Testimony Tuesday: Ryan Holden Intake pic - 12/11/2020 Current pic - 03/22/2021
"I remembered not even a month ago I was under the bridge in Knoxville homeless. I lost connection with my family and friends. This was a very depressing time in my life. I made a conscious decision that I didn't want to live the rest of my life like this. So, I checked myself into the hospital and they transported me to Moccasin Bend Mental Health. This was when I was introduced to Safe Harbor. Safe Harbor saved my life. I am now working on my recovery. I now have a job thanks to Safe Harbor and God. God has restored my family. He has given me a fresh new start. I now have a new perspective on life and, God has given me a platform to walk on.
Testimony Tuesday: Joseph Taylor Intake pic - 11/04/2020 Current pic - 02/14/2021 "It's nearly impossible for many addicts to identify the root cause, main contributor, or even the major contributors of/toward their drug addiction. However, in retrospect, I have come across the one identifiable factor of my life that seems to hold the most weight in this aspect. It was not the loss of my brother to suicide at age seventeen, not my parents' divorce, not peer pressure, not my rebellious nature nor my incessant need to experiment, not the extraordinary accessibility to various drugs; no, it did not stem from any of these likely culprits (although, admittedly, they all more than likely contributed to the result of my addiction in their own individual and unique ways). Social anxiety was "the one" the steam in the engine, the match to the gasoline. Described by my first psychiatrist as social paranoia. I was doomed from the moment I swallowed my first prescription pill for ADHD (given to me by the same doctor). It was an amphetamine known as "Vyvanse." The overwhelming engulfment of pure sociability that followed from taking my legal medication made me believe that I had finally found my "miracle pill" for the elephant in my life. Soon after, abuse followed; the ill-conceived logic that "two is better than one" lasted until the money and efficiency of that method failed me. I had moved on towards dependence with a foot and two arms in addiction. As a college student, money was scarce, and (mind you, this is in no way a valid justification for this change) I needed more and more. I graduated to methamphetamine by junior year. As you probably have heard this story plenty of times, I'll summarize the gritty details: eventually, after telling myself I'd only snort and eat the drug, I gave in and smoked and then used it intravenously. Of course, my intentions seemed okay, just trying to conserve, right? All in all, I traveled down that path longer than I should have. I dropped out of college three times, finally got my math degree, been clean off meth for almost a year now, and have finally rekindled my relationship with Jesus."
Testimony Tuesday: Kameron Cunningham Intake pic - 09/25/2020 Current pic - 02/08/2021 "I have been a follower of Christ since I could remember. I was raised in the church my mother had us (me& my brother) attend church every Sunday rather we wanted to or not so, I couldn't tell you what my life was like before I became a Christian. I can tell you when I discovered who Christ is. My life as a youth is your average young man. I started school just as most do & did okay in my classes, just enough to pass as most of us do. I was smart but wasn't the top scholar. I played football where I found a certain thing I was good at & loved playing the sport. Having a group of people pushing each other to do better & motivating one another. Around my 2nd year in high school I had an injury (ACL tear), which required surgery. I could say I started my downward spiral into addiction. Before surgery, I would hang with friends that would offer me drinks & alcohol. Which in being a youth peer pressure would eventually win the battle. My access to a chemical that would get me into my darkest point was in my hand. After years of abusing drugs & alcohol, I reached out for help in places I thought would fix me, not saying it didn't help, but it or they were missing something/someone. After my second attempt to discover my purpose & change my life for the better. I prayed for the first time with total surrender willing, to give everything I have for God to come in & show me a new way of living so that I may have peace of mind. Knowing that He would never forsake me or leave me. The next step, I made a phone call & started a journey. I knew it would be the hardest thing to do but ever since I made it to Safe Harbor, I have found my purpose, and my connection with God is deeper than it has ever been for that, I am truly thankful."
"I grew up In church as a Pentecostal. I use to preach to the homeless in the streets and devoted my youth to Christ. But wondered why does God not talk to me, so I got angry at him. Long story short I, parted his ways. I entered the streets and started using drugs. Robbing, I was lost for 22 years of my life doing the devil's work. I was blinded by addiction. It took me losing all that I had. I hit rock bottom in and out of jail.
I surrendered to God. After I was released I was homeless. A man of God who was touched by God had time for me and brought me to his house. He told me God has a purpose for me, and he asked me if I trust God. I told him yes. He told me to give God the wheel, so I did. This man took me to Safe Harbor in Erin, TN. I stayed at this program for eight days. Then I came to Safe Harbor in Jefferson County. This is where I started my spiritual journey. God has touched my heart. Now I am a new man in Christ Jesus."
Testimony Tuesday: Keith Holden Intake pic - 10/05/2020 Current pic - 12/21/2020 "Growing up in my family, whether it be with my mother and father or my grandparents, I was in church almost every week. Sometimes even in the middle of the week due to my father's involvement with the church choir. My sister and I attended church school from kindergarten all the way through our senior year of high school. During which I was a sophomore class president. So my belief in God was never a question. But even in the midst of a Christian church and family, I realize now, at this point in my life that, my understanding of God the Father and Holy Spirit had only scratched the surface. Is a big difference between having knowledge or awareness of God's presence and being able to say that I know Him. God is an experience and not a feeling. It's a state of consciousness. I guess you could say that with all of the do's and don'ts that one could perceive to be the basis of being a Christian. At some point in my life, I gained a direct understanding of God and what being a Christian really was. I got discouraged and distanced myself not only from God, but from a lot of other things also. I became spiritually drained and emotionally detached. I started using drugs to numb myself. Things went from bad to worse. In and out of jail time and time again. I have been to rehab several times, and also not 1 but 2 trips to prison. The feeling of shame and guilt consumed. My anxiety played me every time. I found myself using drugs, even more, to cope with my feelings of inadequacy. During my last stay in county jail, I decided I had enough. With the help of my amazing mother and my bondsman, who just happened to be my best friend uncle, cared enough to mentioned to my mother in conversation that his brother-in-law David worked at Safe Harbor as the director. The next day, I arrived at Safe Harbor, which was October 5, 2020. I arrived at the farm, as we call it. On October 9, 2020 at 11;30 am, in Pastor Elkin's office, I rededicated my life to God. From that day, my feeling of guilt, shame, and all my anxieties ceased at that moment. I have experienced a peace that surpasses all understanding Philippians 4:7. I have not used drugs since I began my new journey. I am a redeemed child of the living God. New creation "Therefore if any man is in Christ. He is a new creation old: things are passed away behold all things are new. (2 Corn. 5:17)"
Testimony Tuesday: Keith Black Intake pic - 07/06/2020 Current pic - 10/14/2020 "On July 6, I came to Safe Harbor. My drug of choice was Meth. I realize I was going to die. It took a lot for me to realize I had a problem. Meth took over my life. After a week, I realized I need help. I came to Safe Harbor seeking help. After a while at Safe Harbor, my mind became clear, and my body started to feel normal. David and the staff were there to help me get back on my feet. I started to reach out to God, and He reached back to me. I always believed in God, but life pulled me away from His love. When I obtained my job some people were worried about me relapsing, but God has kept me. Now getting close to the end of this program, God is faithful. I know that I am stronger in body, mind, and soul. I am so thankful everyone took a chance on me, that means a lot. I have a good feeling about my future. I give God all the glory."
Testimony Tuesday: Billy Biggs Intake pic - 07/29/2020 Current pic - 12/04/2020 "My name is Billy Biggs. I was born and raised in the mountains of Western North Carolina. From the time I was born until early adulthood, I was always in church. So much, in fact, that as a young adult. I began to resent church. I have always been a believer but had stray from God. On a Sunday morning in February 2002, I gave my heart to God. He changed my life, but it didn't take long for me to fall back into my own selfish ways. I have been battling addiction for about 20 years. Going back and forth between God's will and mine. Finally, In July 2020, God made it possible for me to end up at Safe Harbor. I have finally given my all to God, and he has truly blessed me beyond measure. He has restored lost relationships and given me a peace that I have never known. Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty thing's, which thou knowest not." My God is the God of the impossible. Every day I am blessed more and more. God has taken me from the worst life and given me life abundantly. I have been redeemed if God can take me from where I have been and place me where I am today. Image what he can do for you!"
Testimony Tuesday: Brandon Ketron Intake pic - 10/07/2020 Current pic - 11/24/2020 "Before Christ came into my heart and life, I had no concern about how my actions affected others and myself. Due to my addiction and the desire to continue in it, I don't have a relationship with my two young sons. It took losing everybody and everything that I care about dearly to see the hopeless despair within my life. The first time the Lord spoke to my heart I was unwilling to submit whole heartily even though I desired to change. It took me a couple more years to realize and understand what it truly meant to repent and seek the Lord's will for my life. Today I feed the Holy Spirit within me thru the reading and studying of God's Word. With Christ in my heart and life, I can and will continue to crucify my flesh within me and find out God's purpose for my life. My favorite scripture is (Matthew 11:28) "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily laden, and I will give you rest."
Testimony Tuesday: Scott Robins Intake pic - 10/6/2020 Current pic - 11/16/2020 "I know everybody probably thinks that I've been a perfect angel all my life. Actually, I like to think of myself as a walking trash can putting poison in my body and leading others to a negative lifestyle. I've wasted most of my life in prison. Most of all, I was a terrible father, brother, and son. I always put my mindless needs and physical desires first before anything in life. Then something happened one morning. I actually listened to my brother and friend in unit 3 in Morgan County prison. I believe it was late October 2019. He gave me a Bible, later that week I got saved by rededicating my life to the Lord by allowing Jesus into my life. And the Holy Ghost to slowly work through my heart and mind. So the way I see it, I need to submit myself to the Lord humbly. In doing so, I have a new life in Christ Jesus."
Testimony Tuesday: Ralph Crabtree Intake pic - 09/03/2020 Current pic - 10/27/2020
"My name is Ralph Crabtree. I have been addicted to drugs and alcohol since I was thirty years old. I was brought up in the Baptist Church, I gave my life to the Lord at the age of sixteen, but I was never faithful to the Lord until I came to Safe Harbor. I was always a God-fearing man, but I never put my beliefs into practice. I have always been a God-fearing man. I came to Safe Harbor on September the fourth since then, I have been blessed with a great job at Morgan Olson in Loudon, TN. God has changed my life."
"Safe Harbor has not always been my home. For many years I struggled to get to the point where I can talk so candidly about my experiences. I was raised in a very abusive home - mentally, emotionally, physically. For much of my life I felt like I was an outcast. I've dealt with abandonment issues stemming from the things that I previously stated. There was rampant drug use in my home. From an early age I witnessed drugs being sold and done by family members around me. At the age of 11, I began to experiment with marijuana. Rapidly, I discovered how it made me feel and when I say feel, I mean suppressed the feelings and emotions that I tried to hide. Some say that marijuana is a gateway drug, and if I looked back on my life I would have to agree.
After using marijuana for a short period of time, around 6 months or so, I began to use crack cocaine. I was just 12. I was immediately addicted to that high and would do almost anything to achieve it again. It was not long after that I was incarcerated for the first time at the age of 15. My first incarceration was a direct result from drug use and I have not been out of the prison system a consecutive year since.
That all changed for me when I came to Safe Harbor. This month marks my 1 year anniversary as a free man in the world. I left prison and knew that I needed to make a change in my life, and that I wanted to help others change as well. That is why I truly believe the Lord has called out to me to be a part of the Safe Harbor program in Jefferson County. My relationship with Christ has only strengthened since I began in the Safe Harbor program, and I know that the staff truly cares about me and my needs as I grow into the man that the Lord wants me to be." - Jeffrey Carter