Slaying the dragon

I am now 50 yrs old; 10 yrs have passed since that incredible Easter day when I gave my life to Jesus, my life has been totally transformed. I work for the N.H.S and feel valued and respected by my colleagues and gain much satisfaction and fulfilment from the work I do. I am married and part of a local church, my health and my family have been restored to me and I have many true loving friends.

By the time I was 20yrs old I had begun to take opiates on a daily basis, 20 more years would slip by before I would be set free of this awful addiction. Being the product of a somewhat dysfunctional family I followed in the footsteps of my older brothers and left home at the tender age of 16yrs. I was ill-equipped to deal with the pressures of life and emotionally unstable, I desperately needed to feel accepted and to belong to a group that I could identify with. I believed my prayers had been answered when I joined the "hippy drug cult". At first this new life appeared very exciting I remember listening to the song "I'm beginning to see the light" by the Velvet Underground, I believed I had begun a journey that would in time lead me to eternal happiness and contentment. How wrong I was, the journey I had embarked on with such hope in my heart would instead lead to darkness, slavery and total hopelessness.

The first few years was fun but when I began experimenting with opiates the rose- tinted spectacles cracked and life presented itself to me as a terrifying black abyss. One night after using opiates for a number of consecutive days I experienced what I can only describe as a visitation. I became frightened and felt another presence in the room with me, fear gripped me and to my horror I saw a dragon above my bed. It was very real and powerful, a beast sent from the kingdom of darkness, it disappeared as quickly as it came but I knew I had invited it in through my continuous drug use, and I knew also that it now controlled me. I never saw it again until the day it left but I was always aware of its presence and of the terrible control it had over my life.

Over the coming years I was to try everything available to me to combat my drug addiction, counselling, psychotherapy, 12 step programmes, treatment centres, long term rehabilitation in drug treatment centres and de-toxing in mental health hospitals all did their bit to keep me alive but none of these interventions and therapies caused that beast that had taken up residence within to bat an eye. It knew along with me that something more powerful had to come into my life if I was to be set free, but what could that be?

Aged 40 I'd run out of ideas and felt desperate. It was then, surprisingly enough, that I met a group of Christians who instilled a fresh hope in me. I remember very clearly telling a friend and fellow-addict that if I had to become a Christian to beat my addiction then I was prepared to do just that. I believe God heard me very clearly that day for it was not long afterwards that I was to meet His son Jesus Christ in a most amazing way. I was literally knocked off my feet. I gave permission for a Christian man to pray for me, the prayer that he prayed over me was simple yet the power it unleashed into my life was incredible. The prayer went something like this; "by the power of Jesus Christ invested in me I command the spirit of addiction to leave this man now". The very ground I stood on appeared to shake and I was thrown to the ground, and there I gave my life to Jesus. The dragon left, I saw it go, its power and might were gone, it was totally defeated and deflated, it whimpered off with out looking back never to return again, Praise God!

If you find yourself today at the bottom of some deep black pit alone and afraid then be encouraged by this story and believe me when I say to you, there is a way out, there is hope, hope in Jesus Christ. If you ask He will come and He will set you free. His light shines forth into the darkest of places.

Anon, 21/07/2007