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An Atheist Finds Freedom from Alcohol and Drugs
He couldn’t explain the sudden freedom from a cycle of drug abuse and depression. Who but God could have set him free?

I grew up in a violent, alcoholic home. The first time I remember being drunk, I was six years old.

Loring Anderson

By the time I was 12, I was an alcoholic – and had also started using hallucinogens such as LSD and MDA. I was very violent in school, getting into many fights.


One night, when I was 16 years old, I got into a fight while in a drunken, drugged state. I was responsible for the death of another boy.

I was charged with second degree murder. I was found guilty of manslaughter, and sentenced to a juvenile detention center – and was there until I was 18.

Shortly after being released, I started shooting up with needles – doing drugs such as speed, heroin and cocaine. It didn’t matter to me what kind of drug it was – as long as I got high.

When I was about 19, I met a young woman – and we had our first son by the time I was 20. When I was 21, I found out I had muscular dystrophy – which became another excuse to drink and drug.

We had another son in 1977, and another in 1982. Their mother and I had an off-and-on relationship because of my alcohol and drug use.

Crystal meth

I would drink during the week, and use drugs – mostly crystal meth – during weekends and layoffs.

In 1984, I got an out-of-town job paying approximately $100,000 a year; in 1986, we got married – believing the job would fix everything. We bought a house in 1987 – and that job ended in 1988.

By 1990, my drug addiction to crystal meth was severely affecting my behaviour. In 1991, we separated and sold our house. We each got $55,000.

Within two and a half months, I had spent my share of the money on drugs.

I got another job on a pipeline, and took home $15,000 in a month; I was broke in less than a month.

By this point, every time I shot up, I would go into a drug-induced psychosis – and would imagine things, and hear voices plotting against me. I armed myself with all sorts of weapons to protect myself.

Kidney failure

In February 1995, as a result of my drug use, my kidneys shut down. Because my veins had all collapsed from the drug use, the doctors had to cut into my carotid artery to put in a catheter, so they could hook me up to a dialysis machine.

I was in critical condition for about ten days, and in that time had also suffered congestive heart failure – and had acquired major blood poisoning through the shunt in my carotid artery.

While lying in the hospital bed, I saw my life for the mess it was – and I knew it was my fault.

After two weeks, my kidneys started working on their own, and they released me from the hospital. To my amazement, I no longer desired alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes.

Although I was an atheist, I knew something greater than myself had taken away my addictions – because I could not do it!

My sister Sandy had come into my life a year or so before my kidney failure. She suggested that it was God who had taken away my addictions – and I could not explain it any other way.

Two months after the hospital stay, I went to a drug and alcohol treatment centre at Sandy’s suggestion. I was also diagnosed with bi-polar depression, and placed on anti-depressants.

Shortly after the treatment centre, I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. I did all that they suggested – but after seven years clean and sober, I wanted to kill myself.


By this time, Sandy and I had developed a strong relationship – and she had become a Christian through the Alpha course. I told her of my suicidal thoughts, and she suggested I ask Jesus into my life.

I had reached the end of myself, and had nothing to lose – and I wanted the peace I saw in my sister. So I very simply asked Jesus to come into my life.

That was a Friday evening – and by Saturday, a lifetime of depression was gone. I completely stopped the meds, with no ill effects. That was in 2000.

In 2001, I went to my first Alpha course. I came to know that I was a child of God’s – and that, as His child, I mattered.

I have been a part of four Alphas now, at Maple Ridge Community Church. What God has done in my life is truly a miracle! Every question and doubt I’ve had about Jesus and the Bible has been answered to my satisfaction. I also have had the God-given privilege of watching many others set free by God.

I am awed by how God has taken me from being a violent, arrogant, self-centred junkie – and, through His Spirit, enabled me to become a caring, loving, kind, gentle and godly man.

Eternity does not afford enough time to express how grateful I am to our Lord and Saviour. I love Jesus – and whatever He wants is what I want.

Originally published in B.C. Christian News, January 2008.

Used with permission.  Copyright © 2008




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