“My name is Chris, one of the founders of Broken Vessels Ministry. I would like to share with you my personal testimony. I am a redeemed addict/alcoholic. My testimony is condensed, sharing the high points over the last 47 years of my life.
My real father abandoned my mother and me at the age of 5. I was severely physically abused by my stepfather for many years, until my mother was able to leave him. I became an alcoholic by the time I was 17 years old, and I got married at the age of 18 to my current wife.
In the year 2000, I gave my heart to Jesus. Some people have life-changing experiences when they encounter God. I had a curiosity. Even still, I prayed and asked the Lord to take the desire of alcohol way, and in that instant, it was gone.
I went to church on a regular basis. However, my wife and I both still smoked weed at this point.
In 2003, we had seven deaths in seven months of “close” family members. The eight month, which was January of 2004, I was walking the rafters of an attic when my foot slipped. I went through the ceiling and was hanging on by my arms with tools in my hand, looking below at the 30-foot drop. I just knew that if I fell, I was gone for good.
There was a baby grand piano below me and a staircase. There was no way I was going to survive. After a few minutes of dangling and struggling to get back into the attic, my arms gave out and I could no longer hang on.
As I was falling, everything seemed in slow motion, and my whole life flashed before my eyes like a video playing in my head. It honestly seemed like it took 15 minutes for me to hit the floor, but it was really only a few seconds.
I landed standing straight up onto a marble floor. The impact crushed both my feet and ankles as well as broke my back and breastbone. I was admitted to the trauma unit at Vanderbilt and became bedbound for months. The injury was so severe that I could only move around using a wheelchair. The doctors said I would never walk again.
I was reminded of something: God doesn’t add another day in your life because you need it—He adds it because someone out there needs you. With determination, I was able to walk with a cane 8 months later—not well, but walking nonetheless.
Fast forward to 2014/2015, I had depended on pain medication to live for the past 11 years, and it was to a point where I no longer had the ability to choose whether I use it or not. After all, it was prescription medication and I did have “real daily pain.” My wife of 27 years was at her limit with my addictions over the years, so in November of 2014, we separated as she was drawing healthy boundary lines for our family.
I prayed several years before, asking God to make me the man He created me to be, not the man I have become and boy, God was surely doing it, just not like the way I wanted it to be done. Anyway, in March of 2015, through a series of events that only God could orchestrate, I ended up 2,000 miles away in a rehab in California. I had 2 surgeries while I was there to help me with the constant pain in my back, feet, and ankles.
I had never felt so alone. At one point, while I was detoxing in my 1st week there, I was sitting in the garden out back with my face in my hands, crying, and I remember thinking, “I cannot do this.” Suddenly, a man walked up to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and said these words: “Chris, I know what you are going through, and the only way out of it is through it”.
At this point, I lifted my head out of my hands, turned to look, and caught a glimpse of the man walking around the corner. I fell to my knees and said, “Lord, either heal me or kill me, and at this point, I do not care which.” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, at the next breath, something that I was not going to say came out of my mouth, and it was, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
After that, I physically felt God hug me, and I mean He hugged me tightly. I had an experience at that moment that changed my life forever. At that moment, I realized that sometimes God delivers you out of your situation, and other times He delivers you in it.
I still had to go through the program, but from that moment, I never had the desire for any drug at all. I was totally delivered, and I had an encounter with God. All I had to do was surrender, and God did the rest. When I came back to Tennessee after the rehab, God also restored my relationship with my wife and our kids.
All of that was broken and my whole life—God restored it ALL! I now have a relationship with Jesus Christ, not just knowledge of Him. It is not about religion, but about relationship.”