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Austin and Family

In May of 2010 my life was completely unmanageable.  I was on the verge of losing my job, my home, my freedom, and soon my life.  My life was consumed with alcohol. 

Like most guys in their mid-twenties I started drinking socially, on weekends and with friends, but soon I was drinking all the time.  If I wasn’t working, I was drinking.  From the time I woke up, until the time I passed out, I was on a constant bender of whiskey, weed, and cigarettes.   I would get the shakes when I wouldn’t or couldn’t drink, and even if I wanted to quit (which eventually I did) I couldn’t because by the second day I would be too sick and depressed to continue trying.

One day in June, I was completely overcome with grief, anguish and feeling like I had thrown my life away.  I couldn’t continue living like this.  My mom, seeing my desperation and need for drastic change, told me that I needed to go to a place called “Teen Challenge”.  She told me that it was a year-long commitment, to which I replied “Yeah Right!” But she convinced me that God was the only one that could change my life once-and-for-all, and that Teen Challenge was one of the ways He changed lives.

That same day, I got in the car and we drove to the Willamette Valley Men’s Center.  The first person I met was Kyle Randleman, and he told me that everything would be alright, and got me checked in.  The next year was one of the best of my life.  I came to know Christ in a way that I had never known Him.  Having grown up in the Church, I thought that I knew God… but not like this.  I learned to experience God, to trust in Him, to seek Him first in every waking moment of each day, and in my moments of greatest need.  Every day is a challenge in the program, but for a reason.  God has to break us down and build us back up, and when He does, He makes us into a new creation.  One that cannot be broken by this world and one that can stand up against the best that the enemy can throw at us.  Above all else I learned in Teen Challenge, I learned that God is a God who forgives.  He gives us new life and new chances every day.  Each day, and every moment is precious.  I never want to spend another minute fading my life into a blur of wasted moments.

Since graduating Teen Challenge in July of 2011, I have almost four years clean and sober.  God has blessed me with a loving, Godly, and beautiful wife, and a beautiful baby boy named Benjamin.  We are successfully building towards a stable and secure future for our family. We have love for one another that is only possible because of God’s love for us.  We forgive one another because God first forgave us.  We have faith because we know from where we have come, and because we know where we are going.  God has a plan and a future for me and for my family.  I have never been more certain of anything in my life. 

Teen Challenge isn’t about giving a year of your life away.  It’s about giving the first year of your NEW LIFE to God.  God loves us desperately and longs to have us near.  Teen Challenge gives both us and God the chance we need to come back into the union in which man is meant to reside.  I beg anyone who wants to be free from addiction, and know the God that loves them to come to Teen Challenge.  Let the chains fall off, and let the healing begin!