During my early childhood while in school if I would fall and scrape my knee... the teacher would say, "brush it off, you are a big boy don't cry" as a band aid would be placed on the wound. I also recall my mom saying the same things at times.. "if you are going to cry go to your room. So, from and early age I was taught happy emotions are okay yet sad and hurtful emotions needed to be expressed in private. My dad was killed in Vietnam on August 22, 1970 and my mom did her best to raise my brother(six years older) along with myself. Around the age of eight years old by brother's friend(also six years older) began a process of sexual molestation. I did not understand anything was wrong until approximate thirteen years old. I became aware that something was not right... Therefore, I started going to church down the road from our house. I began praying "God, if you are real, make this stop." Well, things did not stop when I expected so I quit going to church. I do remember the many times as I got older what my teacher or mom would say about big boys not crying.. Therefore I spend lots of nights crying in silence. During my junior high, I indulged myself in a world of music. Mom bought me one of the best Pioneer stereos. Loved my music loud. I needed to find ways to express my emotions and feeling. I had every kind of genre of music except for opera. I loved listening to country music when I was said, loved music from the 60's, 70's and 80s, Def Leopard, Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Journey, Metallica, Megadeath, gospel, bluegrass, classical etc... the list could go on. Music became my very first addiction. Then at the age of 16, I got my first car... a 1981 red RS Mercury Capri. I would love to go cruising and also had one of the best pioneer car stereos with an equalizer. All of a sudden, I had a desire to start going camping at Long's Retreat. As I watched others drink and sometimes get a little drunk.... I would sneak and get some beer. I would dance like a fool on alcohol yet hated the taste of beer and the feeling/hang over the next day. Later, I had a buddy offer me some weed. I remember the first time I smoked.. I thought I was going to choke to death. Yet I decided I like pot a lot better than alcohol. Of course I upgraded my music to Pink Floyd during this time. Then, while at the WEBN fireworks- my friend gave me a pill(Acid). All of a sudden the fireworks turned into 3d monsters. I would cry one moment and laugh hysterically the next moment. I had no control over my emotions! Somehow I made it safely home. Back in the day, I had a waterbed with waves. As soon as I got home and went to bed... Every time I would move, there was a wave that tickled my stomach and I would bust out laughing. Kind of the same experience as hill hopping. So, this was the last time I touched a drug until later in life. Fast forward... In 1991, a buddy of mine invited me to a tent revival were I surrendered and gave my heart to Christ. I felt freedom from past and safe at last. I thought I laid all of my hurts, habits and hangups at the alter. Yet, I think maybe they were brushed under a rug. Anyway, in 1992, I started attending Stratford Heights where I met Nicole. I was involved in youth leadership, jail ministry, early morning prayer meetings and loved to sing in the choir. The American Dream seemed to be get married, a house with a white picket fence and have kids. In 1994, we got married and on December 21, 1997 we had our first child(Christopher.) His head was flat as a pancake - our Pediatrician called in a brain specialist to make sure he would be okay. Christopher had some other issues yet always God took care of us all. Then we finally bought a house in June of 1999 and our daughter was born on September 26, 1999. When she was born, she was not breathing and our Dr had to perform CPR. I thought I was losing my wife and our baby... All I could do was speak in the name of Jesus. Everything turned out okay. i bought Miranda a card on the day of her birth which says, "Whenever you are sad or just plain blue, look up to this feather floating down to you," there was a scripture attached from Psalm 91 that said... He will cover you under the shadow of his feathers... In 2004, we experience our first flood and lost everything in our entire basement. I felt I had failed as a husband and a father. As it took days to clean up the flood I had to miss church. As the depression entered in I did what I was taught and became silent. I could not tell the church i was depressed or my family. Depression began seeping in and next thing I knew I was lucky if I went to church once a month. I began isolating as the depressing became worse. I remember spending lots of time on my computer and one night - Miss Jessica popped up on my computer- she was fully clothed yet drop dead gorgeous so I thought, "no harm in checking her out" Little did I know with one click I would fall into complete darkness.. I found way more than just Miss Jessica that took me to a world of curiosity and a world of unknown. I did feel bad for the things I was doing so I decided to start smoking weed which lead to crack, cocaine and eventually IV meth. The isolation and depression became extremely worse. On February 22, 2010 someone decided to switch out my meth and shot me up with heroin. On my way home at 3:30am I felt death as I called my wife to say, "Nicole, I am not going to make it home... I am so sorry for all the things I have done. This problem has never been about you! Tell the kids I love them and daddy is not coming home," as I dropped the phone, I began losing my vision. I pulled off the exit ramp immediately weighing a 136 lbs.. I thought maybe if I get something to drink and a bite to eat I will be okay. I pulled into the gas station, walked in and picked up a gatorade and a three muskateer. As I approached the register, the cashier asked, "Oh my gosh! Do you need an ambulance?" As I stated, "yes" I passed out and was caught by a young African American guy. As I woke up.. I was surrounded by EMT. I thought, " everyone is going to find out I am an addict.. my church, family etc.. So I refused to go to the hospital. I got in my car and knew I had to "Break The Silence" as I sat in that car I cried and screamed "I CANT DO THIS ANYMORE! I CANT DO THIS ON MY OWN! God forgive me, come into my life as I believe you died upon a cross and rose again." Then there was a scripture in Exodus Chapter 17 that said when the Israelites were in battle... as long as Moses had his arms up - the Israelites would gain ground against the enemy yet when Moses would get tired and his arms would go down the enemy would gain ground against the Israelite. Aaron and Hur saw what was happening so they sat Moses down on a rock... Aaron got one arm and Hur got the other arm and they lifted up Moses' arms until the Israelites won the battle. I admitted myself into Miami Valley Behavioral Health Unit then within 24 hours was moved to medical floor for two weeks where I was diagnosed with Aids and Hepatitis C. On April 23, 2013, I could not deal with my illnesses yet I knew I did not want to relapse on drugs. So I overdosed on a bottle of antidepressants and was in a coma for 13 days. I could hear people talking while in a coma. Only by the grace of God was I brough back from death and was discharged on May 14, 2013. Two months later, through prayer and fasting, God spoke "Restoration" to myself and family which is when I founded "Celebrating Restoration." This battle of addiction does not belong to you - the battle belongs to the God 2 Chronicles 20:15 As I broke the silence I turned my battle over to God... surrounding to Him... praying and reading His word daily. Today, we have a home again and my family is back! Today, I have been cured from Hepatitis C. God does bring "Restoration" we just need to have faith and trust in Him. In Hebrews, God's word says "Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen." You may feel as if you are at the end of your rope! You may have lost many friends and or family to this disease of addiction. If we do not "Break The Silence" our destination will be jails, institutions or death. I am proof that there is hope for the hopeless. That does not mean I am perfect. Progress not perfection. Yet I have established a support group with my family, church, recovery groups such as Celebrate Recovery, HA, NA, AA etc... You can be a survivor... you just got to "Break The Silence."