Updated: Mar 7
I was born and raised in Milwaukee and had a difficult time as a child cuz of ADHD and ODD. When I was young there were no diagnoses for these behavioral disorders, which meant no treatments. As these conditions got worse in my early teens I began to rebel and disrespect my father which led to me being placed in foster homes at the age of 13. This meant going from being raised as a strict Baptist to no spiritual guidance at all, except for my last foster parents.
I was the first man in my family history to graduate from high school, and shortly after graduation I was living on my own and working a full time job. At 20 I thought I was in love and married my first wife only to find out later it really wasn’t love. We stayed together for 12 years because of our two children but the marriage ended in divorce.
After my divorce when I was about 31 I became a karaoke DJ. I became immersed in the bar scene, including private gigs, different shows, and even a biker club. I enjoyed all the new friends I was making in this lifestyle. In fact, after hitting a deer on my Harley Davidson motorcycle the first four phone calls I got to check on me were friends from the bars. I got deeper into the bar scene, more drinking, fighting, illegal behavior and drug use, and even a cocaine dealer. Things got steadily worse, but at that time it all just seemed normal.
During my time in the bar scene I met a woman who would be my second wife. When we presented an opportunity to get out of the drug and fighting scene we took it, and I began driving truck. When she became pregnant with our second child we got married; but this marriage was also rough. I was still drinking, with alcohol taking the place of drugs. This resulted in my wife and I splitting up many times, even divorcing, remarrying and then divorcing again.
After my second divorce my drinking got steadily worse, going from drinking on the weekends, to every night, to drinking from the time I woke up until I went to bed.
The more I drank, the more people wanted to give up on me, and the more miserable and depressed I became. I was caught in a vicious cycle.
My daughter began going to North Ridge Church on Wednesdays for Yth and she started asking me to go to church with her, but I was usually too drunk on Sunday morning to go. I began to realize God was tugging at my heart over the past four years of my battle with alcohol. I spent many nights in my garage or on my porch, drunk, crying out to God for help, but I was always too drunk to see that my little girl asking me to go to church was the help God was sending!
Finally, on Easter of 2021 she caught me Sunday morning before I was too drunk and begged for me to go to Easter service. The series was Hope of Heaven, and God filled my heart with the desire to go every Sunday to see how the series ended. I missed the next Sunday, but on April 25th God said enough is enough, and during worship God grabbed me and I could sense His love. I had tried to quit drinking so many times but the cravings were so strong I couldn’t go a day without caving in and drinking. I finally realized I was putting those cravings for that bottle of alcohol before God.
And, during the song, House of Miracles, I finally found what I could never find in the bottom of a bottle, the grace of God! I told God, “If you want this worthless man, you can have him because I can’t do this alone anymore!”
I didn’t just give my life to Christ, I began a relationship with Him.
His love and mercy took away every desire for alcohol, and my attitude changed from a bitter and angry man to having love and kindness in my heart! My failing business turned around, friends I had hurt were shown forgiveness, and broken relationships have since been rekindled. Forgiveness filled my heart for a sibling that I had disowned and wished death upon; and my children, who wanted nothing to do with me, now come to see me and spend time with me.
My most proud moments now are when local police, school faculty, and other people around my family say they can see a difference in me, and can see that my kids look up to the “good Paul,” with Christ in his life. And, during a recent counseling session about the excellent progress our son has made, my ex-wife said, “all the credit goes to Paul for the changes he’s made in his life.” For her to say that was a miracle.
The miracles I have witnessed in the past 10 months are unexplainable, and I give all the credit to God for those miracles and the life I have today!
His love, mercy and grace have showered over my children, my life, and myself. The friendships I have made at North Ridge Church and the things I am learning are amazing. I love you all and I pray that if you are reading this, and you are putting something above God; whether it’s alcohol, drugs or anything else, just cry out to Jesus. He is a loving God who has a plan for you. Don’t waste anymore time searching under a rock when the light is above.
Submitted by Paul K. on 2/15/2022