Ep 69: Addiction vs Strongholds Pt 5
Hi there, it’s me thomas Harris again and this day is gonna be a unique day because we’re gonna hear an interview with Corey johnson who five years ago, four years ago, almost five years ago came to transformation life center, uh Vicki and I found the transformation life center upstate new york and he came there To get off drugs after 15 years on drugs, mostly heroin and God transformed his life. And the story is miraculous, come on and listen in on cory johnson as I interview him and I think you’re gonna be blessed because this guy has gone from one extreme to the other. So today we have Corey johnson here with me and Corey’s got a nice beautiful smile and we’re still talking about addictions versus strongholds. And what I wanna do is uh get the inside scoop from somebody who has been there, done that and knows what the, the addicted life is all about. I met Corey I guess it was almost five years ago, 2018, so four years ago and Corey was as skinny as a rail and he was very much in need, physically emotionally, mentally and spiritually. So we’re gonna start by asking a few questions. Uh, the first question Glory is, how did you get the transformation life center? This uh you know, christo centric biblical centric gospel centric therapeutic christian discipleship community. That’s a long mouthful, but there it is, how did you get their transformation life center? I had a friend who had come to TLC about four or five years prior and he was one of the only people that I knew that had gone into a program that was still sober? I, I understand that you’ve never been in a program before. That. No, this was my first time trying to get into a program. That really shocked me when I heard that. Because you have been using drugs for how long? 15 years 15 years. So give us your journey of the kind of drugs that you were using, you know, in a nutshell, Take a minute or two. Well it started at a young age taking pain killers recreationally and that ultimately what exactly were you taking? I would take percocets, but then that led to daily use of OxyContin and that was to kill what pain, no pain. Just, it was more of just, yeah, it was recreational. But I found that like I felt like it made everything better that I was doing, I can go and do anything. I go to work and go to school, I can go and have to do something I really didn’t enjoy, but it seemed to make things better. So was it better or just enhanced, enhanced I would say is the right word. Yeah. And, and uh, and that went from the pills to what to you get to a point, the pills are very expensive. I’m taking um 4-5 80 mg, OxyContin ins at one time, you know, that’s a lot of money and I had to switch over to heroin. Okay, heroin is a lot less heroin was a lot less expensive. Yes, it was that the main reason? Or were there other reasons that you did that? Um That was the main reason I’d say it was it was just I couldn’t afford pills anymore. I also moved to another state because I tried to run away from my problems and when I moved to California, I kind of lost all the connections I had for pills and they’re not very easy to get. But heroin’s right there. You just drive down to the right street and you’ll find it. So, so it was accessible. Yeah, easily accessible. All right. So you went like that for how long? So you were about what age when you started the heroin? I was 27 I think. So I had been using Um painkillers since I was 21. Okay. And then you and then you got on the heroin then. What happened? Were you working during this time? Oh yeah, I was fully functional. I mean, I would always have moments in my life that were pretty high and then they would be really low. You know, it was never consistent. I would have a lot of peaks and valleys. But um I would work. You wouldn’t, no one knew I was even an addict. You know, I would work and I’d go down to the streets. They get drugs. Yeah. What kind of work? I sold construction for a construction company and I was good at it. So there were the days that I couldn’t wake up and make it to work because I was sick they would allow because I was successful at my job, you know? Okay. And that lasted for how long, You know, you’re in California, you’re you met other people? What? So what’s next? That was about three years in California doing heroin and working and staying out there and then I moved to colorado after that. Trying to run away again again. Yeah. Running away from what? Just running away from my problems. The drugs. I figured if I if I could just cut the cord, get away from all the people I knew I could get away from drugs and just what’s your purpose now? I mean it’s okay, you left Jersey, you’re now left California, you’re going to colorado. So what’s what’s in it for Corey nothing. Just to get away from all the things that I was attached to. Really just something new. Try something different. And that actually ended up being probably my worst time colorado. What place in colorado? Denver? Denver? So what happened there in Denver? Why was it so bad? Um I started by I didn’t have a job that was great. Wasn’t making as much money as I used to, but I still had the same habits and I also then found crystal meth out there. So I was doing both speed and Heroin? Oh my goodness. Yeah, that’s not a good combination. No, no. So what happened now? I mean did you say your body must have been going nuts? I was, I was down to like 130, 40 lb, something like that. And I’m normally Â£200. My brain wasn’t functioning properly. And I was, I was in rough shape. I was living out of a hotel that’s about as close as I got to being homeless. I mean for about a couple of months, stayed in a hotel room in a really gross hotel, you know? And then out of nowhere one day I got a call from a friend of mine um, the one of the one that actually introduced me to TLC, like he saw a picture of me on facebook. So TLC TLC is transformation Life center has been there for 40 years. And uh Vicky, my wife and I founded TLC because we uh, we wanted a place for young men and women because my friends were all dying and I wanted to, I wanted to be out of the city about an hour and a half away. I prayed about it. And the fourth lee home for Children when we saw Vicki and I saw it, we thought, man, this is great, we can bring people up here, keep them here and detox them not only you know, physically emotionally mentally, but more importantly spiritually because we were going to use the scriptures, the bible to transform people’s minds. In fact romans 12 1 and two became our key thought, our motto, I Beseech you. Therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your body as a living sacrifice. Holy acceptable to God is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. So um you go there, you you wind up at TLC Corey and what was your first impressions that day? Because I know your mom dropped you off. Okay. So what happened? Well that day when I got up there um I was dry. I had been up all night long, you know, just trying to get as much drugs and alcohol into me. Like this was the last the last data drug. Yeah, mm hmm. And then I also didn’t know we weren’t allowed to smoke up there. So I was charging my Vape on the way up and got in there and they took it away from me. So that was a bit of a shock right away believe it or not, when you’re in that state of mind, that’s a shock, you know? But I got up there and um I was in rough shape and uh I my first thoughts were I was wondering, I I thought it was gonna be on a lake because I was going to upstate new york, I thought I was going like on vacation, but I got up there and I crashed, I fell asleep at 12 o’clock. I got dropped off in the morning and slept for 24 hours, 12 o’clock noon. You crashed until the next day until the next day. Yeah, yeah. So um so then the first day you’re there, what are you thinking? Are you thinking of bolting running? Oh yeah, of course I’m and now I woke up, the first thought I had when I woke up in the morning was what did I do? You know? I was like, oh no, I’m trapped, I had no money. I I I was in one of these really bad valleys that you find yourself in as an addict, you know? And I woke up and I was in rough shape because I didn’t go to detox at that time in my life. I was I’ve been taking methadone for three years, a 50 mg of methadone a day. Yeah. Mhm. And then people don’t understand what that is, I mean, how do you how do you come off methadone of 150 mg? You know, that’s pretty severe. So did you typically, you don’t, you don’t, that’s right, you die? Yeah. So now what? So I said I was gonna just quit. Cold Turkey. I kind of told myself that I had suffered through getting the addiction, I’m gonna suffer through getting rid of it too. So I got to understand that you have been on 100 and 50 mg of methadone when you got up there. Yeah, I didn’t go to detox, I went straight from, I went to the methadone clinic that morning and then drove up the TLC. Okay, All right now the story has gotten more, more miraculous for me because I know guys that were still on 10 mg or five million and they’re still trying to get off of that. So uh probably could kill a horse if you gave him 100 and 50 mg. But you had built up your resistance. So now give me the, your experience at TLC transformation life center, you your experience with the bible and what these crazy people are all about. Well, when I first, at first, after, you know, the first week um I finally settled in and like I said, I was in rough shape, so my mind wasn’t really working, I didn’t sleep for a week. So in that time frame, I really didn’t even understand what was happening. But in the second week I I started to wonder like what, what’s what’s in it for these people, why are they doing this? You know, like why are they so nice to me, what there’s there, they’ve got to be getting something out of this for us. Yeah, yeah, because you know the world, you’re in the world, you’re so used to like if anybody’s doing something for you, it’s because they’re getting something out of it as well, you know, and I wasn’t used to that have been used to a rough world coming into TLC and it took a while for that to be um for my brain to realize that there were people out there that that just wanted to help and I would ultimately learn, you know about the word of God and why? But okay, so what where was the transition for you? When was the the transformation, the salvation experience? And what did that mean? What did it look like for Corey johnson on that? I’m I said I didn’t sleep for seven days on that seventh night, I was laying in bed and I said if I don’t sleep tonight, I’m going to the hospital tomorrow because I was really losing my mind badly um from lack of sleep. And that night I fell asleep and I actually had a dream, I had a dream that I was sitting on a curb with some guy who turned out to be jesus, and I’m talking to jesus and he tells me that he needs my help and I was like about your help with what and I any he tells me he needs help getting all these beautiful people to heaven, you know, they need they need direction. And at that point, I didn’t know about the Gospel. I’ve never heard the I’ve never heard the great commission of sharing the Gospel to all nations, to all people, you know, telling them the truth. So like that was a direct message from God, I believe, wow, wow. And that was how how long into your time at transformation life? That was one weekend, that was one weekend, 77th day of the seventh day. So what did you do? I woke up and I was a little confused and I didn’t really know what, still know what was happening, but what, what had been taking from my mind, I was still physically in rough shape, but all those thoughts like you said earlier of leaving and jumping in the car and running away and trying to get more drugs were just gone. Um I’m sorry, let me take that back. Not in that moment, a couple of days later, sitting in class, the teacher was preaching and he didn’t even know this was happening, but I was having like an internal battle, me and Lord and everything around me and I felt like everyone was coming and preaching directly to me. Like there was a plan in the background to try to get to me like that’s what I believe, you’ve been set up. Yeah, exactly. And finally in the middle of class, I just stood up and I was like, fine, I’ll do it, and the teacher was like, do what? And I was like, I’ll accept jesus christ as my Lord and savior. And as I said, that snap went off in my head I got chills running through my body and it was like a bell went off in my head and from that moment on was when that those thoughts were gone. It wasn’t after I woke up on it’s interesting a snap went off in your head and you got chills and and we were talking about that right before we did this program and we’re probably gonna have to do 30 minutes on this. So but I I just I’m just thinking you told me what that snap was and you tried to explain it, explain it again. Yeah, I mean I believe that I had been oppressed. You know I had been using drugs for so long. They had been my demons and I believe that I was oppressed and that was the demon’s fleeing from my body, genius, jesus came into my life and you know the Yeah strip scripture says they can’t be in the same place, jesus and demons you know and they’re gone and I just think it was that flip. Mm hmm. So then you started you you know you jesus is there the demons of God. You start your journey with the bible and with the family of God at transformation life center. So I mean I I kept my eyes on you. I was looking you know what was going on in your life and I’m thinking this guy, this guy has changed, this guy is different, what is going on here and and it was so radical. So I’d like to know what was going on in the next couple of months next whatever and by the time you decided you’re gonna go with Holden over to Zambia, I I don’t know if you remember or not but just a little background and how little I knew about the bible. Do you remember when you asked me to read scripture? Yeah. You had no idea. You had no clue what’s that. Yeah. You asked me what what bible version I was reading from and I said the holy bible. Yeah that’s only what you need. Yeah. So I didn’t even know that there are different bibles. So um so yeah I get into the word while I’m at TLC and you know I’m studying and we go through classes each week and each day actually and learn about the scripture and the truth about God and his love for us, you know? And um holding a friend of mine there was really on fire to go into the mission field, you know? And and to me at that moment it seemed really cool. Go out and share the gospel, but I didn’t really know exactly what it was. Yeah, yeah exactly, that’s where I was yeah it was an adventure but man holding it was just so on fire for it and like um so missionaries came and shared, we were lucky enough to have some pretty great people come in and preach at TLC, you know, they bring some pretty amazing people in for us and they shared about what their life was like and Holden signed up to go to advanced emissions training and Zambia. And he kept encouraging me to come along with him and then he offered to pay my application fee. So I was like, yeah, why not? Because I didn’t have money at the time. Yeah. So he pays for my application fee. I fill it out, I get accepted And Holden and I, we had to raise the support to get there and literally within a month we were both, you know, but this is the miracle for me, it was a big amount of money. I was like $18,000. So I’m like, yeah, for the two of us when they came and told me what they were going to do, I was like, yeah, sure they’ll never do that, you know? And then they came and said, okay, we got it. I’m like what? I just couldn’t. I just could not believe how fast the Lord opened up these doors for you. Why is it so surprising for me? O me of little faith, you know? And then to see you guys go there together, spent three months there and this is the best part of it. Your wife is sitting right here and you met her on the mission field because you were obedient and listen to God’s voice and holding and went there. Okay, well that’s the thing ever. The obedience is something that I have learned is so important because all these decisions that I’ve now made from TLC are following God’s direction and, and every single time there’s been a blessing that I was not expecting on the other side. You know, and my wife being one of them. That’s a fantastic thing. Now, you you are still going to Zambia. Yes, You, you’re not as your wife excited about what you met her there. So she’s excited about being a missionary. Right, Tell me about that journey. Yes. So we went to Zambia for three months and we trained to, to do missionary work in third world countries over land. We’re with over land missions and Their goal is to reach some of the most neglected places in the world. You know, that’s their undertaking. They’ve taken on, um, you know, using four by four vehicles to get to places. For instance, where we’re going in Zambezi. It’s a good 30 hour flight with Two different planes. Then you drive for 20 hours directly into the middle of Africa. That’s how far you’re going into the Bush. Those are the people who are going to reach people that have never heard the gospel before. Never had anybody come from the outside world to tell them the truth, you know? So that’s where Candace and I committed to go to after doing that training in Zambia for three months. So um right now we’re in a season of trying to raise partners to help us get there, but we believe we’ll be leaving in the next couple of months, wow, You know, so you you’ve had to raise a ton of money, but now you you how, how much, how much of a percentage have you raised in the last couple of years? We have, we’re up to 72%. Yeah, I want to, I want to stand up and start clapping, you know, 72%. That’s fantastic. So what would you say has now has been the most uh powerful thing about you as a couple now, I know she’s here, but you’re you’re talking what what have you done as a couple to maintain your, you know, a single mindedness, not turning to the left or to the right, you know, this nautical term uh Prosecco, which means to, you know, fix everything on this target and go that way. So as, as believers, as disciples of jesus christ, what have you done on a daily basis? What are you doing? And what can you tell others about the commitment you’ve made? Yeah, I mean, we we really um support and encourage one another Candace and I each day with and holding each other accountable, you know, and lifting each other up to make sure that we’re staying on our goal, on our targets and on our goals because God has called us to do something and um the great thing I’ve found about being married is that like if I’m falling short one day and Candace is right there to pick up the slack and then if she’s falling short, when one day I’m right there to pick up the slack and that’s why God created us to be a team to become one, right? And that’s what I think that the big thing is just being there for each other and talking about things and um and just helping one another through things. That’s that’s and it’s five months and you have like 40 years. So I don’t know, like 50 years. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So how do you hold yourself accountable? What what’s going on? Like we just like to like, if we see something, we we call it out immediately, we just bring it right to the light. You know, if some someone’s not doing in a in a in a right way, in a way that is loving, loving way. Yeah, But but bring it right out. There’s there’s no need for it to be shameful or anything, which is call it out and move on and and better ourselves. I think that’s the big thing we do now. We’ve been talking to Corey johnson, I wanna tie his story to another story in the bible, uh he we went from addictions or strong goals in his life, there was demon is um involved and jesus cast him out And just like the guy in the Bible in Luke chapter eight verse 35 would just look at this one verse, It says there was a fivefold transformation in this man’s life. In Luke chapter eight verse 35. It was spiritual, it was physical, it was mental, it was emotional, it was social, totally transformed. I mean we’re talking about a guy who’s cutting himself, he’s locked bound to this big you know marble and you know nude terrorizing everyone all of a sudden, you know, he’s sitting at the feet of jesus, he spiritually changed, he has Close, some disciple loved him enough to give him his you know clothes and of the 12 something something they pooled their resources, they say I oh I got two pairs of you know sandals, I got you know another cloak, whatever, whatever they had, they shared it with him. And then mentally the bible says he was in his right mind and then emotionally, you know, he was calm, he was totally calm and then socially he wanted to go with jesus at the jesus christ bible institute, you know to follow jesus like a disciple, I would have told him, yeah come with us and jesus said no, no, no you go home and tell them what great things god has done for you. So jesus knew that he had some broken bridges, broken relationships with his mom with his dad with his brother with him who knows? But God didn’t tell him come and follow me in this case. He told him go home and tell him what great things God did for you. So even my time being home of course I feel like I wanted to be on the mission field and we’re here raising support. But that’s exactly what God’s given me. It’s given me a time to get you married with my family, my my family that I hadn’t seen for so long. I’m now becoming the godfather for my sister’s first baby that she just had four months ago which would have been impossible Uh four years ago. You know like so I think that’s that God is is definitely keeping us here for a reason and that’s one of them until we do get funded and leave. So then there was this other aspect besides those five things it says that this guy went away and began to proclaim after he went home go home and to your people and report what great things God has done for you and how he has mercy on you. And he went away and began to proclaim Indianapolis 10 cities. And if you look at the Coppola’s 10 cities where uh and they’re all around where he lived. So you know you’ve got Becca is 10 and greek policies city and it was a group of 10 cities on the eastern frontier of the roman empire in the southeast levant in the first century B. C. And A. D. The cities formed a group because of their language, culture, location, political status and each functioning as an autonomous city state dependent on Rome. Now when you look at the red hair, the cities with Damascus can tha Dion, rabbani hippos and ski theopolis paella garza garage where he was living. That’s where he was from in philadelphia. These were the tent cities. So this guy became an evangelist, the demon possessed dude is now clothed in his right mind goes home and he’s got a bass and his family, they accept him. They love him there like what look at this guy And he made you know probably a 50 mile radius here. He becomes a pillar in the community. Yeah he’d be not only in his community but in so it’s probably 75 mile radius in some of these other cities where he’s going and preaching what jesus christ has done for him. So we’ve been listening to uh Corey johnson and how God has transformed you a verse of scripture that you could share in closing and in a in a final thought I always like Luke 1733 for he who seeks to find his life shall lose it. But for he seeks to lose his life shall find it. That he couldn’t have closed the program with anything better that that is uh one of the verses petty species. You know it talks about how God uh, did this. And uh, I wish we had time to get into that. But some other time, the first program on uh, it’s all greek to you. It’s all greek to me. The first program. If you go to the City Vision website www city vision dot org and then click on and you’ll see tom and Vicky are series and go all the way down to program number one. We deal with it. And he was there to hear that message when we preached it. God bless you with tom Harris.