Meth, money and madness: Paul Swain shares his story of finding sobriety at The Salvation Army

Meth, money and madness

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Paul had, what many would consider, the good life. A high paying career, married with two children, and an ocean view home.

A few encounters with some guys on the job who seemed to “have limitless energy” and Paul found himself blowing money, addicted to crystal meth, and quickly spiraling downward.

Take a look at Paul’s testimony of overcoming addiction and completely entrusting his life to Christ in this heart-pounding video.

Below is a transcript of the video edited for readability.

Paul Swain: Life was everything I wanted.

Houses with ocean views. More licensed cars than licensed drivers. I was making a lot of money. It was just going great.

We were putting in 10, 12, 17 hour days and these guys were always energetic and were able to go surfing and have fun and work these massive hours. I wanted to be able to have that energy and I thought: Why is it they cannot get tired, and make more money.

I found it was crystal meth. Next thing you knew, I was hooked. The next seven years were a blur. I loved it. I was high the day I got married.

I couldn’t focus on anything being the one true love in my life except for the drugs and the alcohol. My wife said she was going to divorce me. I lost my businesses. I lost my kids. In about three years time, I hit the streets. Then it became a fearful, frantic attempt to survive.

So much energy went into it and by then the day would be gone, the drugs were gone, one day ran into another and before I knew it years had gone by and I was just stuck on “how do I survive today?”

I laid down on the beach just to rest for the afternoon and I woke up two days later, sunburnt, messed myself.

There was a sense of anger and total madness. I was the guy going down the street having a blood curdling argument with myself. I went insane.

So I went out to the beach that night, to the end of the jetty, and my goal was I was just going to jump off. I was going to commit suicide. And God just said, “It’s going to be alright.” I started crying. I said, “Lord, I just want to quit being high.” And then it hit me.

“The truth is I do want to get high, and I hate that I want to, so help me change on the inside.”

Even my own family wouldn’t take my calls. The Salvation Army said, “I’ll take your call.” I had nowhere else to go.

There was a love and an acceptance there. We had three other people that had completed the program that had stories just like mine and they didn’t need to drink anymore. I decided then I wanted to know Jesus like that.

He has become everything to me. My savior, my friend, true anchor, my gotta have it, everything is because of it, and I would do anything for him. Because he’s done everything for me.

With God on my side and good people around me, I was able to put a day behind a day and then years behind years. I would meet a woman that loves the Lord. We would get married two days after we were commissioned as Salvation Army officers, and later to have two more wonderful kids that now I get to raise in a way that is totally different. To set them up on the right path so they never have to see that father and that destruction.

Sadly, my first kids have followed in my footsteps. I got the letter saying that my daughter landed in California State Penitentiary, and she says that she wants to know God like I know God. It was everything I’ve been fighting for from the beginning—that she would come to this point and when she was ready that there would be a dad there who was ready to help her out.

I just got on my knees and I said, “Thank you, Lord. You proved faithful once again. Become real to her like you’ve become real to me.”

I believe that he will.

It just happened…it’s still overwhelming.

I didn’t know what had happened. I thought I’d be doing her funeral. And I probably, you know, think I might still be doing my son’s. But I’d sure rather be doing their weddings.

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