Confessions of an Ex-Drug Addict
by Ching Hsuan Yang
From my earliest memories, my father has loved me very much. Having two sons and only one daughter, he used to tell me I was his treasure. However, no matter how hard I tried, I could never win my mother’s affection. Scars from her childhood made her dislike girls, and those scars affected me. As I grew up, I was often envious of my brothers and wondered, “Why don’t you love me, Mother?”
During my teenage years, my mother and I fought continuously. We screamed and raged at each other and actually hated each other. I did a lot of terrible things, hoping to hurt her deeply, and in the process, I hurt myself just as deeply. I began smoking and doing drugs at age 15 and later moved on to taking sleeping pills and drinking heavily. I disliked being at home and often ran away for long periods of time.
By the time I was 22, my life was truly in torment. I had no control over the drugs—they controlled me. My mind had become unstable, and I often shouted madly and uncontrollably. Sometimes my friends would take me to their homes for rehabilitation, and when I returned home, my father would tie my hands and feet together and lock me in a bedroom. My parents thought that surely I had a demon inside me.
In hopes of ridding myself of my horrible addiction, I decided to get married. I thought perhaps having a husband and children would compel me to quit drugs and get control of my life. But sadly, this only made matters worse. I was on drugs when I conceived my daughter and brought her into the world. After only one year of marriage, I was divorced, and my daughter went to live with my parents.
My parents begged me to get off drugs, but it was impossible for me to do by myself. My father brought me to a Christian organization that had a reputation of helping people abstain from drugs. At this organization I heard the gospel—the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, but it was hard for me to accept this new teaching. My family was Buddhist. My parents had been Buddhists for 40 years and even led a Buddhist group with 200 members.
The process of withdrawing from drugs is a horrible experience. I would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming. After three days at the Christian organization, I was determined to escape. My plan was to make trouble—to force them to kick me out. Once I took the Bible the pastor’s wife had given me, tore it to shreds, and threw it at her. Another time, I knelt on the ground and banged my head on the iron doors, begging them to let me go. I wanted them to think I was totally insane. Finally, after trying to escape three times, I succeeded. Immediately I began using drugs again, but this time my family completely abandoned me. To my shock and horror, my father actually said, “Why don’t you go and die!” My father had always loved me very much, and when he said these words to me, I knew that I had hurt him very deeply. My mother also refused to let me come home or even see my own daughter.
By this time, taking drugs was not a happy thing at all for me. In fact, it was torturous and extremely painful. As I took the drugs, tears streamed down my face, and I would weep bitterly. I hated myself and hated that I had hurt my father and daughter—all for drugs. I wanted to give my daughter all the love that I had been denied growing up with my mother. I wanted to give her a happy life, but what did I end up giving her? She had no father to care for her, and her mother had forsaken her for drugs. I hated the drugs, but I could not get off them. Living like a normal person was beyond my wildest dreams. I saw no hope and no means of redemption. In utter despair, I began to take more drugs, wanting to overdose and end my life of misery.
In the midst of this darkness, my thoughts turned to God. I remembered the night at the Christian organization when the pastor’s wife had prayed over me as I cried out in pain. So I prayed and said, “If you are God like they told me, save me, save me!” To my surprise, God spoke to me in my heart, “Child, come to me, come to me, you will get rest.” In that moment, I desired to go to God. I knew God was a safe place where I could get rest.
Later I found another Christian organization that helps recovering drug addicts—Operation Dawn, and I knew God was there. I felt as if I was a wanderer that had returned home—to the embrace of my heavenly Father. After only two weeks at Operation Dawn, I was able to focus, and I began to read the Bible for long periods of time every day. God began to work in my life, giving me new life, and changing me each day. One day, God showed me that I had hurt my mother very deeply. Before this time, I thought only of how she had hurt me. But I realized that she had endured much pain on account of me. I cried that day and wrote my mother a letter telling her that I was sorry for hurting her and asked for her forgiveness.
When my parents came to visit me at Operation Dawn, they were very surprised at the person they found. They could see that I was changed. After their visit, I began calling my mother several times a week, telling her that I loved her, and telling her about the gospel of Christ. I wanted her to know how wonderful God is. He had helped me get off drugs and had changed my life from hate to love.
After I had lived at Operation Dawn for two months, my father told my mother that he believed it was Christ who had saved their daughter, and he thought my family should give their lives to Him. My mother struggled with this because our family had been Buddhist for 40 years. She was afraid if I turned to drugs once again, everyone would laugh at them and their decision. Then one day she opened the Bible and read the very first verse, Genesis 1:1. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” After reading Confessions of an Ex-Drug Addict this, she opened her heart to believe in the God of the Bible because since she was young, she had been seeking to know the Creator God. She knew then that she had found Him. My mother was baptized in January, 2002, and my father was baptized in October, 2003.
After I had been at Operation Dawn for 10 months, I read Luke 22:32 where Jesus told Peter, “When you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” From this verse, I understood that God wanted me to strengthen my sisters—girls like me who needed to get off drugs and straighten out their lives. So I began studying in Operation Dawn’s Bible Study School, and after two and a half years, I went to Singapore to study English. From there, I moved to the U.S., and in August, 2004, I completed a degree at Christian Witness Theological Seminary in California. Today I continue to walk in God’s way—a witness to His amazing grace!