(The Jamaesha Gilbert Story)

Hi, my name is Jamaesha Gilbert. I am from Muskegon, MI and am married to a very wonderful husband. I have three beautiful children, ages 22, 18, and 14. I would like to tell you how God has delivered me and saved my life from a drug addiction of seven years.

As far as I can recall, at the age of 14, I became pregnant. I didn't know what I was going to do because I was only a child myself. I remember being afraid to tell my mom, so I didn't tell her. Somehow she found out and that's when the trouble began. I can remember her screaming and yelling at me and asking me, "Why did you do that?!" I can remember telling her, "If you would have been here for me, it would never have happened!" But at that time my mom was an alcoholic, and how could you talk to someone who was drunk constantly? She was a good mother and provider, as much as she knew to be, but she just wasn't there when her children needed her the most.

I can remember telling her that I was going to leave and go live with my grandmother who also lived in Muskegon. So that is what I did. I can recall my grandmother saying it was a mistake I had made and all I had to do was ask God to forgive me and He would. As time went on, I gave birth to this baby who was born on August 11, 1973, and it was a beautiful girl. But on October 23, 1973, my baby was called home to be with the Lord. At that time I didn't understand why the Lord had taken my baby. My Granny, who was a Christian lady, sat me down after it was all over and said everything happens for a reason and all of our days are numbered. As months went by, I prayed to God to help me get through this loss, and He did. He answered my prayers.

I started to go to church every Sunday, but if you knew Idella, who was my grandmother, it was a must that you get up and go to Sunday School and church. So as time went on, at the age of 18, I graduated from high school and met this young man whose name was Jerry, and who now is my husband. I started dating him - we went out and partied a lot. Jerry was raised up in a Christian family. His father is a minister, and he also had to go to church every Sunday. So, as time went on, Jerry and I partied together and then on Sundays I went to church, but by that time I had lost all interest in God. I believed in Him, but I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. What I mean by that is I wanted to party on Fridays and Saturdays and then get up and go to church on Sundays. But, I remember my grandmother saying, "You have to give him up (meaning the devil)", and I know and understand now that was God speaking through my grandmother to me.

As time went on, at the age of 26, I was introduced to cocaine. I had never tried it before and didn't know the extent of evil it could have on you and how it would control your life. I can remember being with people who I thought were my friends. The first time I snorted it, it was okay, and then the next time it was even better. But this was just a weekend thing - I only did it on the weekend, and by the next weekend these so-called "friends" said we were going to try something different. This time, instead of snorting it, I began to freebase it (which means to chemically treat the cocaine with ether and smoke it that way), and those weekends turned into an everyday habit for me.

By that time, I was really liking the way it made me feel, so I would try to get a little bit higher each time. I found myself spending $300 to $400 a day as time went on. Satan had taken over my life. I had stopped going to church, I didn't pray anymore, and when I did it was just for God to take care of me as I would go into these "crackhouses" wondering if I would come out alive or not. But, I know there was a God because He did take care of me all the time I was out there. As time went on, my family noticed the change in me and my husband knew something was wrong with me. I remember him saying, "You are on drugs - just look at you!" My weight had gone from 105 pounds to 96 pounds. I can remember telling him I was doing drugs, but I don't have a problem with it.

Little did I know, I was no longer in control, but the drugs were controlling me. And again, as time went on, I wasn't getting better - things were getting worse. I would get up in the morning, get my children off to school, and I would leave home to go and find those so-called "friends" and start getting high. This high would last until the next day. I wouldn't see my family for a whole day and all night. When I did see them, it was just to go home and get my children ready for school. I can remember my husband working the first shift of 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and he would wait up for me until the next day waiting to see if I was going to come home or not. I can also remember wondering, "Did he make it to work today?"

By the time August, 1990, had gotten here, I was tired of using drugs, misusing my family, and just looking at myself in the mirror and seeing how sick I had become. At least I thought I was sick, so I went to Child & Family Services for help. It is a program that teaches you how to stay free of drugs if you want to. It was a 20-day program and I went as an outpatient, meaning I went from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and I then attended a NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting from 1:00 to 2:00 PM. I also went to group sessions and talked in groups with people who also were trying to overcome their drug addictions. Plus, I also had a one-on-one counselor. The reason I wanted to go as an outpatient was because I needed a challenge. What I mean by that is, if a drug dealer would come up to me, I would be able to pray and ask God to help me say "NO".

As those 20 days went by, I graduated from Child & Family Services, but what I didn't keep in mind is that you must stay clean for yourself and not for anyone else. You must give up the old friends, and keep God first in your life. Those three things I didn't do - I did my own three things, which were: 1) I only stayed clean because my family wanted me to, 2) I didn't give up my "using friends", and 3) I didn't accept Christ back into my life. So I found myself out there using drugs all over again. This time my using lasted for seven months.

I remember on the morning of March 15, 1991, sitting up in my bed and crying out to the Lord, "God, please help me!!! I can't do this by my myself!" And I said to the Lord, "If you would just show me and help me stay clean, I will work for you and not for Satan." That day the Lord answered my prayer. I got up, got dressed, and went down to the Health Department and enrolled myself in a Substance Abuse Class. That Sunday, I went to church and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I asked my family to forgive me for how I had misused them when I was out there on the streets doing drugs because I was a sick person. Satan had my soul, but I said to them, "I know the Lord now, and that is all I need."

I have been clean ever since that morning of March 15, 1991 and it is only because of the grace of God upon my life. I now live to serve and please Him every day of my life because He is the one who has given me the strength to overcome and who has set me free from the hold Satan had on me. Praise you Jesus - to God be all the glory!

I mentioned earlier in my testimony about my mother being an alcoholic. I would like to share with you now that she too has been set free from alcohol and has accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior and is now living to please Him also for the rest of her life. Our relationship has been restored and we now can communicate with each other in a way that we never could before. We have one thing in common now, and that is Jesus Christ our Lord. Without Him, we are nothing!

Thank you for letting me share my testimony with you. I would like to say if you are someone who is caught up in the trap of using drugs like I was, there IS a way out for you. Jesus Christ is that way out - He paid a dear price by dying on the cross for all of our sins so that we could be free. All we have to do is come to Him with our whole heart and sincerely ask Him to forgive us. And then we need to ask Him to help us to give up this deadly sin of drugs that Satan has so cunningly led us to believe is "okay" because it makes us feel so good. If we don't humble ourselves and come to God and receive His help, before you know it we are trapped and held in bondage to the terrible addiction of drugs.

It may not be drugs you're addicted to - maybe it is alcohol, overeating, smoking, pornography, or whatever it is, it has control of you. You need to be set free just as much as I needed to be when I realized I was no longer in control of this so-called pleasure of drugs I indulged myself in. I praise God for the program that Child & Family Services provided, but I realize now that no secular or worldly program in the world was going to help me until I finally got my life right with the creator of this universe who is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only one who has the power to totally set us free from any addictions we may have, but we have a part in it too. We must come to Him and confess our sin and ask Him for His forgiveness and then daily trust Him and yield our whole life to Him. There is so much joy and freedom when you finally yield everything to Him. When you give everything up to Him and let Him be the Lord and Master of your life, He gives back so much more than you could ever think or dream of.

Since I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior back into my life, He has restored my family relationships with my husband, children, and mother. He just keeps blessing as I continue to give Him first place in my life and let Him show me each day how to love and serve Him. He will do that for you too - He is waiting for you to come to Him with a humble heart and ask Him to take control of your life. Will you do it? Only you can make that choice. I once asked Jesus, "How much do you love me?" He opened His arms out wide and said, "That is how much I love you!" He is waiting with open arms for you too - please go to Him, you won't be sorry that you did!

Thank you and God Bless you!
Jamaesha Gilbert

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