasnít long before we didnít want to go to school anymore. We just wanted to ditch school and hang out and do drugs.  Nothing seemed more important than drugs.

I played the middleman for a long time. That means I would get drugs for somebody else and in return they would give me some. To do this I would have to know all the dealers and have all the connections. It was the easiest way to get drugs without having money. I could also charge extra for them and make a few bucks to buy even more.

One night my friend was stealing a stereo out of a car so we could sell it and buy some more pot. The owner came out and my friend jumped into my car. The owner jumped on the side of my car as I sped off down the street. We were reaching speeds of 40. His legs were dragging and he was pleading for me to stop. I slowed down and he let go. Iíd often thought about this innocent man trying to protect his property. He had done the same thing that I would have done to keep my stereo.

Drugs had become a major part of my life and they also had become my hobby. There were times when I needed money for drugs. I got a job working for Rickinbaucker sanding guitars. I met a couple of guys at work that I got high with at lunch and break times.

There was also this guy there that read the Bible at every break and at lunchtime. He had long hair, a beard, and he wore sandals. He looked like all the pictures of Jesus Christ that I had ever seen. One day he started working at the table next to me. I didnít believe in God and I didnít care too much for people who did. It seemed like they were always pushing God onto me and that always made me feel uneasy. It made me feel like I was against them. But this guy was different. He had never said anything to me, just smiled.

I asked him,  "Why do you read the Bible? And, Donít you have anything better to do with your time? Havenít you read it all yet?" He replied, "Yes, several times." I was being a smart-ass and I asked him if he really believed that it rained for forty days and forty nights. He told me the story of Noah and the way he told it was short, sweet, and to the point. I understood it and it made sense. I tried to think of all the miracles I could. I wanted to ask him how all these miracles could have happened? I asked him how Jesus could have walked on water? He told me a story and the gentle way he told it, it made sense. I was trying to prove that there wasnít a God but I was losing. I wanted him to be right, but I was trying to prove him wrong. Everyday I thought up a new reason why I thought God didnít exist. Everyday he told me a story and it made sense.

I still didnít want to believe in God. I guess I was afraid of what I would not be able to do anymore. I was afraid I wouldnít be able to party anymore. I asked him what he thought God thought about alcohol. He said it was OK to drink it once and awhile, but donít abuse it. Donít drink it every day till you get drunk. Just drink it on special occasions. That way you might enjoy it, and you will not become addicted to it, and need more and more and more until you are sick and unable to stop.

I asked him about other drugs. I think what he was trying to tell me was that every kind of drug you do repetitively, you will crave and become addicted to it. I guess this answered why I wanted to smoke pot all the time. Everyday I came up with questions for this man. I couldnít wait to talk to him each day and try to disprove the Bible. It wasnít that I really wanted to prove him wrong. I just wanted to know more about the Bible and God. I had always thought that believing in God is too easy. God must be for people without a mind of their own! I always said that if I had a doubt about God's existence, Godís the one that put it there. I guess I was just trying to cover my own ass in case there was a God. 

This way I could blame it on God for my not believing in him one way or the other. I had asked this man so many things about God and drugs that he offered me this information. He said that in the late 1980's there will be a drug introduced into the United States that will be cheap to buy...it can be made out of household items. It will be easy to make, easy to consume, can be eaten, smoked, you can shoot it, snort it and drink it. It is totally addicting and it will play a huge part of the undoing of the United States. He said It was designed by Hitler and Castro in the 50's to be used against the U.S.  I asked him how it was going to kill people. He said it was going to do so by way of mistrust. I asked him how he knew this. He said it is in the Bible, in the New Testament.

This whole question and answer time lasted about three or four days. We were not allowed to talk very much at work. The next day I had more questions for him and I couldnít wait to get to work to talk to him. I got there at 8:00 and he wasnít there. At 9:00 he still wasnít there. At about 10:00 I asked the lead man if he was coming in today.  He said,  "Is who coming in today?"

I said, "The guy that works next to me." 

He replied, "What guy?"

I answered, "The long-haired guy with the beard and sandals."

He replied back, "I donít know who you are talking about."

I replied back to him, "The guy that reads the Bible at break and lunchtime." 

To that statement he said, "I donít know -- maybe you are talking about somebody that works graveyard. Ask the foreman."

"No! I said, "He works the same hours as me."

His final reply was, "I donít know; ask the foreman."

A little while later the foreman came up to me and asked if I had a question for him. I said I just wanted to know if the guy that worked next to me was coming in today. I asked him if he was sick or something. He said, "Which guy are you talking about?

I said,  "The longhaired guy with the Bible and sandals. He works right here next to me. You told us to stop talking yesterday and the day before."

He replied,  "I donít know who you're talking about. I donít remember telling you to stop talking."

By this time I was thinking to myself ... just forget it, Dean! He said he would get the attendance sheet.

After lunch I was called into the office of the president, Mr. Rickinbaucker. I was asked and grilled all about this mystery person. The three lead-men came in; the foreman came in; the secretaries were there; payroll was called up and brought in -- the other guys that I work with were brought in one by one. Everyone was questioned and nobody admitting knowing who this man was. They were all looking at me in disgust. They wanted me to just shut up and mind my own business. By this time I wished I had never said anything! I was finally told to go back to work. The next day, I came to work hoping to see this guy. Instead they gave me a pink slip. They told me I was fired. That was in 1972. Twenty-five years later I realized the drug he had been talking about was crystal meth. I never saw him again.


Chapter 2

When I was 17 years old, I was over at a friendís house getting high and his probation officer popped up. He smelled pot and he burst into the house with his police escort. I got busted with ten ounces of homegrown pot that I was selling. I spent Christmas and New Years in juvenile hall. After that I was given an out of state release and had to stay out of California till I was 18. I stayed at my stepsisterís house in New York and then my Dadís cabin on a lake in Rhode Island. I brought enough pot with me to last the four months I was to be gone. My Dadís wifeís family owned a bar and nightclub on the lake. I got all the drinks I wanted for free. When my Dad and I werenít drinking at the nightclub we were bar hopping the VFW & American Legion halls. We drank all night and slept all day. I drank with the governor, the mayor and chief of police of Coventry R. I.  The night I left, Engelbert Humperdink sang happy birthday to me.

When I returned from Rhode Island, I got a job at a leather factory making $1.65 an hour. Two of my friends worked there too. We went to the bar every day at lunch. We drank beer, played pool, and smoked tie sticks all in the 45 minutes of lunch that we had. We were too messed up to talk when we came back to work. I worked my way up to manager taking charge of the whole factory.

My friend and I cut work one day and we rode our motorcycles to Saddleback Mountains. We drank beer and smoked pot when we got there. On the way home my buddy got a flat on his motorcycle. I rode him back showing him how fast I could take corners. I went around the back curve at L.T.A. base and crossed over the center lane and hit a Toyota head on. My buddy flew over the car and into the dirt on the side of the road.  I went down right there in the middle of the street.

I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. When I got out of the hospital a couple of days later, I was unable to walk for weeks. I could have killed us both that day by drinking and driving and showing off.

I got married when I was twenty to the sister of the owner of the leather factory that I worked at. We were two different people. She was Catholic and I was a hippie. I got high smoking pot and drinking beer and she was basically high on life, going out to dinner, and shopping. There were times when we didnít get along. But I loved her more than anything and still do.

I got into an argument with my brother in law one morning and I quit. I heard that McDonnell Douglas was hiring so I drove to Long Beach. I went into the employment dept. and there were about two hundred people there. They said that they were only hiring experienced aircraft workers at that time. They said to leave our applications and they would call us if they needed inexperienced people. All the people left except me. The employer asked me if I had aircraft experience I said no but I can do any job in this company if you just show me how. He said youíre just the kind of people weíre looking for, youíre hired. When my wife came home that day she had heard that I quit working for her brother. She asked me what had happened and what was I going to do now. I told her not to worry because I work for McDonnell Douglas now. My first year at Douglas I worked 12 hours a day 7 days a week. By the time I got home from work I was too tired to spend enough time with my wife. I drank, ate, and went to bed. We separated after two years of marriage. 

The month after my wife left I started going to bars to try to get over the hurt. I started drinking more and more and I lost all my self-confidence and control. I got two drunk driving arrests in the month after she left. On one of the arrests I was on my way home from bar hopping with my brother. As I pulled into my driveway my brother was hanging out of the window. The police started beating on him. I told them to stop hitting him and they came over to me and started beating on me. They beat me up real bad. I had black and blue bruises from head to toe. They had to back themselves up so they charged me with assault with a deadly weapon. The deadly weapon was my dog that was in the front yard.  I sued them and five years later I received $10,000 out of court. But in the meantime they got even with me for suing them by pulling me over and giving me a ticket every time I left the driveway, for driving on a suspended license, violation of probation, driving with no license in possession, and anything else they could think of. I got five of these tickets and did forty-five days in jail for the last one. After that I got a restraining order against the police officers for harassment and they were transferred out of the Buena Park police dept.

One night I was playing pool in a tournament in a strange bar and a fight started. I helped the waitress throw this guy out. He was jealous because she had been going out with me. I left the bar a short time later and I was jumped outside by two or three guys. I was pistol whipped from behind and they broke my jaw. I went back into the bar and put ice on my jaw. When I left I was jumped again. I was fighting with the guy that broke my jaw and he bit me a dozen times on the back and side. They finally left because someone said the cops were coming. I left too because I was still on probation for drinking and driving. There were chunks of skin missing and I was bleeding from all the bites. The next day my jaw was wired shut for ten weeks. 

During the time my jaw was wired I drank a lot of beer and soup. I was mixing every kind of soup together in a blender because I was tired of the same kinds. One day I mixed some cream of chicken with cream of cheddar cheese soup together. I drank it and it hardened into a glue like substance and it sealed the cracks in between my teeth. My nose was plugged as usual from all the coke that I had been snorting. I started suffocating. I ran into the bathroom and I started using my water pick to clear a passage. I looked at my face in horror as it turned a dark blue. My legs were weak. I slowly began to clear a passage and I started to breathe little by little. Finally the color started returning to my face. It had been another close call with death.

I left for work on my motorcycle one morning, running late as usual. I was going down the 605 freeway about 75 mph and a piece of muffler came out from under the truck in front of me. I hit the muffler and flipped over the handlebars and onto the freeway. I tumbled, flipped, and skidded down the freeway. When I came to a stop, I looked up and saw cars and a 18-wheeler skidding right towards me. Smoke from the tires filled the freeway. I jumped up, ran off the freeway and jumped into the bushes on the shoulder of the freeway, narrowly missing being run over by the truck.

I stayed in the bushes until a police officer knocked on my helmet. I started to get up and when I lifted my leg up my foot stayed down. I realized that my ankle was shattered in two. It was another close call with death.                                                       

I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. They put my leg in a temporary cast, gave me two pain pills, and took x-rays. They released me to my friend to go to a foot specialist. They gave me a prescription for pain pills. I had it filled before I left the hospital. I was in a lot of pain and I took three or four more pills. Fifteen or twenty minutes later I was still in shock and in serious pain. Without even thinking about it I took two more pills. When I got home I called a specialist and then took 2 more pills. Right before my appointment with the specialist I was still in unbearable pain so I took two more pills. After my friend let me out of the car on my crutches, I passed out in front of the surgeonís office on the sidewalk. 

I was dreaming of speeding in a car going 100 miles an hour with the throttle stuck heading towards an intersection with cars stopped in front of me and the brakes would not work. I was yelling stop, stop, stop, stop. I finally came to and looked up and saw ten to fifteen people looking down at me. There were emergency room doctors and nurses from the hospital next door standing all around me. I was still yelling stop, stop, stop, stop, as I looked up at them. They put an oxygen mask on me and put an I.V. tube in me. I had overdosed from the pain medication. These were two close calls with death in the same day. After that day I had a full cast on my leg for four months.


Chapter 3

I had been renting a house from my grandmother very cheap. That left me more money to spend on drugs, which made my habit that much worse. Because the more drugs I did, the more drugs I needed. I then became immune to them and I needed even more. I broke up with my girlfriend one evening and I was upset. I was at this house where everybody was shooting coke. I hated needles but I just stuck out my arm and closed my eyes and they hit me. The feeling was so great that I was addicted from that minute on. But from that day on it never felt that same way again. I kept on trying to get that same rush but I never could. In no time at all they were calling me Doctor Dean and I was hitting everybody else.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I I started shooting coke at work in the bathrooms. We smoked crack inside the cargo hold of the airplanes. I would drink beer and smoke skunk at lunch. I remember one morning going to work at 4:00 am. While I was sitting in the parking lot I scraped dew off the window so that I would have water to put into the spoon of coke. I then shot it into my arm. This was a normal thing for a drug addict to do. Drug addicts can be very resourceful when they want to get high. They can figure out a million ways to get money too. Unfortunately for them almost all of them are illegal.

There were days when I was too hung over to get high, but after a couple of beers at lunch, I would then feel like getting high again. I didnít know what sober was. I drank so often, that if I stopped drinking I got a hangover so I drank beer around the clock. There was a twelve-pack on ice in my truck twenty-four-seven. If and when I stopped taking drugs I would start craving them so I didnít look forward to being clean and sober. This was my way of life and I didnít really know any different. I didnít necessarily like it but I just couldnít quit on my own.

I started playing a game of chess against my drug dealer one night. The game went on for ten days and ten nights. We were tweaking and getting high every 20 minutes for the whole two weeks. My boss from work came to my house, knocked on the door, and he asked me where have I been. He thought something bad had happened to me. I told him I screwed up and missed a couple of days. I then figured I was fired so I just didnít go back to work. My boss told me that when I didnít show up after a couple of days he put me on two weeks vacation. He told me to have my butt back to work tomorrow. 

I finished the game and got a good nights sleep. I was back to work the next day just like nothing had happened. I was thankful to my boss for caring enough to help me out. Thank God that my boss was a Christian. Oh, by the way, the chess game was a draw. Late one night, I sent some guy that I had just met out to get some coke. He came back telling me he could not find any. He said all he could find was heroin. I had never done heroin before, but I was craving drugs so bad, I agreed to do some. After I did it, the craving for speed went right away and from that day on I started using heroin to come down from the cocaine and free-base.

One day I had a bad stomachache and cramps at work. I was in terrible pain so I went home early. It hurt so bad that I had tears in my eyes. My drug friends stopped by when they saw my car home early. I told them I was sick, and they asked if I wanted to do a balloon of heroin? I said no! Iím too sick. They went ahead and got high in front of me. They kept asking me if I wanted to do any and I finally said OK, it couldnít make me feel any worse than I felt already. I shot some and began too feel better real fast. In three minutes I felt like a million dollars. I realized right then I was addicted to heroin. From that day on it took me twenty dollars a day, just to keep from getting sick and try to feel normal. I started missing work and to protect my job I went into a rehab.  

At the rehab they taught out of the book of AA, as Bill Sees It, and One Day at a Time. Doing drugs makes you lose your pride, morals, respect, and self-confidence. I told the counselors that I donít have an alcohol problem, just a drug problem, so they said just replace AA with NA, I said fine. Then they told me to admit to God and myself the nature of my illness. I told them that I didnít believe in God and they told me to replace God with a higher power. But I left anyway after three days because they made me go to an AA meeting in my hospital gown. I had been looking for any excuse I could find to leave there.                                                                                           
I left there and went to my bar and had a few drinks just to show myself that I didnít need a drug rehab. On the way home from the bar I stopped and got a 12 pack of beer. I got drunk at home and put some 151 Bacardi into a needle and tried to shoot it. I screamed, ripped it out of my arm fast, and threw it across the room. My whole arm was in pain and I held onto it until I passed out. The next morning, I awoke on the floor and I realized that whenever I got drunk, I always wanted speed to sober up with, that way I could keep on drinking and partying without passing out. I also realized I had become a Hype. I wanted to shoot something for the rush. I finally realized that I really did have a problem and a big one at that. I went back to the rehab and spent the next 30 days there.

It wasnít long after I got out of the rehab that I was back to my old ways. In fact, it was just like they said, I was only one hit away from a total relapse. I met a new girl and she kept wondering what we were doing behind closed doors. When she found out she wanted to try using a needle too and she did. A few months later she got pregnant. We were still going to the bar every night. We would close the beer bar at 11:00 then go to the mixed drink bar and leave in time to stop at the Seven Eleven before 2:00 A.M. We would bring the whole bar home with us to party.

One night we were getting high speedballing mixing heroin and cocaine together and my girlfriend went into labor. I rushed her to the hospital. The Doctors saw the tracks on her arms and they asked me what kind of drugs had she been doing. They wanted to know what to expect and so I told them. The guilt of doing drugs while she was pregnant had finally sunk in. I didnít know if I believed in God or not, but I prayed to God anyway. I prayed that our baby would have ten fingers and ten toes and two hands and two feet. This was the first time that I had ever prayed. I didnít know whether there was a God or not, but I wanted to cover all the bases. I figured it couldnít hurt. After all, with all the drugs we had been doing, this baby needed all the help he could get.

I was scared to death of what I might see when they helped him out of her. I watched as our baby was born and God blessed us with a beautiful baby boy. This was a miracle. This was the greatest gift God could ever give us. He was born with heroin and cocaine in his system. They took him away from us and we were charged with child abuse. We left the hospital the next day without our baby boy. What do you say when everybody asks where is your baby? When youíre a drug addict you donít really care what anybody else thinks. We knew we had screwed up. We just got mad at them for taking him away. Little did I know at that time, but this was the best thing that could have happened.

Our boy was put into a temporary foster home. We got married so that my insurance would pay for the baby being born and another 30-day rehab for the both of us. When we got out of the rehab, we had to test every week and go to parenting classes.

I needed a reason to quit doing drugs and you canít get a better reason to quit than having your baby boy taken away at birth. We were told that we were not going to get him back unless we tested clean for a year. I wasnít going to let anybody take my boy away. So I stayed clean of drugs. How many people have this kind of incentive to quit? I think a lot of people have this kind of incentive. But a lot of them choose to lose their kids for good. That right there tells us how powerful the addiction to drugs are.

Once again I felt the need to replace one drug for another, because I felt something was missing in my life. Alcohol once again became my higher power. I would think to myself, nothing wrong with drinking, everybody does it, its legal.

I knew they could not keep my boy from me because I drink. I drank six of my daily twelve pack of bud before going to my parenting classes. I just kept telling myself that I didnít have an alcohol problem just a drug problem, but as I remembered that when I got drunk I needed a line to sober up. One line led to another and another and then that wasnít enough either. Then I needed a rush, so Iíd smoke a rock or slam a hit. Alcohol was the beginning of it all. It numbed my brain and distorted my thinking into doing all these other drugs. I had thought that those days were over with now. My son has saved my life, just by being there or in this case by not being there by being taken away.

Thank God that I cared more about getting my baby back than I did about doing drugs. So I stayed clean and they gave us our baby back. I smoked pot and drank beer for the next two years. I was drug free by my terms. My second wife started using speed again. I tried to get her to stop. I took it away from her many times. The main reason was I didnít like crank. She left me and took our boy. She started bar hopping again and staying up all night. She realized she couldnít do what she wanted to do with a child around, so she brought our boy back and left him with me. I didnít see her again for about three years. Drugs were more important to her than her own boy.


Chapter 4

Could it be that drugs are fun? I think not! I think that a person takes for granted when they feel good and you get immune to feeling good just like you get immune to drugs. You get tired of feeling the same old way and you just want to feel different than the way you normally feel. Itís because youíre just not spiritually happy. Drugs make you think that youíre feeling good when your not just because they make you feel different and it is a new feeling for you. Drugs will distort your thinking to the point that you think youíre having fun at first. Any new drug you try might seem better at first, but wait till you do it awhile. Any feeling from a new drug might seem better at first because you haven't gotten used to that drug yet. But if you keep doing the same drugs you will get immune to them. Then what?! You start taking different kinds of drugs and more of them, your tolerance gets higher and the effects get less and the fun starts to fade. Then the need sets in and the cravings start. But I was different, I could handle them. Iím bigger than everybody else is. My mind is stronger. My tolerance is greater. Itís my dope! These were all the reasons that I had used why I should get more than anybody else should.  

I took a hit off a joint that had some crack in it and my so-called drug free days were over with. I was taken right back to where I was the day my son was born. I had been just one hit away from going back to being a total addict. I was just one hit away from a total relapse and I took that hit without even knowing that the rock cocaine was in the joint that I had smoked. Just like that I once again started free-basing all night long and then Iíd go to work or maybe not go to work. I was only going to work about three days a week. I found a doctor that would give me a doctorís excuse any day I needed one. My full coverage insurance would cover the cost of him and he would even give me a prescription for a bottle of codeine elixir for the road. Iíd have a bottle of codeine to drink all day long while I was coming down from the rock cocaine or hangover that I had from the night before. What a nice guy I thought he was...    

One night I was freebasing about 3:00 in the morning. My son was about 16 months old at the time and sleeping in his bed. All of a sudden I heard a bull horn saying come out with your hands up now! This is the police come out with your hands up! I took all my drugs, about $350 dollars worth, and flushed them down the toilet. Through the bathroom shade I could see the outline of a police officer with a shotgun. I saw bright lights flash in the front window. I went into the bedroom, got my little boy out of bed, and put on his jacket. 

I went to the front door and I heard the loud speaker again saying we know youíre in there, come out with your hands up. I said OK Iím coming out, donít shoot. I opened the door and stepped out holding my baby boy in my arms.  And to my surprise there was nobody outside. I went back in and went to the bathroom. I could still see the shadow of the cop with the shotgun still in the backyard. I went to the back door and yelled I coming out. I opened the back door and all I could see was my motorcycle handle bars and the round mirror sticking up. It was casting a shadow that looked like a man with a helmet on and a rifle, on the bathroom window. There was nobody anywhere - it was all my imagination. I then realized that the light that came through the front window was just a car turning the corner. I was glad that I flushed the dope down the toilet.                         

How could this kind of tweaking be fun? Well it wasnít! It has been an addiction. Nobody said it was fun. I never saw anybody do a hit of coke or speed and then start laughing. All I have ever seen were people start sweating, worrying, scared, angry, paranoid, and a lot of other fetishes I wonít begin to try to explain. Drugs can do some weird stuff to people; take my word for it. Iíve seen people tweak on everything you can think of and things you couldnít even imagine. 

A very good friend of mine asked me to play Santa Clause on Christmas Eve for his family. There were lots of kids there. I snorted a lot of cocaine that night. I felt really guilty about being loaded on coke around these kids on Christmas Eve. I wanted to quit after that but I just couldnít.

I didnít know why I couldnít quit. I just felt like I was out of place whenever I had tried to quit. I thought I didnít know how to act sober. There were just too many years of doing drugs to know how to act without them. I didnít know if I knew how to act when I was high either. I guess I just didnít care what anybody thought about the way I acted when I was high. My jaw used to go side to side when I did coke. You could always tell when I was high by the way my jaw moved. I look back at all the pictures and movies of Christmas and birthdays and I see how high I was for years and years. Itís disgusting to look at myself that way. I had to throw all the movies away.

I bought drugs in quantities and sold them to pay for my habit. I had back pains from past injuries and from peeking out windows and tweaking on everything all night long. I had two back operations in a sixteen-month period. I was hooked on vicodin and codeine. My doctors gave me all the drugs that I asked for and even some that I didnít. I finally lost my job because I missed too much work. I was laid up with back pain. All I did was drink beer, take pills and sleep. I felt like my life was pretty much over with.

The only time I got out of bed was to go to the store to get more beer. I would stop at my friendís house on the way back from the store. He was into crystal meth. He started giving me a line or two. I would come back home and get back into bed, but I couldnít sleep after doing a line. I couldnít sit still and I felt like tweaking on electronics. I wanted to tweak on everything.

I sued my work because of my back and was given a $10,000 dollar settlement. It was just enough money for a quantity of drugs and a place to do them in. I was now addicted to Crystal-meth. It made me want to work, that is if you call walking around in circles working, at least I thought I was working.

I felt that I needed all the junk I could get. I wanted to have two of everything in the whole world in case one broke. Instead I ended up with five of everything. I collected every gadget known to man. I had just about every tool for every trade known to man. There were so many tools, that I couldnít find what I needed when I needed it.

I rented a shop and filled it with junk. I was trading dope for Dumpster Diver stuff. My friend also worked at the dump. He brought me a truckload of killer junk everyday. I was getting everything you could imagine from the dump. I got thrown out of my shop after a year because I had too much junk and too much traffic.

I got very paranoid and I always thought everybody was out to rip off my dope or steal my treasures. I hid my dope in every place not known to man. I tried to put it where dogs, people, and cops couldnít find it. Iím not even going to begin to tell you some of the places I hid my dope because it would take up too much paper.

One night I got paranoid and I shut my garage at dark. I heard something outside. There was a rope lying under the garage door. I didnít want somebody outside to pull the rope from under the garage door and use it to connect to the garage door and to a vehicle to pull it open and get my dope and me. So I started pulling on the rope to keep it inside and someone started pulling back. I pulled and they pulled back. This went on for about thirty minutes. I got down on the floor and put my feet against the garage door, pulling as hard as I could to keep the rope from being pulled from underneath the door. I could not hold back the rope any longer. I didnít know who was out there or what they wanted so I let go of the rope and scrambled into the house and locked the door. I was going to let them have whatever it was that they wanted except me. 

I went into my bedroom and tried to see outside in front of the garage but it was too dark. I was scared and I thought they were ripping off the garage but I couldnít call the police with drugs around. So I fell asleep hiding on my bedroom floor. The next morning when I woke up I looked down at the rope burns on my hands and remembered what had happened the night before. Now that I got some sleep and it was daylight, I went right out to the garage to see what had happened. I lifted the door and there was the rope just lying there the same way it was when I shut the door down on it the night before. I had imagined everything. I had been pulling the rope right through my hands. I had been hallucinating the whole time. This is what speed will do to you after you have been up for a couple of days.

I always thought that the cops and dope addicts were trying to peek through the cracks of my garage door when I was inside. That way they could see where I hid my dope and bust me or rip me off. So I took a magnetron out of a microwave oven and made a gun out of it. I set this microwave gun up pointing at the cracks in the garage door and anybody that was peeking through the door crack would get their brains cooked. I think there was a cat out there one night, because the next morning there was a cat in front of our house walking around in circles and the next day he was having seizures flopping around. 

I was tweaking on this gun one day and I felt chest and shoulder pains. I looked down and saw that the gun got accidentally turned on and was pointed at my chest. I had chest pains for the next two months. And whenever I looked at a magnet, I could see the magnetic flux glowing around the magnet. I could also register voltage out of my hands when I grabbed the leads of a multi-meter. I always figured that I would probably die early from this radiation poisoning, but I had worse things to worry about that might kill me.

Every ingredient that is used to make Crystal-meth will kill you if you ingested it by itself and yet mixed together and cooked, we smoked, ate, snorted, and slammed it. It is pure poison. I donít think they know of all the damages that crystal-meth has had on people yet, but I could name a few of the problems my friends and I have complained about, loss of sight, memory, hearing, tunnel vision, earís ringing, paranoia, liver and kidney infections and failure.  

I moved out of the shop and back into my momís house. There was junk everywhere. I was selling and trading dope for everything. I was getting my dope from the Mexican Mafia. I would sit in the garage and get high all day and night, selling dope to my friends. Everybody knew I was dealing. There was traffic coming and going from my momís garage.


Chapter 5

One night at about 1:30 AM, my friend and I were getting ready to go to the swap meet the next morning and two guys came out of the dark night. They had guns with lasers on them. They stuck their guns into our eyes and said whereís it at? I said whereís what at? They were yelling whereís it at! I don't know what youíre talking about, I replied. They said, give us the dope or weíll blow your fóking head off. I said, in the garage. With the gun pointed in my face and the laser in my eye, we walked to the garage. He told me to lie face down on the ground. The other gunman had his gun on my friendís head.

My friend had the chance to get the gun away from the other robber and he took it. They started fighting over the gun. While they were fighting over the gun, the robber that had his gun on me was telling the other robber to shoot him, shoot him, and then he started shooting me. He shot me in the back and the buttocks. I turned over and looked him in the face and yelled! Stop shooting me! Stop shooting me! He just kept shooting and shooting hitting me in the stomach and leg and shoulder. I tried to get away by crawling as fast as I could on my side, but he just kept shooting. He stopped for about 15 seconds to shoot my buddy in the arm.

My ears were ringing and I had crawled halfway through the garage. I looked to the right and in the bottom of my toolbox was a gun. Right in front of my face was a 22-cal. pistol that I hadn't seen in three months. Here I was in a garage full of junk, lying on the floor, with someone shooting me and here was this gun to defend myself in the right place at the right time. By the grace of God there it was. This gun was going to save my life. I had already been shot about five times. And while he had turned around to shoot my friend, I grabbed the gun from under the toolbox. 

I could hardly hold the gun because I had been shot in the hand while blocking a bullet to my head. The bullet went in between my middle finger & ring finger and came out my wrist; those two fingers were blown apart. So I held the gun up as best as I could, towards the place where he was last standing. He turned around and looked at me. I had the gun pointed right at his face. He had his gun pointed at me. I looked him straight in the eye and for a split second I was thinking to myself: ok Iíve got a gun now too, now split. 

He didnít leave; he pulled the trigger again & again & again. He shot me four more times. Every bullet had felt like I had been hit with a baseball bat, by Mark McGuire. I could only shoot back once, in return fire. I could not shoot another human being, but because I shot back, he took off running. I was lying in a pool of blood. I felt like I had been hit with a bat, fifteen times. I heard my friend yelling for help. I got up and stumbled into the house. Bullets were dropping out of my pant legs. I got to the phone and called 911. I told the operator that my friend had been shot. They asked me how many times he had been shot. I told them that I didnít know.

I told them that I had been shot too. She asked me how many times. I told her that I didnít know, a lot. I looked down and saw another pool of blood at my feet. I told her that I was going to lie down, that I couldnít stand up any more. She told me to stay on the phone, I told her I canít and I dropped to the ground. I lay there on the kitchen floor thinking...what have I gotten myself into this time. Iím going to die; Iím actually going to die.

I prayed to God thinking I will change, I will change! Donít let me die! Not like this. Give me a chance to say goodbye to my son. Give me one more chance to show him that I love him. I didnít want my mother to see me like this, but I started feeling it was time to say goodbye to her and I didnít want to die alone. I called out to my mother. She awoke and came into the kitchen to see me bleeding to death on the floor. No mother should have to see her son in that way. I told her I was sorry. I told her to tell Cody that I was sorry. Tell him Iím sorry that he had a no good drug addict for a father. Tell him Iím sorry I didnít get to do the things I promised I would do with him. Tell him that I love him. I love you Mom, I told her. I couldnít hardly breathe or talk anymore. All I could do was pray to God and plead with him for my life

I asked God to take care of my son. I told God that I was sorry for being a lousy father. I told God to make sure my son knows that I love him. This was only the second time that I could ever remember praying. Why is it that everyone looks for God when theyíre dying? Why is it that everyone knows that God is there when they are dying? Why do people wait till itís too late to accept God into their life? Iíll tell you why! Theyíre scared! Theyíre scared of spending eternity in a burning lake! As long as youíre alive you donít need to think about hell, right? Why worry, right? Wrong! What happens when you meet a very fast and unpleasant death? What happens when you arenít lucky enough to have time to plead for your life to God? What happens if you donít have time to tell him you will repent of your evil ways? I always thought that I didnít need God, until now that is! Now I needed him more than ever! Why? Because Iím dying! Iím willing to bet that you will want him and need him too when youíre dying also! So why wait?! You might not get the chance to get right with him. Why wait until itís too late?

The paramedics came in and they started looking for bullet holes in me. They were rolling me over back and forth saying hereís one, hereís another one, hereís two more, hereís another, trying to plug them up so as to save what blood I had left. They put me onto a stretcher and carried me out to the ambulance. We sat in front of the house waiting till they found a hospital that would take me with no insurance. I was in so much pain that I started thinking that I might be better off dead. In fact, I thought I did die in the ambulance. When we finally got to the hospital the police were there. They were grilling me on what had happened. I was in so much pain I told them to leave me alone, but they thought I was not going to make it so they kept on asking me questions while they put a catheter hose down my penis. I kept pleading with them to stop, that I was in enough pain. Instead they proceeded to put a hose down my nose and then took me into the operating room for surgery. They almost lost me several times to low blood pressure and had to stop until my blood pressure came up. They put me into a self-induced coma for ten days.

During that time, the guy that had shot me, found out that I had lived. He sent two girls from his gang into the hospital to finish me off, so that I would not testify against him. They told the nurse that they were my sister and a friend of mine. The nurses let them into my room in the intensive care unit. I had hoses coming out of my mouth, nose, belly and penis. I had machines all around the room hooked up to me. I heard the girls talking about what they were going to do. I couldnít move a muscle and I couldnít scream because I was paralyzed from head to toe by the coma. I had patches over my eyes so I could not see. These girls were talking about smothering me. All of a sudden one of the girls put something over my face and squeezed my air tube. I could feel my blood pressure rising. I felt my body start throbbing like a thumb that was hit with a hammer. I felt like a bomb ready to explode. The one girl was telling the other one to hurry up lets go. Iím leaving, just a minute, heís still breathing, somebodyís coming, Iím leaving the other one said, Wait! Then she let go of me when the alarm on the heart machine came on.

Have you ever had a dream where you were trying to get away from someone trying to kill you but you were unable to run? And you woke up in a cold sweat scared to death? Well it wasnít a dream and I was scared to death. The worst part was I couldnít talk. I couldnít tell anybody anything. I didnít know if they were coming back or not! I was unable see them if they did! I laid there scared to death for the next three or four days waiting for someone to come in and kill me!

My mother came to see me that night. She asked the nurse how I was doing and the nurse said it was touch and go. The nurse said that his sister and friend came to see him. Then his blood pressure rose up so high we thought we were going to have to take him back into surgery, but his blood pressure came back down. My mother told the nurse that he doesnít have a sister and besides he is supposed to be under protective custody. The nurse said she was sorry and said she didnít know that when she let them in.

I was brought out of the self-induced coma a few days later. My mother, brother, and son were standing there when they took the patches off my eyes. I was happy to be alive. At first nobody believed that they tried to kill me. They told me I was probably dreaming or I was probably high on morphine or Seconal. Iíd been given those drugs before in past surgeries and I knew you could hallucinate off them, but I also knew that this wasnít the case.

I wanted to have the breathing hoses removed from my nose. I wanted the IV and morphine machine removed. I wanted to get out of the bed. I wanted to be able to protect myself. I didnít want to not be able to move. My arm and hand was in a temporary cast. I felt pretty good considering what I had been through. Thatís when they told me I had been shot nine times with a 9mm. The nurse came in and she lifted up my gown and I saw a bag attached to my belly. She took the bag off and there was this red thing sticking out of my belly. I was looking down at it wondering what it was and all of a sudden feces started coming out of it. I just about passed out looking at it. I had tears in my eyes and thatís when it really hit me that I was never going to be the same again. The nurse came back and saw how upset I was. I asked, Whatís that thing and she said thatís your colostomy. I said is that the way itís always going to be, she said maybe.

I remembered back to the night I got shot. I floated up above the operating room table, looking down at the clean-up nurses, cleaning up all the blood on the floors and tables. They said itís a shame he didnít make it. I remembered my spirit going to a place in the clouds with a room full of faceless people. One by one they were walking up to a giant with armor and a helmet on. He was holding a long spear in his hand. He had very big wings and his armor was battered. He looked like a large angel that had been in battle. After confronting this angel everyone was walking single file down this wide sidewalk, towards this brightly-lit gate. I was the last one in the room. I remember feeling warm and very content. I walked up to the angel and I remember praying the same prayers that I had prayed right after I was shot. Tell my son Iím sorry, tell him to forgive me, tell him I love him and God please forgive me.


                                                       Chapter 6

They moved me to a recovery room. My dealer came to see me. He had left me an ounce of dope to take care of the people that were coming to see me. I started selling dope out of the hospital room. I wanted to go home so I could get high too. I told the doctors that I wanted to go home and since medi-cal was paying for the bills, they agreed. By this time the bill was already $560,000. This was a high price to pay, and all because someone wanted to get high without paying for it.

Not to mention what I put my mother through. Her being woke up at 2:00 in the morning seeing her son on the floor with nine bullets in him, lying in a pool of blood. No mother should have to go through that. My mother was hoping that my nine-year-old son didnít wake up that night and come into the room and see his dad shot to pieces on the floor.

When I got out of the hospital, one of my friends told me he knew someone that knows who it was that shot me. All I had to do was pay him a sixteenth of dope for the information. I paid the dope to the informant and found out who they were. They were brothers, Mike and Lenny and a third person that stayed out on the sidewalk that night. The police were coming to my house daily trying to find out who shot me. I didnít know these guys but I knew they were the guys that shot us because the informant had told me things that only the shooter could have told him. I wanted to take care of them myself but I didnít want to go to jail for life. So I told the police who they were. They brought us a group of mug shots and my friend and I identified the two guys that shot us. The police waited until they made a case against them before making an arrest.

During that time my stepfather had a stroke. I was called to the emergency room at a local hospital. I was standing in the emergency room, next to my step-dad, when they brought this guy in that had been shot. He was pronounced dead right next to me. The next day my mother showed me the newspaper; it read that a man was shot in front of his house.

It said that he died at the same hospital we were at and at the same time. It said he died on arrival and his name was Lenny. He was the guy they brought into the emergency room and he was one of the guys that shot us. I had been standing in the emergency room, with my hand bandaged, my colostomy bag hanging from my stomach, still in pain, and I got to see one of the guys that did this to me, pronounced dead right in front of me. Was this Godís way of showing me that vengeance was in fact his, or was it the fact that they had robbed several other dealers and those other dealers figured that payback's a bitch and then you die. Either way I just happened to be in the right place and at the right time to see justice take place.

Some guys approached me that had been taking credit for killing Lenny. They told me not to testify against Mike, because they wanted to take care of him too. They said it would be too hard to get at him in jail. I could not take a chance that they wouldnít or couldnít take care of him and I could not stand to see him walk, so at least I wanted him behind bars. His gang didnít want me to testify either, and thereís no telling what these guys would go through to keep me from testifying so I kept a weapon with me at all times.

I carried a 45 automatic everywhere I went. I kept it under my pillow at night. I wasnít going to be caught with my pants down again. I was sitting in the front yard with the informant. He was hiding at my house because it was the only place he was safe. The gang knew him and knew that he was the one that ratted off Mike. A girl walked up and asked if she could talk to him. While she was talking to him, I knew that this was one of the girls that had tried to kill me in the hospital. I was positive this was one of the voices that I heard in the room that day. I turned around and looked her in the eyes. She looked at me with dark yellow eyes that seemed to glow and said, you know that God is with you donít you! I said yes, and she said, because he is! She knew that it was God that stopped her from smothering me to death. By what means did he stop her, only she knows. She sounded really scared when she told me that and then she turned around and left.

I asked him who she was. He told me that she was Mikeís girlfriend. All of a sudden I got scared. It confirmed what had happened in the hospital that day. I asked him what she told him, he said that Mike wanted to see him, at the jail. I asked him if he was going? He replied are you kidding, I said I donít blame you. Then he told me that he took her and her girlfriend to the hospital to visit me a few days after I got shot. I said WHAT! You did what?! He told me that she wanted to find out how I was doing! I said you stupid fool, she tried to kill me in there. But with no proof it would be hard to convict her of that. I just knew that I needed to watch my back. These people would go to great lengths to see me dead so that I would not testify.

The police were still watching my house and I was still using and selling drugs. I told the DA that the gang was following me and threatening me. I wasnít worried about getting busted. I knew the police needed me to testify. I also knew that they would rather have a shooter for a gang than a drug dealer. The cops just watched me and made sure nobody tried to kill me. I started dealing more and more. I was still working with the DA to build a case against the remaining shooter. I figured I was above the law. There was a cop car across the street from my house most of the time, for my protection.

One night I left the house to go to a motel. I noticed a couple of cars following me. I pulled into a gas station and the cars followed me in. One of the cars I recognized as guys from the Mexican Mafia that I had been dealing with. Because I had been working with the DA to get Mike put away, they thought that I might be ratting on them. They were trying to put the scare on me. The other car pulled into the gas station, and parked. It looked like guys from Mikeís gang. Then a plain-clothes car pulled up and in it were the DA investigators that were watching me. I was afraid to leave the gas station because I had an ounce of dope on me, so I lolly-gagged in the station. All of a sudden two black and white units blocked each driveway. I was relieved to see them in a way and I was worried to see them in another because of the dope I had. They approached both of the cars and ordered them out. I stopped acting like I was checking my oil and I got into my car and drove off with the investigators following me. They had informed the police that I was being followed and possibly in trouble. 


Chapter 7     

I was introduced to a beautiful girl who needed money to get her car out of towing. I went to a motel room with her. The next morning I was pulled over after leaving the motel. They searched my car and found 96 grams of crystal meth and a 12 gauge shot gun. I told them to get in touch with the DA and the Sergeant of the Santa Ana gang squad detail. They did and I was booked and released on my own recognizance in four hours. They could not put me in jail with Mike or anyone else in his gang. They knew I wouldnít last long in there. The sergeant knew my situation with the gang members and he knew that they donít leave any witnesses. He also knew that it was understandable that I have protection after what I had been through. After all, I earned the right to carry a gun after being shot by them nine times.

The girl I was with at the motel turned out to be an informant or in other words a rat. She set me up. The D.E.A. didnít know anything about the shooting or the trial or they would not have interfered. Now I started going to court on these charges. At first it was a simple possession, then it went to sales, then possession and sales with a weapon. Finally it went to felony possession, felony sales, and felony sales with a loaded weapon. It was time to get a lawyer. They wanted to give me 18-months in prison. I fought it because the shotgun was not loaded. In the meantime I told the DA in central court that I was not going to testify unless they dropped the charges against me in Westminster.

I wanted the guy that shot me put in prison for a long time. But I felt like maybe I could get away with this by telling them to drop the charges against me or I wonít testify against him. I figured they owed me that, after all, I was putting my life, and my family's lives on the line, by testifying against a gang member. I heard they could make deals. The DA in central court told me not to worry about Westminster court and Westminster court kept putting off and putting off my court dates. By now several gangs knew I was testifying against the shooter for this gang.  Anyone of them could make a name for themselves by getting rid of the witness. They would drive past my house sometimes in as many as four or five cars dogging me and just staring at the house. Some of them just wanted to see the guy that got shot nine times and lived through it. My son and myself were threatened a couple of times.

After that I kept a 45 automatic with me at all times. I bought all the guns that I could get. At that time, I thought I needed all the firepower I could get. Everybody I knew brought me guns; they knew I might need them against the gang members trying to get me. Some guys I knew brought me a brand new never been fired AR15 rifle, with two 30 round clips. I was no longer worried about what might happen to me, I had protection. I could take a dozen of them with me if I had to. The word got around that I kept this gun with me at all times.  Nobody in his right mind would think of robbing or shooting me now. But wait a minute, the guy that shot me wasnít in his right mind was he? Look what drugs did to him. So I never let my guard down. Do you know what itís like to watch your back 24 hours a day? Itís not fun!

Finally my mother could no longer stand the guns, traffic or junk that I brought to the house by trading for dope. I moved into a large storage yard that was just perfect for all the traffic, and all the junk that I had. My buddy still worked for the dump. He was the one that brought me the largest amount of the stuff that I had. I lived in the storage yard. I had two thirty foot construction trailers in the yard. One of them was full of tools that I had traded dope for, the other one had all my computers and video equipment and a Jacuzzi in it. I also had two motor homes in the yard. They all had their own weapons and ammo in them. That way, in case I was ever robbed or attacked while in one of them, I would have guns to back me up.

All the girls I knew wanted to hangout with me because there was so much dope around. I had 20 motorcycles, street bikes, dirt bikes, mini bikes. I had two forklifts, two boats, a four-wheel drive elcamino, five small lawn tractors, and lots of compressors, generators, cars, and dune buggies. I thought I had everything that anybody could want. But I wasnít happy and I couldnít go anywhere because I could not trust anybody alone at my yard. Everyone I knew did drugs and I figured that anyone of them would rip me off to get them. The only place I felt safe was at the yard. I didnít want to get too far away from my pipe, torch, and a safe place to get high.

I left my son at my momís house and I rarely ever went home. I didnít take my son anywhere. I didnít go anywhere. When my son was around I had to hide so I could get high without him seeing me. I was always afraid someone was going to steal my dope, my tools or just my junk. I couldnít trust anybody and I was always paranoid of getting busted.

I did drugs twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. I ate, smoked, snorted, and slammed it. The more drugs I sold, the more I had for myself. Everybody looked up to me. I could control them. I told them what I wanted them to do or not to do. I was the man! I let only my drug friends around me, nobody else was allowed. If anyone brought someone to my yard that I didnít know they were thrown out and taxed next time they came over.

Every few days I would leave for an hour to go to my momís house to check up on my son. When I saw my son, I couldnít tell him what to do, because I wasnít around long enough to be his father. I didnít get any respect from him because I was a drug user. I couldnít tell him right from wrong, because I was a drug dealer and an addict. He didnít want to listen to a hypocrite. He was going bad just like me. He was expelled from several schools and was getting bad grades, smoking pot and cigaretteís.

The trial against Mike was getting ready to start. They still hadnít dropped the sales charges on me yet. I told them I wasnít going to testify against Mike unless they did drop the charges on me. I was hoping that this could be my ace in the hole.

I was going out with this girl and then she stopped coming over, so I went out with this other girl. Then the first girl came back and I stopped going out with the other girl. The other girl felt like she was scorned. I didnít know she felt that way; she had told all of her friends that I was her new boyfriend and now she had to face her friends. I was staying at this motel next to my yard with these two girls. Because of this situation I ended up fighting with both of them.

They both moved out of the motel room. They came up with a plan to have me thrown in jail and rip me off. They got the key from the manager of the motel and they went through my room. Somebody they knew came and told me that they were breaking into my room. I went to the motel room to see what was up. The one girlís Bronco was setting in front of the door, with her in it and the engine running. The other girl was in the room. I pulled up on my motorcycle, blocking the door. The girl that was in the room ran out and tripped over the motorcycle that was lying there. She jumped into the truck and drove off. I was yelling and cursing at them. I checked the room, to see if anything was gone. I then drove by a drug house they had been hanging out at; I saw her truck there. I pulled up and kicked the door and punched the side mirror, breaking it. I yelled up at the house, stay out of my room.

I drove back to my yard not knowing what these girls were probably up to. I hid my dope and stashed my gun. I was sitting in my car when I heard something coming up behind me. I turned around to look and there were five cops with shotguns and pistols aimed at my head. They told me to lie face down on the ground and not to move. They arrested me on domestic violence charges.

The girl that was scorned told the police that she saw me hit the other girl. The cops believed her. They told the girls that I would be out in four hours if they filed charges. They figured they would have enough time to rip me off and leave. They planned on dropping the charges later or just not going to court. What they didnít know was that it was out of their hands now. Once you file a domestic violence charge, itís out of your hands.

They had planned on ripping off my hotel room, my storage yard, my dope, my money, my computers, and anything else they could carry. Both girls went along with it. I told the police this story of theirs is totally untrue, but I went to jail anyway. It was their word against mine and there were two of them. When they tried to rip me off, my friends protected my yard. Bail was set at 50,000 dollars. When they did not drop the charges, like they told the girls they would, the one girl that I supposedly hit tried to go to court and tell the judge that it didnít happen, but the judge wouldnít even let her talk. She went to the DA and tried to get the charges dropped, but they told her it was out of her hands. She wasnít even allowed into the courtroom and I was only allowed to watch the judge on video court. At this same time, the trial started against the guy that shot me. The DA had me right where they wanted me, in jail. I couldnít refuse to testify now, not as long as I was in jail. They kept me in protective custody at the Santa Ana jail. There was no bail hearing on my domestic violence charges. I was given a public defender and by the time I went to court there was a conflict of interest, because the public defender's office was defending the guy that shot me.

I contacted my lawyer that was working on my first case. He got the bail reduced to $18,000 which was $1,800 cash, which was also what I happened to have on me, when I got busted. I then had to pay the lawyer $2,500 dollars. Forty-three hundred dollars and two weeks in jail for something I didnít do.

The courts will make sure you spend all the money that you have made from selling drugs on them. They will always figure a way to get it away from you one way or another. Well at least I was out of jail for now. If youíre dealing drugs, you donít have to get busted for selling drugs to go to jail. The DA will find ways to make you pay one way or another. Dealing drugs doesnít pay unless you need three hot's and a cot.


Chapter 8
                                                            
I had been put on trial at Mikeís trial. At the first two weeks of his trial, I was the only one they talked about, not him. It was people that I knew that were brought into the court as character witnesses against me. What difference did it make if I was selling drugs or not? I didnít deserve to die for it! I didnít deserve for this guy to be judge and jury over me. Since when do you get the death penalty for selling drugs? Why was I being put on trial for getting shot? The jury was looking at me like I was the killer! The defense portrayed me as the bad guy. The trial ended and Mike was given five years. Five years for two charges of attempted murder. Five years for shooting me nine times and my friend once. By the time the trial ended a year had gone by and he got credit for that year. He only had to do two and a half years good time. That means that he got out, a year and a half after the trial. Not bad, two and a half years for trying to murder two people. After all, when you shoot someone nine times, you are definitely trying to kill them! Arenít you? It wasnít his fault that I lived. He did the best he could to try to kill me!

I went to court on the possession charge that the DA had been putting off and putting off. The DA had been telling me not to worry about it as long as I was testifying against Mike. But now that the trial was over with, they wanted to give me 18 months in prison. I plead not guilty and was waiting for a trial.

I was still living and dealing out of my motor home in my storage yard. I started hanging around with the girl that ratted on me the first time. Donít ask me why! I donít know other than the fact that she was beautiful, she could have been a model. After doing speed, itís hard to resist a beautiful girl. I figured that she was in trouble the first time. But now we were friends and I trusted her once again. She and her friends were breaking into storage units. They would cut the locks off and take everything they wanted inside. What they didnít know, or didnít care about, was the cameras around all of the storageís. A camera recorded the license number on her truck as she was leaving one of the storage units. A day or two later she was getting high at a known drug house, when a narcotics officer drove by and ran her license number. It came back as the truck that was responsible for a string of storage unit robberies.

The plain-clothes narks approached the house. The door was open and she was smoking speed in the livingroom. They asked whose truck is that? She replied itís my truck. They busted her right on the spot, with a pipe in her hand. They took her to the station. They told her they would go easy on her if she helped set up the guy she got the dope from. So they convinced her into setting me up again.

She came to my storage yard the next day. I was in the motor home weighing up a batch of dope. She saw the amount of dope I had. We got high for an hour or two and I gave her a rock to take with her when she left. Later on that night, I was sitting in the motor home paranoid of getting busted as usual. I felt that something just wasnít right. I stashed my dope as quick as I could. I had just gotten done smoking a pipe load of crystal meth, not knowing that it would be the last pipe load that I would ever smoke again.

All of a sudden there was banging on the door, windows, and walls of the motor home. They were yelling open up, police, open up. I opened the door. There were guns everywhere. The cops yelled at me to hit the floor now get down! down! Get down, now. I did and then they dragged me outside. There were sheriffs everywhere. They kept asking me if there was anybody else here. They asked me about the guns and dope. I didnít say anything. I just kept my head down. They saw my AR-15 assault rifle sitting by the door. It had a 30 round clip in it and there was another 30 round clip sitting near it. They got my 12 gauge shot gun that was in the rear of the motor home. There was a Glock 9mm under my bed. They couldnít find the dope until they brought in the dogs. They searched and searched and finally one of the dogs found them. They found a ľ pound of crystal-meth in the bottom of my trash can along with my nickel-plated 357-magnum revolver. I was busted to the max now. There was no way out of this one. The inevitable had happened.

I felt kind of glad it was all over with. The constantly looking over my shoulder to see if there was anybody following me. Being paranoid of helicopters, planeís, vans, and police. Just plain feeling like they were watching me all the time was all over now. The not being able to trust anybody was all over now. I was told twenty-seven years ago, by the guy with the sandals that I would not be able to trust anybody that did this drug. He was right and I hated not trusting my friends, constantly watching them to see if they were ripping me off. I had been told by my dealer to get rid of my guns. He told me that having these guns with the dope would carry a stiff sentence. Guns and dope don't go together and nobody knew this more than me. But they are a necessity if you are going to deal dope. People will kill you to get your dope. I could not have taken that chance of getting robbed and shot again. I had always heard that speed kills, but I had to find out the hard way.

Before I was booked at OCJ, I was taken to the sheriffís dept. They tried to make a deal with me. They told me they would drop some of the charges if I ratted off my connection and two other dealers. I told them, are you kidding, I still have three bullets in my back, and I don't need anymore. Besides if you do the crime, you do the time. They booked me at Orange County Jail, then sent me to Lacy the next day. You reap what you sow.

I slept for five days and nights, only waking up to take roll call three times a day. On the outside nobody ever let me sleep. They were always coming over at all hours of the night and day. Every time I fell asleep somebody would come by and wake me up, wanting dope. I was hoping to be released, I was hoping it was illegal search and seizure or they didnít read me my rights, but I was dreaming. I just kept thinking that it isnít as bad as it looks. But every time I went to court it just looked worse and worse. After two times in court I found out the charges were crime bail crime, because I was out on my own recognizance from the first sales charge. Now I know why they kept putting off the court date for as long as they did, they were just waiting for me to get busted again. Two felony charges of sales with loaded weapons. Possession of the loaded AR15 assault rifle, which carried a one-year special enhancement, Possession of a stolen 357 magnum, Possession of paraphernalia smoking devices, plus a scale and $800 cash.

The DA wanted to give me six to eight years in prison. I just kept thinking that theyíre just trying to scare me straight. After all, the guy that shot me, only got five years, and they want to give me eight for selling dope. I guess they thought I was an accident waiting to happen and I guess I was. I would have shot and killed the next guy who tried to rip me off. Not because I wanted to, but because I didnít want to die.  

I learned one thing about death that you can never understand unless you are faced with it. I learned that when you're messing with death itís for keeps. Everything and everybody that you have touched or would have touched in your life becomes nonexistent. Everything that you would have accomplished or everybody you would have met and touched in the future becomes nonexistent. You will be forgotten and become a faint memory. Is that what we're here for? I was so close to becoming a memory! To not see my son graduate! To not see him get married! To not see my grandkids! I didnít want to die, not now anyway. But wait - I wasnít alive anyway! At the rate I was going, my son wouldnít have wanted me at his wedding anyway. He might not have wanted me around my grandkids either. Who knows, he might have gotten killed riding in a car driven by me while I was high! All these things are possible!


                                                     Chapter 9

The day they raided me was the day before Thanksgiving, Nov 26, 1998. And now I had been in jail one month and it was Christmas Eve. The guard asked over the loud speaker if anybody wanted to go to Christian services. I figured what better time to get out of my cube and go to church than Christmas Eve. I went to the service hoping to maybe get a glimpse of a girl or maybe get a candy cane. Instead I got something a thousand, no a million times better.

I wondered how much these people got paid to come in here and sing these songs that didnít rhyme, and do it without music. I was a little embarrassed at first. Then I thought, if they're getting paid for this, then why canít they afford to have music? I then thought, I don't think theyíre getting anything for coming into this place! And that started me thinking, why? Why did the prison ministry people give up their Christmas Eve to come into this jail to be with a bunch of drug users, dope dealers, thieves, drunks, etc. Because they love God enough to bring the word of God to the people that need him the most. 

At first I thought...why donít they get a life? If they had a life, they wouldnít be in here right now. I could think of a lot better places to be on Christmas Eve than in this place with us. Then I thought about how nice it would be to be them and to be free. When this service is over, they are going to be able to walk right out of here and go home. All of a sudden I wanted a life like theirs. I wanted to walk right out of here too. I thought...whatís it going to take for me to be free like them? I couldnít forget that one big problem of six to eight years in prison. Every time I woke up from sleeping I was faced with this reality. I didnít know if I could live that long. The way I felt, physically and mentally, I didnít think I was going to live very long anyway.

I sat and listened to the word of God and what Jesus did for us. I wanted to change but was it too late? I asked myself, is this the best I can do with my life? And then the Holy Spirit came into my heart. I had tears in my eyes and I asked God to forgive me. I knew that I no longer wanted this lifestyle anymore. I wanted a good life. I was sick and tired of all the problems that dope brought on. I wanted a life where I didnít have to worry about getting shot, going to prison, or dying of an overdose. I asked God if he could please drive this car. I canít do it anymore. Iím a wreck! I keep getting in wrecks! I prayed and asked him to please take control of my life. This was the third time I could ever remember praying in my life. Right then I knew that I was no longer alone anymore. I knew that God was watching over me and listening to my problems and prayers. I instantly felt like a new man.

I had been arguing with my bunkie because he had been getting on my nerves. But the Holy Spirit was changing my heart already. I felt no need to argue with anybody anymore. I felt no need to brag about how good my dope used to be anymore. I found an extra Bible in my mod and I started reading it. I have to admit I didnít understand it at first and I still donít understand it all. The Holy Spirit allows me to understand only what I need to understand and when I need to understand it. Some of the things that I got out of the Bible at first were the Love that God had for all the people of the world and the forgivingness that he gave to all that had sinned. I realized that I could be forgiven for every wrong that I ever committed. I realized that I could be made pure again. I didnít know it at that time, but that night was going to change the course of the rest of my life.

I started going to all the Christian services that there was. I opened up and told my testimony at one service that I went to. I told them how I was now looking to find God. The pastor told me to stop looking, that God had already found me. I started crying tears of joy once again. I was sure the Holy Spirit was still in my heart.

I was approached later by two guys that were at the service. One of them told me his wife had left him and he was doing six months in jail. He said that he thought he had it bad, but after hearing my testimony, he said he would do his remaining time standing on his head. He said that he was not going to complain about the time he was given any longer or be mad at his wife for leaving him. He said that after hearing my story he should just be glad that he is alive and only doing six months. I felt better just because he felt better. I started to see what fellowship was all about.

The words of Jesus taught me that I had been the only one hurting because of the anger I had in me. I had thought that Iíll teach them, Iíll be mad at them. I then realized that I was not hurting the people I was mad at by being mad at them. I thought, do they care if I am mad at them? No-way they could care less. I was only hurting myself by being mad at them. So for my sake I forgave the guy that shot me, because he did it because of drugs. I forgave the girl that ratted on me, because she did it to save herself from what drugs had made her do. And God forgave me because he loves me. At that point I was at peace. I could now deal with being in jail. I wasnít pounding my head against the wall anymore, worrying about getting everything I owned ripped off. I wasnít even worried about how or when I was going to get out of jail anymore.

I had given my life over to God. I put my life in Gods hands. I spent all of my time sitting on my bunk reading the Bible. What better time to read the Bible, than jail time! The Holy Spirit was thriving in me now. Every newcomer that came into the mod was sure to get a visit from me. I would find out what they knew about God and try to find out where they went wrong. I would tell them my testimony and tell them how I was going to change my life. Some of the guys told me how they were going to slam some heroin in their jugular vein the minute they get out. I tried to explain to them how stupid that would be. I was already changing and trying to change. I was not going to be a hypocrite and go out and get high again.

I had to go to court one morning so I smuggled my little Bible onto the bus and all the way to court. I was searched three times and I still made it to the courtroom with the Bible. Bibles were not allowed in court, probably because it would be an unfair disadvantage to the prosecution. I wanted to read the Bible in the dungeon and have God with me in court. God made me feel loved regardless of what was happening in court. I was hoping for some good news that day but my lawyer told me they still wanted to give me six to eight years in prison. Even with the bad news, I still knew everything was going to be all right. It was like I had the ultimate Judge on my side and he was forgiving me because I made a small mistake. I think God works best through fellowship. If the DA was a Christian and the Judge was a Christian, then God would be able to touch their hearts into giving leniency to somebody who has given their life over to God.

Two weeks later on super bowl Sunday I went to a church service. There was this guy there from Saddleback church. He was telling us to ask for a favor from God. I thought to myself... Iím not going to ask God for anything. Heís done enough for me already by saving my life. He asked us if we would like to do something for our sons or daughters if we could. I thought to myself, yes of course I would. He said, well thatís why God wants to do something for you. He told us that if we didnít have anything to ask God for, then ask God for the quickest possible release date. He said he doesnít know how it works, but he knows it works. He said, do you know how I know it works, because it says so right in the bible. I believed him, but more importantly I believed in God, and the word of God. I went back to my cell and I prayed for the quickest possible release date.


                                                           Chapter 10

My mother was paying the rent on my storage yard. She could not afford to pay the $600 a month rent any longer. I had stopped worrying about people ripping me off anymore. I didnít need anything but God now. I didnít want to be in jail, but I wasnít as worried about it anymore either. But I knew I couldnít just leave everything in the storage yard and let my mom pay the rent. There was just too much stuff and besides my mother had already paid $1200 for two months rent. I figured if I could get out of jail, I could get rid of everything in my yard. Then I could go back to jail, and do my time, without the pressure on my mother to try to pay the rent for me. I was told that drug addicts were going through everything I owned and taking whatever they wanted.

I prayed for four days and nights for the quickest possible release date. On the fourth day I prayed, my mother offered to bail me out. I was bailed out on a $50,000 dollar bond. My mother used a credit card and put up her house as collateral. I had prayed for the quickest possible release date and what is the quickest way out of jail? Bail!

As I left the jail at 3:30am, I started shaking and trembling. I was clean of drugs for 74 days but as soon as I was released I started craving drugs again. I was out where the devil was now. I always knew that the devil existed, because of some of the things that had happened to me, at the hands of other people. Only the devil could have made these people do these things. Drugs are a by-product of the devil! I could have called this girl I knew to pick me up that morning but I knew she had drugs so I called my mother to pick me up instead.

When I got home I left to go check on my storage yard. It was raining when I got there about 4:30am. I no longer had the keys to the yard, so I climbed over the fence and went into my moterhome. Everything was dumped upside down on the floor. It was a disaster. I saw a stack of dirty magazines that were brought to me before I got busted. I grabbed them, to take home with me. After I accepted the Lord Jesus into my heart, I had wondered what was going to happen with all the dirty magazines and movies that I had collected for years. I also wondered how I was going to get rid of the urge to look at naked women, so I prayed when I was in jail, for help in getting rid of this kind of lust. 

I left the motor home with the magazines under my arm. I was heading for the gate and I tripped over something. I stumbled forward and the magazines went flying out from under my arm into a puddle of muddy water. I turned around to see what it was that I tripped over. It was still dark outside, so I reached down to see what it was and I picked it up. It was a book. I held it up into the moonlight to see what kind of book it was. The moonlight was reflecting off the silver inlaid words on the cover and it read HOLY BIBLE. I had once again seen first hand the power of prayer, and how the Holy Spirit works. I left with a very strong sense that I was not alone. I knew that I could not let God down this time. I could not let the devil win this battle over me.

On the way home from the storage yard, I drove past a drug house. I saw my old girlfriend that I was in love with when I got busted coming out of the house with two guys. She said she was glad to see me. She told me that she would be right over after she gave these guys a ride. She left following the two trucks that these guys were driving. I went home and waited for her to come over. She never showed up so I went back by the drug house and she wasn't there. I drove by the cheap hotel down the street that we used to go to and there was her car and the two trucks. She was giving them a ride all right.

God was looking out for me again. He guided me to that motel to show me what kind of person that I was in love with. If she had come over that morning, I would have given her the drugs that the sheriffs didnít find and Iím sure that I would have ended up doing them also, because at that time I was so vulnerable. I was so hurt by what I saw, that I no longer wanted to ever see her again and that was crucial to my sobriety. She showed me once again what she would do for drugs and what men could make women do for them. I destroyed the drugs that I found, which also helped me to not ever think about buying anymore drugs, since I threw a lot away.

On the same morning that I got out of jail, I was in the driveway and an older black man came walking up. He asked me if I had a 454 motor for sale? I said yes! He asked me if I would take $500.00 for it? I said yes! I asked him how he knew that I had a motor that I would sell. He told me that his pastor told him about it! I asked him how his pastor knew about the motor. He said he didnít know just that his pastor said that if he still needed a motor to come to this address and that there was a guy there that has a motor and he needs the money. That sounds like me all right! But how did he know? I told him that I just got back in town. He asked me where had I been. Do you want the truth? I asked! He said, only if you want to tell me! I told him I just got out of jail. I thought something like that, he replied! I told him that I was a born again Christian! He said, praise the Lord I am too.
 

I told him about how I had been shot. He told me about how he grew up in Watts in a gang. He told me about the riots that he had been in and that he had been stabbed five or six times. I showed him my scars and he showed me his. We held hands and prayed. My son came outside while we were praying. He must have thought that I was off my rocker. Here I was holding hands with this old black man praying.

What happened to my dad in jail?...he must of thought! This wasnít the Drug dealing Dad that he remembered and I didnít understand it either. I told this man how I prayed for the quickest possible release date and here I am four days later. Now Christians are bringing me money for things that I gave to God, to pay back my mother for the use of her credit card. God works in mysterious ways and he does so through people that believe in him.

Fellowship is what itís all about, and the more fellowship there is, the more good work God can do in our lives. Thatís why we Christians are always looking to share what we have found. Because we know that the more fellowship we have the happier our lives will be too. We talked and prayed about four or five hours that day. Not to mention the pastor from his church sent him to me and we donít even know how his pastor even knew about the motor. I sold him the motor and helped him put it in his truck. I had been out of jail about seven hours, and the first person I met was a born again Christian. Praise the Lord, I had started making new Christian friends and fellowship. This showed me what fellowship was all about. I helped him and he helped me. This is how God works in our lives, by the love and fellowship that we have with one another. 

My son and I were driving around that day. We saw that the Rolling Stones, my favorite band, were playing that night at the Pond. We had never been to a concert together and we thought it would be a good way to celebrate me being out of jail. We bought the tickets from a scalper in front of the pond. I told my son before we go in lets pray for good seats. He looked at me like I was crazy. I told him let's hold hands, that when two or more are gathered together in prayer, God will be there too. I told him that you have to have faith in God or it wonít work. We prayed and then we went in. We found our seats and they were all the way on the other side of the arena from the stage. My son said, well Dad whatís up with this? I told him that I guess it doesnít work every time. Maybe we need to give God more time! Weíll pray before we buy the tickets next time. I didnít really care where we were sitting, just being there after being in jail was good enough for me. I just wanted to get my son accustomed to praying.

They played a few songs, and then another stage lit up, right in front of us. It was called the satellite stage. Then the whole band walked down a runway carrying their instruments to the stage in front of us and they began to play. My son looked at me and I looked at him and then we both looked up and said thank you Jesus thank you Lord. We watched the rest of the concert right in front of us through teary eyes.

What used to be one of my best customers was my friend Robert that worked at the dump. He lived on the next street over from me. He was the one I got almost all of my good junk from. I had been avoiding him for about a week after I got out of jail because I didnít want to be around people using drugs. I was driving through my tract and we saw each other as we drove straight for one another. I couldnít avoid him any longer. We pulled up next to each other and he lifted a Bible up and said hey Dean Iím getting high off of this now! I said, hallelujah me too. We both jumped out of our vehicles and hugged each other. We were two happy campers. We went to church the next night. Then we both started going to the Calvary Chapel on Monday night to hear Greg Laurie. Then we started new believers classes on Tuesdays. I started feeling like I couldnít get enough of the word of God. It felt so good coming to this church and praising the Lord.

There were times when I thought about getting high. There were times when I was craving drugs. Thatís when I went to the church to Worship God and pray for strength. And when I left the church, I would always have the strength to overcome those feelings. These feelings and cravings lasted about three months and little by little they died off, making me stronger and stronger all the while. During this time I went to Corona Del Mar beach to get baptized. There were a lot of people there getting baptized. After I was baptized, I felt like a new person. I felt like I could not sin any longer. I felt like I could not let God down. I must be the best person that I can be and that felt good. I also felt like I was a part of Gods family now.

My court date was coming up and I wasnít looking forward to going back to jail. But I did get rid of my storage yard and everything in it, and thatís what I got out of jail to do. My lawyer said he might be able to get me18 months in prison. The court ordered a report from the probation dept. They put off setting a date for trial until the report came back.

The probation department did a complete check on me. They followed me around and talked to neighbors and watched the house for traffic. The probation department asked me to write a letter telling them about my drug, family, work, and jail history basically my life story. I prayed for probation with faith in God but I figured I wouldnít get it. It was too much to ask for.

The next court date came and the probation report was back in. The Judge offered me a deal if I pleaded guilty to all the charges, which carried a maximum sentence of eighteen years. I was one of three defendants pleading guilty to charges at the same time to save court time. One man had a sixteenth of an ounce and he was given one year. The other man had an eighth of an ounce and he got sixteen months.

Then it became my turn and she said. Mr. Bales you have two felony counts of sales with loaded weapons. You had a stolen 357mag. You have a one year crime bail crime enhancement. You had possession of a 1\2 pound of crystal meth, smoking devices, a scale. You also have a one year special enhancement for having a loaded AR15 assault rifle with two loaded 30 round clips. The judge said, Mr. Bales youíre unlike most of the people that come through here. You have shown that you have made an honest attempt to turn your life around. You have also shown that you have quit using drugs on your own. Mr. Bales you have a family that needs you. You have a young son that would not benefit from you being in prison for a lengthy time. I am going to order that the court give you three years probation. If you violate this probation you could serve up to 18 years. I congratulate you and wish you good luck. I said, thank you Your Honor, hallelujah, and most of all, thank you Father, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit!


I wish I had believed in God a long time ago and then all this never would have happened. Except if all this never would have happened I never would have found God. So Iím glad it all happened. The trick is to find God before you need him as bad as I did. I know itís hard to believe in something that you canít see with your own eyes. When youíre in the gutter thereís only one way to look and thatís up. Thereís only one good thing that ever came from me doing drugs, and that was me finding God.

I felt like I got off easy. I felt like I should be going back to jail although I was glad that I wasnít. Then I realized that this feeling that I had was one of the keys to happiness, because everyday that I wake up I thank God to be alive and free to go outside in the sun and fresh air. To be able to go to the beach, park, bike riding, motorcycle riding, mountains, and even to work! Yes even going to work is a thousand times better than waking up in a cell, not being able to eat what you want, when you want it or go anywhere. I now thank God everyday for everything.

Something was telling me to go to the prison ministry at the church. I didnít know why except that I felt that I needed to give back to the ministry what the ministry gave to me. I wanted to share God and the changes God made in my life with other inmates and show them the hope that there is even when they feel their hope is gone. I wanted to show them that it's not too late to pray and turn their lives around. I want to tell them that all they have to do is let God into their heart and he will do the rest. I want to tell them how God would transform their lives into a life worth living once again. I also wanted to tell them to ask for a favor from God, because it works.


A couple of days later I went to the prison ministry at the church. I walked up to the room. There were three or four people standing outside. I told them I don't know if Iím in the right place or not. I asked them if this was the prison ministry. They said yes it is, weíve been waiting for you. I thought O my God! These people welcomed me in with open arms. I still wasnít used to this kind of friendship and love. When I sat down, I looked around, and I recognized these people. These were the same people that were there at the prison on Christmas Eve, the very night I accepted the Lord. These were the people that I thought should get a life. Boy I could not have been farther wrong that night when I thought that. Now I realize that they have a life and a beautiful one at that. Bringing the word of God to those who need it the most. 

At this time I want to thank Gene, Steve and God for being there that night, Christmas Eve 1998, the most important day of my life. God Bless You Both! Christmas 1999 came and my son and I were invited to Gene and Wandaís house for Christmas dinner. We had a beautiful dinner, opened presents, and sang Christmas songs. I was overcome with emotion thinking back one year and seeing myself as a drug addict sitting in jail. Now here I am sitting in the living room with the same people that opened my eyes to God just one year earlier in jail. These people have become like a second family to me.

I went to my second retreat and the focus of the retreat was the power of prayer. To ask God for the things we need. He wants to give us these things because he loves us. A long time ago I went to the Kern River at Lake Isabelle with some friends. Before we left my friend Jimmyís mother, Mrs. Santos, prayed for us as she always did every night and before we went anywhere. At the river we were diving off of cliffs into the fast moving Kern River. I was down stream with my friend David and my friend Jimmy dove off a cliff upstream. His head went into the water and his feet were still sticking out of the water. I knew what had happened. He dove into a rock. David and I ran to the edge of the river and waited for Jimmy to come up. All of a sudden a red head popped up out of the river. We grabbed him just in time out of the rushing river. We pulled him out and I could see his scull. His head was split open from ear to ear. We wrapped a towel around his head real tight and took him to my truck. We raced up the dirt road heading for the Dam. We kept talking to him all the way. He said he wanted to go to sleep. But we didnít let him.

In the distance about a mile away I saw a Ranger driving by the Dam; I started flashing my KC lights on top of my truck. I saw him turn around and start heading back to where the paved road meets the dirt road. We met at the same time there. I jumped out and was yelling we need an ambulance now. He told me to calm down. I told him its bad, real bad. He said there is one on its way right now. Just a minute later there was an ambulance pulling up and in it were two surgeons and three nurses. They started stitching him up right then and there. We followed them to the hospital and I called Mrs. Santos. I was in tears and telling her that Jimmy was hurt. She told me to calm down. She told me that Jimmy was going to be all right. I told her you donít understand he has been hurt bad. She said, Dean take care of yourself, Jimmy is going to be OK. How could she know this? The accident had just happened. She acted as if she was not even worried.

This was a case of total faith in God. She had prayed before we left for a safe trip. She prayed for God to watch over us and take care of us. She had enough faith to know that even if Jimmy died he was going to be OK, because she prayed ahead of time. It didnít matter what had happened; she knew it was going to be all right because God had been watching over him.

I didnít understand all this until I was born again. Now I look back and I see all the miracles that took place in my life. And I can praise God for all of them. Because miracles just donít happen, God makes them happen. So whatever you do or wherever you go, pray first and you will be guaranteed to be all right no matter what happens to you. I found out after I got shot that my aunt had called Silent Unity, a large prayer ministry that prays for people in need of prayer. She told them about me being shot and asked them to pray for me and they did. My half-sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Mrs. Santos all asked their churches to pray for me also and they did. These were the reasons that I am here today. These prayers saved my life and now I must make this life of mine worth their prayers.

I will tell you this, when you are dying you will pray to God. You will ask God to forgive you. Most people are not worried about Hell until they are dying and faced with going there. Even then, Hell is not your primary concern, God is. What is God going to think about you? What have you done to love your neighbor?  What have you done to deserve a place in heaven? Take my word for it. I didnít believe in God when I got shot, but when I felt myself dying, I pleaded to God and believe me, I was dying! People donít live after being shot nine times, unless itís Godís will! And in this case it was his will that I live because of the prayers that I received. Iím not sure exactly what God has in store for me yet but I will know one day and Iím looking forward to that day. Until then I will be waiting on the Lord.

So what happens if you meet an instant death like most accidents happen and you donít get time to ask God to forgive you? I think you know what will happen! And it isnít good. Donít let that happen to you.  Let God start preparing a place in Heaven for you now. I canít tell you enough how happy you will be. There is not one thing about drugs and alcohol that is happy. Happiness comes from within, not from a bottle or a bag. So if you want to be truly happy, pray to God for forgiveness and ask him for the power to stay away from drugs and alcohol forever. Believe me, he will listen because he cares and he loves you. It doesnít matter what you have done in the past. He will forgive you for all your sins! Donít wait till itís too late; get right with God now!

I now know the one for sure thing in my life is that I believe in our Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I want to follow Godís path that he has for me. Everybody knows that Jesus followers are happy people, well if you had happen to you what I had happen to me and you were still alive and free to tell about it, I know you would be happy too. The guilt that a drug addict carries around is tearing them up. It is hard to imagine a life without drugs when youíre a drug addict. Its hard to imagine being able to feel good without drugs, because your so used to paying so much money to make you think you feel good. Its hard to imagine that you could feel this good for free. Maybe thatís why all Christians are smiling, because it doesnít cost them anything but love. God loves us!

Did you ever do something that you werenít proud of? Do you have a guilty conscience from something you did months or years ago? Did you ever say something that you shouldnít have said? I did! I have! Iíve said! And God has forgiven me for all these things. God will forgive you for all the wrongs you have ever committed too. This makes being born again easy, because now you can go through life with a clear conscience. All you have to do is ask God to forgive you for all these things.

I realized that for the first time in my life, I can do anything I put my mind too. Iím 43 years old, but in spirit Iím a newborn. I used to think itís too late to learn new tricks, but I was wrong, ItĎs never too late to learn a new job or learn about God. When youíre born again by Christ you have to learn all over again how to live with love in your heart, but thatís the fun and easy part because it comes so natural. Yes it is fun to love thy neighbor and a stranger. I carry a set of jumper cables & tools in my car and in my truck so I can help other people in need. To say hi to people you donít know and be friendly and help others in need is pure joy.

Iíve gone to two retreats at the Murrieta Hot Springs and had a great time with great people. The fellowship was the best part. I didnít want to leave. I used to give dirty looks and dog everybody that I didnít know. Now I smile and say hi no matter who they are. I have finished my New Believers part one and part two classes and Iím in part three. I look forward to going to church three and four days a week. I love to worship the Lord, for he has given me back a life that I never knew existed. Iíve gone many years without feeling happy. Now I know what happiness is once again. I feel that the Holy Spirit dwells in me now.

I found that a good time to pray is walking and jogging. I was walking around Mile Square Park the other day and I had reached the third corner. I had gone about three miles. It was very hot and I was sweating profusely.  I was enjoying the view and fresh air and thought this would be a good time to thank God once again for what heís done for me, so I started praying. First I prayed for strength to make it back to the car.  I then prayed for everybody I could think of that needed prayer, and everybody I didnít know that needed prayer! I praised God for everything that heís done in my life! I praised him for the birds that I heard and the trees with the breeze that cooled me as I walked underneath them blocking the warm sun. When I said Amen, I realized that I had gone one mile and I didnít remember walking any of it. I had been in a trance with God and the best part was I felt blessed by him. I felt so good and energetic after that. I wasnít even sweating. I no longer go walking and pray anymore, I go praying and walk. When Iím done praying I find that not only am I better physically fit but mentally and spiritually as well.

I went to our monthly Baptism and when Pastor Tim was talking about God, I thought to myself, heís talking about my friend God. It was because of this special time that I found to spend with God praying, that I developed a close personal relationship with him. I no longer thought of Jesus as just a man the Bible was inspired by a couple thousand years ago. I think of him as the God that lives in my heart now. I spoke to him like he was my own conscience. I told him they love you as much as I do. I know that Iíll be going to heaven because of what Christ has done for me, not because of what Iíve done for Christ.

God gave me the ingredients for love of life, so that I might write this testimony and give hope to people that are just like I was, drug addicted and without hope. To let them know there is a real life waiting for them if they want it. To let them know that with God's help they can conquer the addiction of drugs. Iíve tried all the other ways to quit and was unable to stop for good. I have been told that if you quit doing drugs with God's help and you start using again, you will not enjoy them, they will not feel good to you again. This is the key to an everlasting sobriety.

Iím sure that once you see what God has in store for you, your are not going to want to do drugs ever again anyway. I lost 20 years of my life doing drugs that I canít account for. I have no good memories during this time and I lost just about everyone that meant anything to me.

I remember the feeling of never being able to get enough. The wanting and needing more and more all the time. I remember that every time I wanted to go somewhere I needed to get high before I left. Once I got high I would start doing four or five other things and forget all about the fact that I wanted to leave. While doing these other things I would come down from the high and remember that I was going to leave. Now I needed to get high for the road all over again. This cycle could go on for hours or days and I might never end up going anywhere.

Another sad situation is having young kids around when youíre shooting speed, free-basing cocaine or smoking Crystal Meth. You hide in the bathroom or bedroom and cook your dope. The kids are wanting in, telling you to open up the door, but you canít let them in because they will see. You keep telling them to wait, that you will be out in a minute. They keep pounding on the door crying and whining wanting in, but you just keep on cooking your dope, telling them youíll be out in a minute. Nothing seems more important than bringing back a big rock. Then when youíre done cooking, its time to start smoking so you take a couple of hits, open the door, then walk outside sweating and rushing in front of the kids. After a few minutes it's time to take another hit so you lock yourself back in the room and smoke some more rock. The kids start whining again wanting in and then its time to cook some more dope.

Some addicts donít care if their kids are watching or not. The guilt from a night of doing this around your kids out weighs the few minutes of pleasure that you might receive from the rush of the dope. So why do we do it? The next day you realize youíre broke, you spent $50 to $150 dollars on dope in one night and you donít have anything to show for it. Now the kids are hungry and you wish you had five bucks for food. Your wish comes true and somebody lets you borrow $20 dollars, probably your mother. Now you go buy $20 dollars worth of dope and sell one hit for $5 dollars. You then buy a pack of cigarettes and a few 39cent tacos for your kids. When I was a dealer I saw this happen way to many times and I was just as guilty because I was the one that took their money.

One of my favorite theories is, you donít get something for nothing. This also means that everything has its adverse affects. When you go out drinking and have a good time, the next day you will feel bad with a hangover and feel guilty because of the money you spent or even the way you acted. So for the three or four hours of good time, you will have four, five, or more hours of bad time. So all you have done is trade a good time for a bad time. Now on top of that add to the fact that you spent $20 to $40 dollars to make this trade. Was it worth it? I used to think so but now I know better.

Cocaine will make you feel good; thereís no denying that. The problem is coming down from the cocaine. Thatís when you feel like hell. Thatís got to be the worst feeling in the world. For the thirty minutes of feeling good, there is three or four hours of coming down (Jones-in) from the coke and thatís definitely a bummer.

Crystal Meth seems like an innocent drug at first. It makes you stay up around the clock day after day and then you pass out and I mean pass out. I pulled up to a red light one night and passed out. I let my foot off the brake and started creeping across the street. I drove right into a telephone pole on the other side of the intersection. I woke up, then backed up and drove off. When you pass out you could sleep from ten to twenty hours and when you wake up you canít get up without more speed. Your legs will feel like they're made of lead. If you have more dope you will be able get up. If you donít, too bad, because you will stay in bed until you can get some or three days go by in witch you can get enough sleep to return to almost normal. I say almost normal because it takes months or in some cases years to get over the craving for more, unless you can replace this void with something or someone better.

I donít know how believing in God can replace these cravingís for drugs. I donít know how God does anything that he does. What I do know is that he can and he does replace these cravings. I gave everything that I had to God to sort out, mainly all my troubles. I sold everything I could to pay back my bail and Iíve done everything that he wanted me to do to straighten up my life. In return I have received everything that Iíve wanted and everything that Iíve needed and happiness to boot. It hasnít even been two years since I gave my life to God and I now have everything that I ever wanted in my life.

The money Iíve saved from not doing drugs is a small fortune. It has enabled me to get back all the hobbies that I once had and the hobbies that I want to have. Now that I have quit drugs I also have the time to do these hobbies. I remember never having enough money, no-matter how much money I had, it wasnít enough. Drugs are expensive because your body just burns them up, there is nothing tangible there. The money spent on drugs disappears into thin air. There is only one thing left to do when the drugs are gone and thatís to feel like hell.

They say that once a drug addict always a drug addict and this may be true, except for the born again Christians that have repented. Christians are forgiven for all their sins and faults. God wipes the slate clean when you repent of your ways and turn over a new leaf. You are no longer an addict, just a Christian. All Christians have testimonies of some kind. They werenít born Christians, they had become Christians when their life was so messed up that only God could straighten them out.
 

I would also like to give a special thanks to the girl that ratted me off because I might not have seen the light of God for sometime to come if it hadnít been for her. If I hadnít been in jail on my back, I might never have been able to look upÖ      

All drugs have pros and cons, but the down side is always far greater than the up side, especially when done repetitively. Once you start becoming immune to the drug the up side becomes less and the down side becomes more. In no time at all you are doing the drugs to feel normal but the hangovers still exist. There is only one way to get high all day long every day and feel happy, healthy, and loved at the same time without guilt.  Jesus Christ can do this for you and it wonít cost you anything and you wonít have a hangover.

All you have to do is repent, which means do a 180% turn completely around, change everything in your life that has to do with drugs and go the other way, with Gods help it is easy. I know itís hard to understand the power of God, but if you believe in him, you will see changes in your life take place right before your eyes.

Every time I go to church I feel more power to strengthen my life in every aspect. I feel the need for more education so I can get a good job. I feel the need to get exercise so I can overcome all my aches and pains. When I leave church I feel the power to fight all the problems that I might have and I feel the strength to be the best that I can. I can renew myself and rebuild my self-confidence every time I go to church. 

Do you know the guilty feeling from not going to work or from a night of doing drugs or drinking? Well itís just the opposite feeling after going to church. Its like the feeling you get after going to work and putting in two hours of overtime; when you get home you're glad you made it to work and real glad you worked two hours over, because you probably needed the money. The time you have left in the day becomes precious; you enjoy it more because you now have less of it. By going to Church you have earned God's approval and that feeling is better than working overtime for a few bucks. 

Its not too late, donít give up on yourself. There was a time when I felt too old and too drugged out to return to life to catch up with everybody else that didnít spend their life getting high like I did. The only time you canít return to a productive life style is when youíre dead or spiritually dead. I now feel like I can make a difference. I feel like I can be as good as anybody in the world and only God could have let me feel this way. Only God could have forgiven me for screwing up my life the way I did. Only God could let me love mankind enough to help others in need without wanting something for it. Imagine if everybody helped just one person once every day. Just do some little thing for a stranger or a neighbor as a good deed for the day. What better way to start the day and make yourself feel better than by helping someone out! Then you feel good and they feel good and we all feel like spreading some love around.

I asked God to drive this car when I was in jail. I asked him to take control of my life and I would follow him and the path that he has laid out for me. Well, let me tell you that God is one heck of a driver. Because I donít have a problem in the world anymore that canít be handled with a prayer at the most. There will never be an end to the good works God has in store for me so there will never be an end to this testimony.

THANK YOU JESUS, FOR EVERYTHING, LOVE YOU & PRAISE YOU FOREVER & EVER! 


EDITOR'S NOTE: Thank you for reading Dean's story.  If you would like to contact him for any questions you may have or any prayer needs or just need some encouragement, we're sure he would be more than happy to help you as much as he can.  His personal email address is: DeanBales@aol.com 


Dear Reader - are you at peace with God?  If not, you can be.  Do you know what awaits you when you die?  You can have the assurance from the Holy Spirit that heaven will be your home, if you would like to be certain.  Either Jesus Christ died for yours sins, or He didn't (He did!).  Are you prepared to stand before God on the Judgment Day and tell Him that you didn't need the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross to cover your sins?  We plead with you ... please don't make such a tragic mistake.

To be at peace with God; to make certain heaven will be your home for eternity; to make certain that you are in right-standing with God right now ... please click here to help understand the importance of being reconciled to God.  What you do about being reconciled to God will determine where you will spend eternity, precious one.  Your decision to be reconciled to God is the most important decision you'll ever make in this life. 


If this testimony has touched you in some special way, would you please share it with us?  It is always a blessing to the ministry staff and to those who support this outreach to hear how God is touching lives through this ministry.   Please identify the title of the testimony, and the author's name, and Email us at: ptoffice@precious-testimonies.com

We want to thank each of you who allows us to publish your testimony, for those who faithfully pray for this ministry, for those who care about loved ones and forward these testimonies and other ministry writings to others, and for those who help under-gird this ministry financially.  You are so vital to this outreach, and we can never thank you enough.

Like most other evangelistic ministries, we rely on the Lord to place it on people's hearts to sow into this ministry He has called us to.  Would you please pray and see if the Lord would have you make a love offering to Precious Testimonies?  It doesn't have to be a large offering either.  No gift is too small, and every gift you give in helping us reach lost souls will be generously rewarded on the Judgment Day, the Bible promises.

To give as unto the Lord, you can simply click on the secure PayPal donate button below if you want to give by credit card.  Otherwise, you can send your precious gift to:   Precious Testimonies, P.O. Box 516, Jenison, MI 49429.

(Precious Testimonies is a non-denominational 501-C-3 ministry, and financial love offerings to this ministry are tax-deductible, if it matters to you. Inquiries are welcome about the use of offering funds.  We purpose to be a ministry of utmost integrity, being transparent and totally above board at all times with the precious love offerings God blesses this ministry with to operate on).

Inquiries or comments are welcome at our E-mail address: ptoffice@precious-testimonies.com

Thank You, and God bless you!


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