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No More Drugs, Just Jesus

by Melissa Cechota

I turned to drugs, not because of peer pressure or a bad family life, but just to make me laugh. But my laughter didnít last long.

When I was 15, I began using drugs. I’d already begun drinking alcohol years before, but eventually I became interested in experimenting with drugs.

Contrary to what a lot of teens experience or what the general public may believe, peer pressure didn’t factor into my decision to take drugs. Nor did I come from a broken home, or have abusive parents.

My family loved me very much and looked after me with care. I considered my mother one of my best friends, and she had no effect on my choosing to do drugs. Curiosity just grabbed me. Drugs seemed to make people excited so that they laughed a lot. I’d decided laughing couldn’t hurt.

After my first experience with marijuana, I continued smoking on a regular basis. Then, after broadening my mental horizons with LSD and hallucinogenic mushrooms, I continued seeking them regularly as well. My friends and I took several other drugs, too, along with alcohol, and that’s when the party began for us.

Eventually it got the point that if we weren’t high on something, we were bored. Sometimes we’d even get angry or upset if what we “ordered” didn’t come through. We had such high expectations of what the drugs would do for us.

Just a year after trying marijuana, LSD, and mushrooms, my friends and I started taking Ecstasy. This drug became a very close friend of mine. I loved the  exaggerated feeling of touch and the sense of well-being it provided. It offered us high energy, too, great for dancing at the after- hours club.

Surrounded but alone

Throughout the years I not only became acquainted with different drugs, I also became good friends with a lot of people. In the beginning I really enjoyed the company of the large group of which I was a “member.” I felt that bonds formed between us through our crazy experiences, and that these friendships were authentic.

But as the years went by, I realized they weren’t true friends. I watched as they turned on each other, even on me. I believe the drugs changed these people, and it hurt me to see their hearts become cold toward real feelings. It was as if the effects of drugs washed away their true emotions, and laughter was not possible without being high.

I maintained an honest heart. I always strived to be a great friend and to help others with their problems. I noticed that whenever someone needed to talk, and I genuinely cared. Unfortunately, I began feeling like my “friends” only considered me someone else to party with, yet I continued hanging out with them.

A year after I graduated high school, I moved out with my best friend of five years. Excited to be out on our own, to us this meant we had more freedom to do more drugs.

But then I felt something heavy weighing on my heart. I noticed a change in myself. I experienced depression, boredom, unhappiness, and desperation for real friendship. My best friend and I even began  drifting apart.

Plenty of nights I went to parties or clubs completely sober and just observed the scene. I found the party goers to be insecure, unhappy, and searching for something to fill their hearts’ void like I was. Doubt marred their expressions, body language, and speech.

Through my infant-belief in God, I finally saw Satan casually working his way through the crowd in the form of pills, alcohol, and pot. He disguised himself as a good time. But he was really leading people down a horribly destructive path.

I remember asking people at parties what they knew about God. I’d been searching for awhile, and the day came when He finally found me.

Only two months after moving out of my parent’s house, I decided to attend a three-day outdoor music festival with my best friend and my boyfriend. Our plans included meeting up with other friends and getting as high as we could. Potential freedom abounded in this trip, because we had no adult supervision or a curfew to meet. I could be as wild as I wanted.

Shortly after popping a pill that I thought was Ecstasy, I found out I’d been given a mystery pill, not Ecstasy. I dropped into such a great and quiet despair. The music blared, and the lights of flashing colors danced on the people and the make-shift walls around me. But I just sat Indian-style on the concrete floor as I contemplated life.

I just swallowed a pill that contains who knows what, I thought. I’m far from home. If something happens to me, my parents will have no idea where I am. Aren’t my body and mind meant for more than this? What am I doing with this life I’ve been given? Why is it that my best friend is sitting beside me, yet she feels so far away? Why aren’t we dancing, laughing, or smiling? How did we get to this point? Is she wondering the same things? The letter she recently left on my nightstand seemed to be a cry for help. What am I supposed to do? How do I get away from feeling so utterly sad?

I eventually danced that night, but not to the pounding and loud synthesized techno. I danced to a new beat in my heart—Jesus became my personal Savior. I honestly don’t think I had ever even contemplated Jesus before then.

I prayed that night in my mind, amidst the thumping music, that He would come into my life, save me from unrighteousness, and restore my childlike innocence so that I could learn to laugh again without drugs. I told Jesus that I wanted to be high on life.

My transition into Christianity wasn’t an overnight experience. In fact, I’ve fallen along the way several times—even back into a lifestyle that involved alcohol and marijuana. God graciously reminded me this is not the way I want to live, and I re- committed myself to Him.

I’m 29 now, and even though the winding staircase still exists in my mind, and the dark basement of my shameful wrongdoings is still a part of my memory, I have no regrets. It’s the things in that basement that keep me upstairs in the light, clinging to Jesus each and every day. And even though I lost my best friend to a lifestyle of drugs when I became a Christian, I gained the truest of friends, and He will never turn His back on me.

Melissa Cechota is a returning college student, a full-time journalism major at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. She anticipates graduating in May 2009. She says, “I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next!”



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