My life turned into a nightmare. I became paranoid! The vices were messing with my mind, and I reached the point where I was talking to myself and hearing voices in my head!
I struggled with guilt and frustration. Because of my drug addiction, my friends and relatives didn’t want to have anything to do with me. I attempted suicide. My rationale was that God gave me a chance to be saved and have a new life, but I blew it! I thought I’d do my family good if I were dead.
One time, I hadn’t slept for three days. Inside my room, I was preparing to put a cord around my neck and jump from a chair. Suddenly, my nephew knocked and told me that my brother was there to see me. I was mad at this particular brother because he and my other siblings were conspiring to put me in a rehabilitation facility in Bicutan.
I preferred to kill myself, and if my brother was going to get in the way, I decided that I was going to kill him first. I left my room and physically fought with him. Thankfully, by God’s grace, he overpowered me. My uncle, who was an officer of the NARCOM, ordered his men (who were also my fratmates) to pick me up and bring me to Camp Crame for safe keeping.
Inside Crame, I got hold of a Bible and read it. Every day, I read the Bible and found my comfort in it. After about three months, I was released.
However, my spiraling lifestyle did not change overnight. Although I got a job again, I lost it after a month because I still used drugs. Another job came and went; it lasted for only two weeks. By this time, I really wanted to end my drug addiction.
In my desperation, I cried out to God. I pleaded for His help. I asked Him to set me free from addictions. I admitted that I couldn’t overcome addiction on my own. I felt God’s loving presence as I called out to Him. Right then and there, I recommitted my life to Him.
My heart was transformed.
My desire for drugs was gone, and God replaced it with a longing to know Him.
I started praying and reading His Word regularly on my own. I did self-rehabilitation; I often stayed indoors and preoccupied myself with house chores and physical exercises like jogging in the morning. For a whole year, I watched the 700 Club and listened to Christian radio programs every day. Though I wasn’t connected to a church that year, God enabled me to understand His love.
I fell in love with Him.
All I wanted was Jesus—to know more of Him, to read His word, and to do His will.
Found by God Again
One of the radio programs I listened to talked about the importance of being connected to a church. As I worshiped God by myself, I asked Him to lead me to a good church. He eventually led me to Christ’s Commission Fellowship in 1991.
My walk with the Lord was strengthened! At that time, I also prayed for a job. In a few months, I became employed in a company selling office equipment. I held that job for 14 years, and I was even promoted to a sales manager.
During that season, I found myself desiring a partner. God reunited me with my long-lost girlfriend who had become a Christian, too. Our relationship went well, until we fell into sexual immorality.
Falling Once More
We ended up marrying ahead of God’s time; my wife was six months pregnant when we got married.
As I was tense and stressed in that new season, I went back to drinking. To make the long story short, God still remained faithful, and He disciplined me to bring me back. My wife had me join a cell group that was led by her brother-in-law. I was reluctant to join, but the cell group encouraged and challenged me to strengthen my spiritual walk. I stopped going to a Friday drinking club and started attending our Friday cell group meetings.
Restoration and Freedom
Our cell group helped save my troubled marriage. By God’s grace, He even allowed me, together with my wife, to serve in a cell group or D-group. He also opened an opportunity for me to serve in the Precious Hope Ministry where I actively minister to drug dependents.
Looking back, I realize that I did many of my not-so-good things because I had a distorted image of God and of myself. I was ignorant, and I anchored my self-worth on people’s perception and acceptance of me.
But God, in His faithfulness, showed me that my true identity and favored position are found in Christ. Through the power of His Holy Spirit, He is helping me to live a life consistent with who I really am in Christ. I have been unfaithful so many times, yet God remains faithful. Yes, I am a work in progress, but He who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of our Lord .
I will forever be grateful to my faithful Savior and Master JESUS CHRIST.
“Great is thy faithfulness!” All honor and glory to my faithful and loving Heavenly Father!
My Wife and Kids
Pastor Tony Dela Paz
Brother Tony de la Paz is a lay pastor and the Facility Director of Penuel Home, a drug rehabilitation and Christian recovery center. He is also the overseer of CCF Katipunan. He is married to Cynthia and has 3 kids — Patsy, Andi, and Matt.