From Crack Cocaine to Bodybuilder

Introducing our guest who grew up in Pensacola, Florida. He is a graduate of Woodham High School, class of ’80. He played football at Hampton University in Virginia. He served four years in the US Air Force. Despite every obstacle that came his way, he continued to be a true son, brother, father, and friend. He’s been married for 17 years to his lovely wife, Melissa. They have five beautiful children, four girls, one boy. He’s described as being a great human being and a breath of fresh air. Our guest enjoys bodybuilding, and also, he is associated with the Supernatural Bodybuilding, which is a Christian-based organization. And he has participated in several competitions with OCB Professional Bodybuilding Organizations. Please, welcome Carlton Andy Shoemoe.

What Did The Path of Destruction Look Like, and How Did it Make You Feel?

I’ll tell you what, when you are on that path, you see nothing, but it’s dark. You see no light. I mean, sometimes you see a glimmer, but you’re like, either I’m going to beat this or I’m going to die. Then, it was an option. You’re gone. You can go or take yourself out, but it was ugly. You had to face it; you’re full of shame. That was the ugliest time. It was very dark. That’s the best way I could describe it. One thing I could say about crack cocaine, it takes you to a bottom real quick. It doesn’t take years and years. It’ll take you there in months. It took me to the bottom quickly.

The Effects of His Drug Addiction, On His Marriage and His Relationship With Your Daughter?

It put a strain on my marriage, but now and then, my wife would try to use it with me, and we would neglect our daughter. We would leave her to stay with your grandmamma and, we’d get loaded. I’m just going to be straight with you. Eva, my child, sometimes, she went with me to pick up drugs. Fortunately, she’s a forgiving child too. It caused us to separate three or four times. I would be moving to get high without her, and I didn’t have any responsibility.

She was born into my drug addiction. Oh. I went intense with it went deep with it when she was about two. that went on for the next

]our years. She remembers it too. She does not remember watching me get loaded, but she can remember daddy acting funny. She would always ask me. “What’s wrong, daddy?”. This shows that even though we think our children may be too young to comprehend what we’re doing, they may not comprehend, but they know that something is going on.

Working During Addition

I was a functional junkie. I mean, I had my days where I took off or tried to blame it on something else. I worked, and people knew something was going on, and they would tell me, this is not you, man. What’s going on? And even at the time, my dad was still working out there too, at the meet. He’d get funny looks, like something going on with your son, you know?

I still have this job today. I would say I was one of the blessed people who could continue with their current employer and still be employed throughout my drug use and addiction. Because that is one thing a lot of people do is they really, they mess up at work and end up getting fired because they do exactly what you just described. They call in for work. They’re missing work a lot. It ends up for many people being the end of the road for them at their place of employment. They were accepting of people coming forward and say, look, I got a drug problem or look, I got an alcohol problem. And they bent as much as they could to help me out. They put me through rehab twice. Not once, but twice because I went to them and said, Hey, I got a problem. The second time’s the charm.

Was The Drug Addition Because of Your Environment or Just Your Own Doing?

My parents did not do drugs. They were the type, maybe have a glass of wine here and there or a beer, you know? And that’s all that was accepted. That’s as far as you were going to go to their house. At first, I tried to blame them, where you didn’t come to my graduation. So no, that didn’t work. You can blame them for everything, but we grew up in a middle-class neighborhood, as you said. The majority of people that were raising kids there were military retirees. Did you remember that? And so those are the men that came to make a living for their families, hardworking men. So I can never blame my upbringing at all. To this day, they still are beautiful people. Very wonderful.

Relationship With Parents During Drug Addiction

You know how they always say, you think they don’t know, but they knew. My dad broke me down one day. He said, promise me one thing. I said, what? He said stop getting loaded. I knew me, and I was struggling. He took me to rehab the first time. He said I’m going to take you. It was heartbreaking, watching him walk away. But he had his days, because of people saying, your son, I think he out here getting high. But they stuck with me. They prayed, even when I got clean, I went, I would stay with them sometime. I wake up in the morning and get ready to go to work. I see my daddy down on his knees. I knew I was in their prayers. I knew I was probably the head of the prayer. But through prayer and patience, and he tells me today, yeah, I’m very proud of you, son. They have been very instrumental in my recovery.

I encourage family members to not give up on your loved one who is addicted to drugs. Continue to pray for them; continue to support them because they need that support. I think that makes a lot of difference in your recovery. That instead of talking about you or throwing you to the side and just saying or giving up hope that you would ever overcome this, they must continue to pray for you and support the person who is struggling with drug abuse and addiction.

How The Addition Started

I was 13 and wanted to be accepted in a crowd. I was hanging around people with light skin. It’s just crazy. I’m just going to be straight with you. We were considered unacceptable looking, so I thought, okay, well, if I can’t hang with you, good looking folks. I can hang with the guys that’s smoking pot, and I was accepted in that crowd. So, that’s the crowd I stuck around.

Reach Out To Us

Here at Burning Love Ministry, we support you, and we encourage you today to please reach out to us.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook; we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms, and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to do so, for us, o we can continue to put this word out and continue to help those addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

Interview With TLC Church- Everyone Is Welcome

At Burning Love, we focus on individuals who are suffering from drug abuse and addiction. It does not matter what walk of life you are coming from; you will be welcomed at TLC. Some people, they would not necessarily admit it. But if they are looking for someone somewhere to go and worship, why would they want to come to TLC?

Why Come To TLC Church?

TLC is home, and we try to make it feel like home. We try to make it feel like family. One of our slogans is welcome home. It honestly, from the minute you walk in, if you are new to the church, you will not get ignored or forgotten or pushed aside. Several people will greet you. People love to meet and talk and engage, and pre-COVID, you would have got a hug because everybody loves to hug. Everyone is treated like family; it does not matter your ethnicity, your background. I am very much a visible minority at our church, and I love it. It’s fun, and it’s where we belong. It is where everybody belongs, and everybody fits in, and everybody is included and feels like they belong and are involved.

Are The Doors Open To Anyone?

Absolutely, and that is what our rules are. one of our goals is to reach the community; you have to be willing to engage and accept the community. Not everybody will be somebody who grew up in the church, or they could have been in the church and fell away from the church or had different life decisions that came about. We love you, and we accept you. We want you to hear the Lord’s word and want you to feel love and see what the church supports to feel like. You might’ve had a bad experience in the past, but we want to change that experience for you.

Well, a lot of people who suffer from drug abuse and addiction, they are looking for something. Usually, what that something is, is they are looking for love. And that is one of the things that is so prevalent at the TLC church. 

Why Does Love Exude From Everyone At TLC?

We had set the foundation for love and acceptance and understood that we are all equal when we come to the Lord. There is no difference. There is no hierarchy with the Lord. It does not matter what our past may look like. It does not matter what our struggles may look like. We all struggle, and we all fall. You know some of us to get up faster than others. Some of us need help to get up, but regardless, we have all struggled and all fallen and made that clear to the congregation, making that clear to the people we have to forgive. We have to love, and we have to move on. There is no benefit in looking back and harboring onto hard feelings or living with guilt. We have to lay that all aside and love and foremost, Jesus tells people or tells us that people know us by our love. If we can not love one another within the church, how do we take that outside of the church? This is why we practice and get a lot of practice within our church walls, learning to love one another, despite our differences, putting that all aside, and recognizing that the blood of Jesus unifies us, the cross is a unifier.

One of the things that we try and do is to set an example with that. For instance, in the mornings on Sunday, we get busy doing different things. Before we start service, we need to gather together to pray for the pastors, get out, greet everybody, and say good morning to everybody before service. We are very deliberate in doing that because we want people to know that we appreciate the effort they made in being there and their commitment to being there and that they are not forgotten and that it is recognized. Then at the end of service, we would say good day to them and wish them a happy week, letting them know we will be praying for them. We are very deliberate in making them feel welcomed and loved and missed if they have missed time. 

It does not matter what you are struggling with if you are struggling. It does not have to be drugs. It does not have to be an addiction to drugs. Whatever your issue is, do not wait until you are clean up. Our doors open at TLC for you. 

TLC’s Mission And Your Vision

Our mission is to be a community of believers devoted to God’s word, empowered by the Holy Spirit because we can not do anything without the Holy spirit’s power. There is a lot of that word love again, and to build up one another, encourage one another, reach people with Peter’s gospel, which is why that is our mission. That mission does not change. It does not change the fact that it is the word of God that we preach. It does not change the fact that it is the Holy Spirit who empowers us, and without him, we can not do anything. It does not change. It will never change that we are called to love one another and build each other up and encourage one another. And then to take that into the world and share that gospel, share that love with other people.

The mission of the church remains the same throughout the year. The vision, however, will change as we meet the goals of our vision. We have three keywords, and we go over them over and over again, it’s gather, grow, go. This means that We gathered together to worship Jesus as our Lord and savior. That’s the foundation of everything that we do. We are motivated to grow in faith and grow each other and grow together both spiritually and physically and numerically. That is what we are supposed to do. Then we are equipped to go into the community and the world to share God’s word that has been implanted and instilled in us and to be able to share our faith and be able to share and live and be able to live and be an example of it.

It’s TLC sounds like a loving welcoming community that you would like to be a part of and learn more about continue listening to the interview by watching the video above. Also check out their website to learn more information and get in contact with TLC.

Reach Out To Us

Here at Burning Love Ministry, we support you, and we encourage you today to please reach out to us.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook; we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms, and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to do so, so we can continue to put this word out and continue to help those addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

Interview With Apostle Sylvia Shipman

She is a minister, she’s an intercessor, a counsellor, and holds an honorary doctoral degree in theology. She’s a mighty vessel of God, and she operates under the healing and prophetic anointing. A life coach, a recovery coach. She is also the founder of I Am That I Am seminars, Destiny Consulting, and Jubilee Community Development Corporation. She’s a wife, and she has been married to Calvin for 21 years. They have two sons, Jeremiah and Timothy. They reside in the beautiful Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area of Virginia. Meet Apostle Sylvia Shipman.

What Are The First Steps Of Recovery?

Just in my training and working with individuals, the first thing individuals must do is admit that there is a problem. You and I may see the problem. Everyone around them may know the problem. But they must recognize that it is a problem. Therefore, the process begins when they say, “Hey, I have a problem with substance abuse. I have a problem with street drugs,” or whatever their addiction may be. Here the platform is substance abuse, drug usage abuse. Therefore, the individual must admit that I have a problem.

That is the first step. Once they realize that it is a problem, then the healing begins, the work starts. That individual usually is open for change at that point because some of us have experienced that. Without loved ones or whoever we keep talking to and talking to them and talking with them, it’s like, “I don’t have no problem. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” When they get to that place that they recognize it’s a problem, the process began at that point. The first step is acknowledging that you have a problem. Not us saying you have a problem but must admit that they have a problem and then move from there.

What Is The Difference Between Drug Abuse And Drug Addiction?

Now you know that it’s a little slight differentiation there. Drug abuse is a habitual taking of addiction to illegal drugs. Drug abuse can be compulsive, excessive, and self-damaging the use of habit-forming drugs or substances. Addiction, that’s one lead into the other. The addition is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. When a person takes a drug and abuse that drug, it could easily slide into addiction.

When we see people abusing drugs, we automatically say they are addicted to drugs. But the abuse would turn into an addiction. Still, when we see it in our natural eyes and the person just taking drugs, taking drugs, and taking drugs, just because they feel like they need the drugs, it can become addicted to the medication.

Advice To Young People Who Are Being Offered Drugs For The First Time

That’s a good question because we’re dealing with marijuana being legalized, and now people feel like, “Hey, it’s just marijuana.” But we know that when you start creating an addiction, it opens the doors for many. Some parents will say, “Well, I tried marijuana. It’s okay. I’m fine,” and they will not correct that child to say, this is not the path that I want for you. We always say to the child, “Just say no,” but that’s hard to say no. I still like to give the child a sample like this, okay, what is it profiting you to use marijuana? They don’t know how to answer when I say, “Okay if you continue to use marijuana, how is it profiting you?” Then they still are like, “I don’t know,” because they are doing it because their peers are doing it. Everybody’s doing it. Remember, we got so many things feeding our eye gates, our ear gate, and formulating our decision.

The children nowadays, and of course we can say back in our day, we had these same temptations, but it’s, on the whole, another level now where these things are everywhere, on television and everything. I mean, they’re turning the marijuana and put it in these pretty long like cigars. You think they are smoking the cigar, and they are passing around marijuana. All these things are formulating our children’s thinking, and they make them believe that it’s cool, and it’s okay. We have to be the voice in our children here.

When they lay down, I always tell my boys that I want you to hear my voice in your ear. “mom does not like this. Mom has a problem with this”. Somebody’s going to be in their ear. I will advise the parents; you be the voice in your children’s ear.

Want to learn more advice about how to keep your kids away from drugs?

Hear the rest of apostle Sylvias interview by watching the video above.

Reach Out To Us

Here at Burning Love Ministry, we support you, and we encourage you today to please reach out to us.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook; we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms, and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to do so, so we can continue to put this word out and continue to help those addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

Interview With Ashley Palmer – The Queen of Relapse

Let’s welcome Ashley Palmer; she has been through it all and calls herself the queen of relapse. Can you relate to this title? Let’s see what advice and tips and knowledge she can give us.

The Beginning of Her Despair

You know what? We know that you endured a lot of blows in life. As I said, you were in the boxing ring of life. If you were to compare where you are today to where you were a few years ago, one would say you have experienced a transformation in your life. I was hoping you could share with us where you were when you were at the lowest of the low in your life when dealing with alcohol and cocaine.

When I think about Ashley three to five years ago, the first thing that I think about is just so much self-hatred. So much self-hatred. I hated myself, and I was so insecure that being in my own mind, in my own skin, was awful. I think that’s why I turned to drugs and alcohol so much because it was a way for me to get out of my own mind and numb out. When I was partying, I seemed to think I was funnier, prettier, cooler, and more connected with people. I don’t have a really low bottom, but I do have many bottoms. With some of those bottoms, I was just miserable.

I would call my family three to four times a week, crying, making up some nonsense about something silly. I would make mountains out of molehills, and I would take these things that were just little things in life. But because I was so emotionally unstable and I felt so broken. These little things would bother me so much, and I’d call my family all the time, just needy and unstable and emotional. I didn’t know how to deal with my emotions. I just freaked out all the time about everything. That’s why Monday to Friday, it would be white knuckle, get through the workweek. Then the weekend would come, and I would always end up partying. It turned near the end when I was at my lowest was it was no longer just a Friday night going out for some drinks, maybe dabbling in some drugs. I couldn’t drink. I couldn’t have one drink without seeing your dealer’s name at the bottom of your cup, automatically start craving drugs. Then that turned into a whole another story.

Then all of a sudden, it was like I started Friday night, and on Sunday afternoon, somehow, I had still been high and drunk, and I was supposed to go to work the next day. I was missing work on Mondays, trying to be sick. You can only be ill so many Mondays without people wondering. Right? I was lonely. I didn’t have any real connection with anyone. I didn’t have any real friends. I had fair-weather friends that wanted to party. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of connection with real friends. That’s because I chose to hang out with the wrong people. It got to the point where I couldn’t live my own life anymore because being in my head was more of an emotional rock bottom where I just hated my life and the way I was living.

How It All Began

I want to go back to maybe when you were in high school. What were those times like for you in high school and college as far as the drugs and alcohol were concerned?

I was a party girl. That’s when I started. I started drinking and partying in high school. I had gone into high school very insecure, but I ended up twitching as a kid. In hindsight, it’s been brought up in therapy that it might have been trauma because of my mom passing. So kids would make fun of me. I couldn’t control my own body. I would do embarrassing twitches, like stop and touch the ground or gulp in my throat or something. I was already insecure. I go into high school, and high school is hard enough to feel like you’re fading in.

I went through all the different groups in high school: the jocks, the bellies, the ravers, the nerds. I went through all the groups searching and just partying with all these different people. It just steadily got worse. It started with getting high on weed. Then it was like partying every weekend but with booze. I had a group of friends like, “Hey, you’re going to throw up at this party? Do this line of cocaine because it’s going to sober you up so you can keep drinking, and you’re not going to be sick.” Then that changed the whole game from that point on. I was about 16 at this point. I didn’t even want the liquor. I didn’t want the weed. I wanted to start drinking to go and find cocaine after.

How Weed Can Lead You Down The Wrong Path

I find that most people, when they graduate to more inducive drugs, that they started out by smoking weed. It’s usually around junior high or high school. Once you start smoking weed, you can start with the cocaine, the heroin, whatever the other drugs are of choice. It sounds like you were Known as the party girl in high school.

Yeah, I started with the weed, but I wouldn’t say I liked weed. And apparently, I wouldn’t say I like downers either. I never liked weed. It made me paranoid. I liked the beginning of drinking, but then I didn’t like the feeling because it’s a downer. It turns out I’m an upper person, as we can tell because I love caffeine, and I liked cocaine. It’s funny. I was smoking weed just because I didn’t want to be in my own skin and being high, even though I was uncomfortable, it was better than being sober.

What The Missing Piece Was, That Could Not Be Filled

Why do you think you were smoking the weed during cocaine and drinking? Were you looking for love in maybe all the wrong places or something? Was something missing out of your life that made you turn to those things?

100%. I mean, looking back now, I can easily say what I was missing was God. I always say that everyone has a God-shaped hole in their heart. When I found God, that was filled. But back then, I didn’t have God. Every one of us craves connection. I searched and grasped because of my insecurity and wanted to connect with people and feel like I belonged somewhere. I still am friends with some of the people from my past, but my picker was off. I would pick people to hang out with that I shouldn’t have hung out with. I was searching for something, and I didn’t know it then. But now, I can see I needed God.

Do you relate to Ashley at all? Finish Ashley’s story by watching the video above and find out how she overcame her constant relapses and trauma.

Reach Out To Us

Here at Burning Love Ministry, we support you, and we encourage you today to please reach out to us.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to do that so we can continue to put this word out and can continue to help those who are addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

Making the Right Choices

Every day we are faced with a series of choices and the best choices.

We can choose to make the right or wrong choice.

How do we be sure to make the right choices that don’t cause us to slip up?

How to Make the Right Choices

If you happen to run into an old friend who used to use drugs with you and they invited you to stop by their place,

you have a choice to make.

You can choose to either go and risk your recovery

or you can choose to say no and stay on the path to the goals that you have created for your recovery.

With addiction,

you have many choices to make,

and you will choose to avoid people, places, and things that are at risk for you,

or you will choose to risk it all and have a possible relapse.

We don’t want you to have a relapse.

What we try to encourage you to do at Burning Love Outreach is to have dignity,

be serious about your recovery,

show self-control

so that you can make the right choices and the best choices for you.

Sometimes you may decide to enter into a rehab program.

You may decide to join a support group.

You may choose to get a sponsor.

Those are very good choices for you,

and we know that sometimes you’re dealing with good and bad,

and the temptation is out there.

But we are trying to encourage you to make the right choice because the right choice is going to prepare you for the rest of your life.

What my suggestion is,

if you’re caught in the middle of temptation,

to just stop,

take a deep breath,

count to 10, and

just ask yourself some questions,

Will this choice that I’m about to make, risk my recovery?

Could I possibly end up in jail?

Could it hurt someone that I love and care about?

All of those things are very important when you are in a predicament where you have to make a choice,

and we hope that you will always choose to make the right choice.

If You Fall, Get Back Up

We want you to be okay with the choices that you make

sometimes when you don’t make the right choice,

you will start beating yourself up because you made the wrong choice.

Even if you relapse,

I want you to make a choice,

encourage you today to make a choice to get up,

brush yourself off

say, “Okay. I’m getting back on the right track again, I’m going to put my best foot forward and continue with my recovery.”

We are here for you at Burning Love Outreach also to help to point you in the right direction,

to help to encourage you to consider the choices that you make so that you can do the right thing.

You may even want to enroll in school again. You may want to get a job.

Things like that that will help you to be able to be a productive person in society again,

You can be proud of yourself.

Your loved ones will be proud of you,

You’ll be conscious of the things that you’re doing so that you can stay on the right track.

Your Past Does Not Define Who You Are

Remember, the past is the past.

The past does not define you.

Your future is right ahead of you.

If you now, right now decide to make the right choices,

your future can be brighter, better, bigger than ever before,

more than what you have ever imagined.

We know that Jesus came, that you may have a life, and have an abundant life.

That’s what Jesus said he came for,

We want you to have that abundant life,

but you can only have an abundant life if you start making the right choices.

We want to be here for you, to encourage you, to support you.

The choices that you make right now is going to be very important,

we pray that your sobriety,

your addiction to drugs will be a thing of the past

you can be a support and encouragement for someone else down the line in the future who may be dealing with drug abuse and addiction.

Reach Out To Us

Here at Burning Love Ministry, we support you, and we encourage you today to please reach out to us.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to so that we can continue to put this word out and can continue to help those who are addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

The Jericho Journey

He was a drug kingpin

He has served time in prison, 

He was a recovering crack addict

He’s now a minister, 

He’s now an author, 

He’s now an actor and a retired military veteran. 

Meet Ronald Baldwin, Sr

Today his activities include involvement with numerous groups for the 

Empowerment of men which includes Male to Men’s United.

He’s involved with a reentry program for men coming out of prison and 

He’s politically active in outreach in his community.

Ronald Baldwin Begins His Story

Have you been burdened with this addiction to crack cocaine? 

Crack cocaine is a very, very, very powerful drug. 

I’m just so happy to be one of the survivors of that drug and to share my story with you and let you know what happened and how I overcame it.

I’m from a family of five boys and four girls and I’m the middle boy. 

My dad was in the military for 30 years in the Navy and he taught us to be stern 

be dutiful 

to be responsible

all the qualities of a man that we were to receive from my father we received it in this middle-class neighborhood that I grew up in. 

At the same time, my mother stayed home and took care of all nine of us. 

My dad did not really like for her to work so we became more like being a provider minded type of man to be there for our children and our family and that’s what my father taught us.

Things went south when I started experiencing minor drugs 

I would say, the alcohol, back in the day 

they had this thing called black beauties and it was speed. 

then the crack cocaine scene, 

the marijuana was there and I dabbled with marijuana in high school

I was going to ask you when did you start first using drugs?

When I was in high school I really, wanted to play football and I only weighed 110 pounds in my ninth grade year. 

I went out for the team and couldn’t make it because I was too small. 

The coach encouraged me to gain some more weight and to do so I really, became tougher 

If you tell me I can’t do it I’m going to do it. 

So, I finally made the football team. 

I got on the football team and begin to meet other people in different environments, 

people from different cultures and hanging around them not only at school but at practice too. 

Then from practice, we would normally go to their neighborhood or go to my neighborhood and hang out for a little while and then we’d go home. 

We started just puffing marijuana, 

puffing cigarettes. 

That’s how it all started.

My Time in The Military 

Well, I went into a delayed entry program while I was in high school. 

I went into the military as an E3.

When I entered the military I was just gung-ho happy to serve my country 

My dad being in the military 30 years in the Navy. 

No one in my family really went to college at that time. 

They went their separate ways on jobs, careers, and different things like that.

I wanted to be in the military and be like my dad. 

I went into the military, 

I met a lot of people, 

People from all over the world and had different things that they did.

The first thing I started really, getting involved was drinking beer. 

In the military soldiers would get a couple of cases and we’d sit around in the barracks and drink all weekend. 

I knew my body rejected the alcohol the moment that I started drinking. 

After two or three beers I would leave the room like I’m going somewhere and go throw up in my room and come back just to be able to hang with the boys. 

I pushed myself into an area where I felt personally I wanted to fit in somewhere. 

That’s where addicts really lose focus from themselves and start putting a focus on other people and the acceptance of other people.

Joining the military everybody was smoking, everybody was drinking and then the marijuana people started bringing in marijuana. 

It was just crazy with all the different peer pressures that we had. 

There were people doing drugs, shooting up and doing heroin, and doing all different types of drugs. 

All of that really, begin to make an impact on me in my decision making.

When I started the marijuana it was just having it to get high and then you go and get the munchies it was a fun thing at first. 

It was accepted in modern society just like alcohol is today. 

Back then as long as you didn’t do any heavy drugs you were fine. 

If you did marijuana you were accepted in a lot of groups and people wouldn’t give you such a hard time about it, now it’s different.

Then we really enjoyed the freedom while in the military. 

The Jericho Road

During My time in the military marijuana gave you a free will spirit 

As God said, he has always given us a free will spirit. 

Sometimes our free will spirit leads us down a dangerous Jericho Road. 

That’s why I have always used that term, 

the Jericho Road experience because that was a winding road that headed downward. 

It took you to a wall.

The reason why I came up with that term Jericho Road because I can recall a scripture where they say so many people came by this guy who was in need of this Jericho Road.

A priest came by, pastors came by, moms, dads came by, children watched him came by shaking their head, wagging their head. 

I can imagine what this person felt like when all these people passed him by seeing that he needed help but did not give him any help. 

I asked God all the time during that period I said, “God, why did you choose me to go down this road knowing that it was a lonely road?” 

How Did I become a Drug Kingpin?

Well, when I got out of the military I began to dibble and dabble around people that were doing and dealing cocaine while I was going to college.

Getting out of the military you have four years where you can go to school. 

I took advantage of that and I went to school and while in school I ran across a guy who was using crack cocaine. 

Now, I never laid eyes on crack cocaine before this. 

Then when I knew the areas of crack, 

Where people were doing crack cocaine 

In my community where I was raised in Wedgewood was a bug-infested area of drugs and money and people would get cars and fancy houses and all of that stuff. 

And I wanted it.

A flashy lifestyle. 

Unbeknown to me I didn’t know the pain that was behind it. 

I began to start working at this particular car dealership and at this particular car dealership, there were people that were doing certain things. 

And so, I wanted to get a part of it. 

Even though I was making plenty of money. 

We were making a lot of money selling a lot of cars. 

We would meet up at this bar a few miles from the dealership 

We would drink 

We would talk and 

We would do our marijuana smoking, 

Smoke our cigarettes 

Drink and tell a bunch of lies and jokes if you 

Just hanging out, who would’ve thought that something that seemed relatively innocent would lead to such destruction.

Does Ronald’s story sound familiar to you? Do you relate to it at all? Find out how Ronald’s decisions lead to his destruction and how he rose outs of that by watching the video.

Burning Love Outreach

We want to support you, we want to help you.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to so that we can continue to put this word out and can continue to help those who are addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

Can you be Addicted to Drugs and Still Believe in God?

Can you believe in God and be addicted to drugs?

Absolutely

If you’re currently addicted to drugs, don’t believe the lie that spirituality has no place in your life.

This is the best time for you to call unto the Lord and he will come and answer you.

That’s what scripture says, “Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things.”

We know Jesus, when He was speaking, He said that He didn’t come for those that were well, Jesus came for those that were sick

Addiction Does Not Discriminate

If you’re addicted to drugs, you are sick and you need healing.

That is exactly what Jesus came to do.

So today we want to encourage you and let you know that yes, you can believe in God and be addicted to drugs.

Drugs and addiction does not discriminate.

You have doctors, you have lawyers, you have business people, you have business owners, government leaders,

All of these people are just as vulnerable as someone who’s poor or maybe uneducated.

So we don’t want to put a stigma on a particular class of people that say that they are addicted to drugs.

No, addiction does not discriminate.

When your Life Starts to Spiral out of Control

One of the saddest consequences that I find with addiction is that it makes the individuals isolate themselves.

Usually, when you’re using, you don’t want to be around people.

Not only do you isolate yourself,

you lose interest in the things that you’d like to do.

You lose interest in your hobbies

If you were someone that went to church, you may stop going to church.

You may stop reading the word

You may stop doing whatever things that you were interested in before you started using the drug.

But what we don’t want you to do is to isolate yourself

or start beating yourself up because of your drug use.

One of the things that drugs do to the body is build a tolerance.

Once your body builds a tolerance to the drug,

It takes more of that drug for you to reach the height that you’re trying to get.

Not only a higher dosage, but it takes a more frequent use.

When you couple a higher dosage and more frequent use, your life starts spiraling out of control.

When you see your life spiraling out of control, that’s when things start to happen.

That’s when you start making bad choices in your life.

How To Get Help

I want you to know that there is a savior, there is a savior named Jesus and He came to save you.

Not only Jesus,

There are groups,

There are rehab facilities,

There are support groups,

There’s Burning Love Outreach and we are here to help you to get back on the right track, to get your life back.

We don’t want you to feel like you’re not worthy because you are worthy.

God doesn’t want to punish you,

He doesn’t want you to beat yourself up,

God wants you to call out to Him so he can come and rescue you.

When you call out to the Lord, He will send people to you.

He will send help to you so that you can get back on the right track and start living a productive life.

Jesus tells us to love ourselves.

In order for you to love yourself,

You have to be pleased with your actions.

You have to be pleased with the things that you’re doing

Hopefully that you will reach out and that you would get the support that you need.

A strong support group is very important for someone willing to give up their drug addiction and get help for themselves.

You need a strong support system, it’s very difficult to do this by yourself.

So I want you to know that Burning Love Outreach we are here to help you

To encourage you

To motivate you and hopefully, you will be willing to seek out help and get a sponsor so that you can start living a productive life.

God wants you to live a productive life.

He wants you to be happy with yourself,

Happy with the decisions that you make

He wants to see you free from your addiction

Just like you want to be free from your addiction

Your loved ones want you to be free from your addiction.

Burning Love Outreach

So remember that Burning Love Outreach we’re here for you.

We want to support you, we want to help you.

You can leave a prayer request there here

You can reach out to us here

You can look at some of the other blogs that we have here.

Find us on social media!

We’re on Facebook, we’re on Instagram, we’re on LinkedIn and YouTube.

You can reach out to Burning Love Outreach on any of these platforms and we are more than willing to help you.

For those of you who have partnered with us, we thank you so much.

If you haven’t partnered with us and you feel called to so that we can continue to put this word out and can continue to help those who are addicted to drugs and addiction. Please click here to donate.

Overcoming Daily Struggles

Do you struggle daily with the urge to use?

This is for the people who have decided to put an end to their drug use habits.

Here is some encouragement so that you can be successful again in your recovery. 

One of the things that you have to develop is self-control.

Will it be easy? 

No, it will not be easy!

But you can do it once you have determined in your mind that you are going to put your best foot forward in your recovery.

Self-discipline

Self-discipline is something that you have to build up, 

Something you have to create, and you have to learn by controlling your behavior. 

You have to know that there may come a time when you’re not successful at it. 

If you’re not successful at not using anymore, guess what?

When you fall off the horse, you get back up, and you get back on. 

Don’t become discouraged because you may have failed. 

Get back up, 

make up your mind again.

Put your best foot forward again, and try your best to be successful in this process.

You have to do to control and handle the urge is when you have that urge to use is to plan. 

Planning Ahead

You have to have a plan ahead of time. 

Don’t wait until you’re caught in the midst of having an urge to use and think you’re going to come up with a plan. 

No, come up with a plan when you have come off of your high. 

You’re thinking clearly, and you’re at a place where you can make an effective plan so that you will not use again. 

Plan ahead; that’s going to be the first thing you have to do. So, you can have in mind that I’m going to calling my sponsor. 

If I have the urge to use, I’m going to reach out to my sponsor, or I’m going to reach out to a friend. 

You know what? 

You can actually reach out to Burning Love Organization also. 

We will be here for you to help you. 

If people are not available, you need to have a backup plan, okay? 

If plan A is to call your sponsor, call a friend, call Burning Love, and we’re not available for whatever reason. 

You have to have plan B, 

An activity or something you would do to keep your mind occupied so that you do not use. 

Have a plan.

Nine times out of 10 urges happen when individuals have decided that they’re not going to use drugs anymore.

How To Become A Winner

The next thing we want to say is stick with winners. 

AA uses this slogan called to stick with winners. By stick with winners, you will reach out to those who have been successful in their recovery process. 

If you have become involved with a recovery group, there are usually people, counselors, sometimes ministers, or sponsors there who will help you. 

They would give you their contact information so you can stay in touch with them if you have the urge and need to reach out with someone. 

So you have to stick with the winners.

You should develop a relationship with them.  

If you have been a user and your friends that you associate with are users, you’re going to have to sever those ties. 

You’re going to have to cut those ties because people who are still using are not going to help you in your recovery process. 

This is a step that you have decided to take that you have chosen and made up in your mind that you are not going to use anymore. 

You’re going to have to sever those ties with other people you know using to move forward and make the changes in your life for the betterment of yourself. 

You’re going to have to make some new friends. 

That’s when these winners come in handy. 

You can start associating and talking to people who are going to encourage you in this process that you have taken on.

What To Do When You Are Tempted

Some of the things that you can do when you are tempted. As you will be tempted, especially in the beginning. 

You need to come up with different activities and things that you can do. 

I want you to know that whenever the urge has come along, they are time-limited. 

It will not last for a long time, but the urge has come, and it is strong. 

You do have to practice self-discipline in order not to give into those urges. 

They will subdue, but you’re going to have to have something in place. 

Maybe go for a jog or take on some physical activities. I know someone who decided to start exercising in place of using. 

They began to get in shape and eat healthily and go for jogs and go for runs, and now their body feels good. 

They have more energy, and they’re so glad that this is something that they weren’t doing before. 

They hadn’t exercised in years, but now they’re exercising, and your body feels good.

So you’re going to have to get active. 

Maybe, if you like to journal and write, you could start journaling. 

Who knows what that journal can turn into? 

It could turn into your story, your testimony of how you process, moved through the process of your recovery. 

Also, you might want to get a hobby. 

Start doing something. 

Some people are crafty. They start doing crafts. Maybe you might want to start building things. 

During the pandemic, some people started painting and doing artwork. 

They never thought that they were a painter and turned out they’re making some beautiful artwork. 

Find something to occupy your time so that you can be successful in overcoming these daily struggles that may come your way.

Don’t Be Afraid To Reach Out

We welcome you to reach out to Burning Love Outreach. We are here for you. 

If you need prayer, want to share a testimony, or want to contact us, simply click one of these links. 

There’s a place where you could donate. You could give a one-time donation, or you could become a monthly donor. If you feel called to partner with us, by donating, click here. 

We can continue at Burning Love Outreach to inspire and encourage and reach out and speak to those struggling with drug abuse and addictions.

I hope that you have a blessed day. 

I hope that this message helped someone out there. 

If you ever want to reach out to Burning Love Outreach, we are here for you.

Why You Should Forgive Yourself After Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Hello, everyone. This is Searita from Burning Love Outreach. And we are here today to talk about why you should forgive yourself.

First of all, you should forgive yourself so that you can be successful in your recovery process from drug and alcohol abuse. And when you choose to forgive yourself, you’re making a mature decision that “I am changing the trajectory of my life.” No longer are you willing to play the blame game anymore, because usually when you’re an active user of alcohol and drugs, you play the blame game. You blame everybody else for your mistakes, for things that are happening in your life when it’s actually you who have caused these things to happen. But you have to get to the point of where you say, “I choose to forgive myself.” And so you can move forward in your recovery process. Because as an active user, you probably have done a lot of bad things. You probably have cheated on your spouse. You probably have stolen from people that you love. You may have screwed up your job, or your career even committed crimes that you normally would have not done if you hadn’t been under the influence of drugs. So for those who are in the recovery process or those who are considering changing their life for the better, learn to forgive yourself so that you can be successful at whatever it is that you put your hands to and that you can leave the life of drugs behind you.

All of your mistakes, you cannot undo. None of us can undo the mistakes that we have made, but we can put our best foot forward and to changing our lives for the better. And we know that addiction is a chronic illness and you’re really not a bad person, you’re just a sick person who needs a chance to recover. And once you make that decision that I am going to forgive myself for all the things that I have done, then you’re on the right road to success.

And if you like, it’ll be a great idea if you could amend relationships that have been severed because of your drug use. If you can do that with certain individuals, I would suggest that you try to do it. But if you can’t, you know what, still continue to move forward in your recovery process. And those that you can go to and ask for their forgiveness, say that you’re sorry, do it. Stand up to your mistakes. Take responsibility for the things that you have done wrong so that you can just continue to move forward.

And I know many of us and me too, I’ve walked this road. I’ve been in your shoes. Those who are using drugs or those who are in recovery, I have been in your shoes. That’s why this outreach has been started. Burning Love Outreach has been started so that I can help those who are in the recovery process and those who are addicted to drugs, but you have to start somewhere. And the place that you start is admitting that you have a problem and then admitting that you need to forgive yourself so that you can get the proper help that you need.

The best decision that you can make for you and your loved ones is to start making different choices. And a lot of times family has been hurt so deeply by your drug use that trust has been betrayed and they don’t trust you anymore. And you have to earn that trust back. But if they see that you are making solid choices, that you’re really putting in effort to change your life, most family members are willing to step in and help you and forgive you. Because deep down they love you, but your drug use has changed their outlook because you became dishonest and they couldn’t trust you. So when that happens, a lot of hurt takes place. And we have to try to get over that hurt and restore the love. And hopefully forgiveness is in their hearts and they can forgive you so that they can truly support you in your recovery process.

Now you may say, well, how do I forgive myself? You know what, you could start by writing down the things that you have done. Write down all of the bad things that you’ve done, all the people that you have hurt, and just go over it and process in your mind the way that you want to make up for this. And then hopefully you could share your feelings with someone. Because if you’re in drug rehab, they usually have meetings. There are groups, there are sponsors, there are ministers, there are counselors that you could talk to. It’s really important, I believe, is to sit down and speak to someone about the things that you have done so that you can get the proper help that you need. One on one conversations with individuals work really well. If you’re comfortable sitting down with someone, with a counselor, a minister, a sponsor, or someone, and talk about these things, they usually can give you very good advice on how to start that process of forgiving yourself and restoring your relationship with your loved ones.

You definitely don’t want to make the mistake of speaking to someone who would be judgemental. That’s not the type of person that you want to speak to. I would suggest speaking to someone who has been down this road before, or a professional who could help you to start that forgiveness process and move forward. You got to get in the habit also of giving yourself credit because as an ex crack addict myself, every day that you don’t use is a good day when you are in the recovery process. Every day that you do not use as a good day. So start giving yourself credit, give yourself a pat on the back for every day that you are successful, every day that you do not relapse and go back and use. It’s okay to do that. It’s okay to praise yourself, long as you don’t become arrogant or boastful, but to give yourself credit for yes, I made it through another day. I made it through another day. That’s okay. And I want you to learn to congratulate yourself every day.

And also you can make affirmations. Affirmations are very good. That you affirm that I forgive myself. I love myself. I’m going to do better. I am doing better. I am the child of a king. Whatever affirmations are that you decide to make, make those affirmations every day and you will be successful.

Now, if you want to reach out to Burning Love Ministry, well Burning Love Outreach, I must say. We are here for you. We want to help you. Thank you for watching this video. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us. You can go to our website, burningloveoutreach.org, that’s the best place, just to go to our website because you can contact us there. You can put in a prayer request there, you can put a testimony there. And also we are asking for other individuals who are out there, if you would please consider partnering with us because this is a nonprofit organization and your financial help is appreciated so that we can continue to work and put information out for those who are addicted to drugs and those who are trying to recover.

We want to help them. We want to be here for them, and we would appreciate your support of this outreach so that we can continue to change lives and help people to get on the right track, stay on the right track, follow up with them and to help them to become a part of society again. So thank you for watching this video and bye-bye for now.

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Should You Try to Overcome Drug & Alcohol Addiction Alone?

Searita Jones shares whether or not you should try to overcome drug and alcohol addiction alone.

Video Notes

Hello, everyone. This is Searita from Burning Love Outreach. And we are here today with more words of encouragement, for those who are struggling with drug abuse and addiction. And also, to the individuals who are in recovery. Today’s topic is ‘the promises of God’. And I’ll tell you, I love many, many things about God, but in particular, I love to be reminded of His promises.

And I think that they will be beneficial to you also, in your walk of wherever you are in your drug use, or if you’re in recovery, I believe that the promises will be able to assist you in your dark times, and that you will be able to stand on the promises of God. Just like the rest of us do, whenever we find that we are in a difficult situation. Now I know many people say that they can obtain their sobriety on their own. I don’t recommend that because, it’s very difficult to overcome the addiction of drugs and to try to do it alone is not recommended.

It’s usually recommended that you seek some type of professional help. Not saying people haven’t recovered on their own, it’s just a very difficult journey. And it’s easy to relapse when you are on your own. But if you have someone that you’re being accountable to, someone who’s assisting you and helping you in your sobriety, in your walk, it’s easier for you to be successful. We want to reach out to you at Burning Love Ministry. If you are struggling, if you send us your information, we will reach out to you and assist you in any way possible so that you can have a successful walk. And so that you can tap into your greatness and be exactly who God predestined you to be.

We know that scripture tells us that God is always with us and if we have faith and believe that we will be able to overcome any situation that we find ourselves in. And I want you to know that I have personally walked in the same shoes that you have walked in. And I recovered. I was set free and delivered, but it only happened through the grace of God. Today we are going to look at what said the Lord, and I want you to remember them, if you don’t remember them, you can go back and watch this video again. And I also want you to remind God, the scripture tells us in the book of Isaiah, that God says, “Remind me of My word, bring it back to my remembrance,” but we don’t do that because God forgot, we do that to remind ourselves of what He said He would do for us.

It is for us, it is not for him. Today we’re going to look at what does said the Lord and be reminded whenever you go through a difficult time, God said that he promised to be with you. He will be with you in the good times, and in the bad times, no matter what you’re doing, whether you’re using, or if you’re in the recovery stage, if you’re struggling and you feel like some triggers, some things have triggered you to want to use again. Remember that God is with you. Remember that He said that he would protect you. That’s the next thing he said, He will protect you. No matter what state you’re in, if you just choose to develop a relationship with Him, choose to call upon Him, choose to remind Him of His word. He will be right there to help you in your darkest hour.

He also said, that he will be your strength. Sometimes we lose momentum or we grow weary or we lose our direction, forget where we’re going. God said, “I will be your strength.” I will be the one that puts you right back on track. We have to stand on His promises. Also, He said, “I will answer you.” Call out to Him. He will answer you and show you great and mighty things. And there is great and mighty things to be done in your life. You are predestined for greatness. You are the son or the daughter of a King. You are from a Royal priesthood. All of those things refer to you. No matter what your present situation is, you could be a user right now, today. You could have used today, but there is a greatness inside of you. And I want you to remember that don’t ever forget that.

Also, God said that he will provide for you. He’s your provider. He is Jehovah Jireh. I know many people are unemployed right now. Many people are going through their own battles and struggles, but God will be with you and He will provide everything that you need. I know sometimes we may not have the type of food that we want, but He’ll make sure you have food to eat. He will make sure you have whatever it is that you need to in order to be successful. Also, He said, “I will give you peace.” There is peace in Jesus that surpasses all understanding. Once you accept Jesus into your life, the Lord will provide you with peace to handle every situation that you face.

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