Dalton's Story

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As a little kid, I went to church with my grandma and all my cousins. I did that for a long time, went to church camp and stuff like that. I turned church into a social outlet. I was pretty much just going to have fun. I kind of used church and I viewed God like a spare tire, I called upon Him when I needed Him. Some of the people that I went to church with were hanging out with me and drinking. Then a lot of them left the church. I finally got to the point in my life where I was tired of being a hypocrite. I needed to stay focused on one thing. To me it was the world; it wasn’t Jesus. So I finally walked away from church.

Drinking and smoking weed was a main part of my life. I grew up in a small town where my family was known for selling and making drugs, so I felt like I had a reputation to uphold. I usually always ran with the bad crowd no matter where I went. All of the friends I had were the ones that partied and drank almost every night. Drinking and getting high is all I ever really wanted to do. When I was married, my wife was a bigger pothead than me. My father, who was also a weed smoker, was everything to me.

I never fully gave myself to the Lord. I thought about going back to church, and I kept telling myself I needed to go back. Then I wouldn’t. I always wanted my dad to go to church and accept God as his savior, but who was I to witness to him because he knew everything about me. There were times I said to him, “Man, go to church. Go to church.” I remember one time he told me, “This is not helping you. So why would it help me?” That destroyed me.

When he passed away, it was so sudden and unexpected. It was something that really tore me up, because I know he wasn’t saved. For the longest time, I didn’t want anything to do with church because I didn’t want to believe that my dad was burning and suffering in hell! I never blamed God or cursed him for it; I just didn’t want to hear about heaven and hell. My dad was a good person and was loved by many, but his heart wasn’t in the right place.

My dad was one of the main reasons I intended to go to church again. God kind of spoke to me one time. He was like, “You might have lost your dad, but you’ve still got your other family. You’ve still got your mom, your sister, your friends and all that. Will you still be a stumbling block?” I was like, “I’m still not going back.”

I gave up on life and things with my wife went downhill fast. I didn’t have a job and I turned to stealing to buy weed. My drinking began to really affect me. My wife started school and we both started to cheat on each other. We ended up getting a divorce and I ended up moving back to my hometown and things really turned for the worse. I started taking pills again and started selling drugs and drinking every day.

My church was constantly praying for me, but I lived as a hypocrite the whole time I was going to church, because I didn’t want to live like that, so I always avoided them. I was homeless and went from one friend’s house to another. I was choosing to run from God and choosing to live the way I wanted. I was being stupid all around in my decisions, and I convinced myself that I deserved to burn in hell.

I made a promise to God that I was going to start going back to church because I could feel God dealing with me. I continued to keep drinking and not doing what I promised. I just partied and drank a lot. Hanging out and partying on the weekends became my big thing. The next thing I knew it became my daily thing. I started drinking a lot and smoking a lot. Popping pills and selling drugs and alcohol pretty much just took over my life. Every day I was getting drunk. I had a pretty good job, and even when I was at work
I was still drinking and all that.

My manager was drinking with me. Then it just took over and I became a whole new, different kind of person. I struggled one morning to make it home because I chose to swim across a big lake. I started to sink and I cried out to Jesus. I asked Him to help me and keep me safe, and I’d go back to church. I made it across, got out, and stumbled home. I never even thanked God for protecting me.

I remember I went to a party and we spent the whole night drinking, and then we ran out of beer. Early in the morning, on the way back from the store, we had a car wreck. My friend wrecked the car and then got out and ran for help. My friends rushed me to the hospital. When I got to the hospital, they had to revive me. After I got out of the hospital, I went back to where I was living and I should have just opened my eyes. But as soon as we got home, it was like a bottle of vodka and a big 30-pack. I just got drunk all over again and stayed drunk a few days.

One thing I still remember about the wreck though is that I described the whole wreck to a tee. I knew what it looked like and what the car looked like. When I got home, my friend came over and he was like, “You remember how you told them what the wreck looked like and how you climbed out of the car? That never happened. You were knocked out cold.” I was laid over the dash and everything. They had to drag me out of the car. Right then and there I just broke down. I could have died; I think I did die. That’s the only way I can explain it, because it blew everyone’s mind how I knew what the wreck looked like. Everyone said I was right, but they said there was no way I could have seen.

I remember laying in bed, and I was thinking about everything. Then there was a knock at my door, and usually it was my pastor. My Mom came and told me there was someone at the door for me. Usually she tells me if my pastor’s there. I was like, “Tell him an excuse. I’m not here or something.” This time she wouldn’t tell me who it was, so I was like, “All right, I’ll get up and shake it off.” Sure enough it was my pastor, and I stood there talking to him. He asked me to go to Warrior Leadership Summit. I said, “All right, man, I’ll go. I’ll go.” It was like the next day.

I went to WLS and for me it was for the social aspect. It was there that I heard the words “You can’t be a warrior if you’re a casualty, a deserter, or a prisoner of war.” I should have been a casualty, and that broke me. I was like a man in tears. I was just yelling out to God, and I was like, “God, I’ll give You my life. All that I am. My heart, my mind, my spirit. Everything. I’ll use it for Your will.” Sure enough, I rededicated my life and He just came into my life and changed me.

I signed up for On Eagles’ Wings and I got the opportunity to go. I got to serve, and it was so awesome. That really strengthened me. I was focused on God, with God, and serving God. It really changed my life completely.
Thanks to God, I’m still alive. I’m no longer drinking and none of that stuff. I’m in college now. I’m playing college basketball and God has done so much for me in a short amount of time. It’s so amazing. I haven’t drank. I haven’t smoked...any of that.

I’ve been praying that God fulfills His will in my life and guides me through the wilderness as I face my struggles head on. I’m prepared to run to the Bible. The Devil has had a stronghold on my life for too long.