I overcame drug addiction in my early 30’s, and a failing marriage in my early 40’s. Now I have the opportunity every day to share my story and encourage others. My name is Benjamin Swicegood, I am the media assistant at my church and an encouraging speaker. I also have a DJ business on the side.
My life started out good. I came from a good home with two loving parents. My dad worked a lot and was very successful. My mom worked as a secretary by day and took care of the house at night. She cooked and cleaned and of course took care of little me.
When I was 13 my parents split and I bounced back in forth between them for the next 5 years. I began to search for popularity and friends to fill voids in my life and eventually got hooked on drugs. Drugs took over my life. It was my escape but also my way to fit in. I began a daily routine that was nearly impossible to break. Eventually, this routine would lead me down a road of arrest, jail time and a long criminal record, filled with 3 misdemeanors and 5 felonies.
The last time I was in jail, I was really sick from heroin withdrawals. I weighed a mere 93 pounds and could barely walk. The only thing the jail would give me for pain was ibuprofen. What I didn’t know then was how hard those pills could be on an empty stomach. You see, when coming off of heroin you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, and your stomach is in knots. They were giving me 16 ibuprofen a day and after a few days of taking that dosage I ended up with an ulcer. The ibuprofen had basically put holes in my stomach and I was bleeding internally. I knew something was wrong when I fainted in my cell, so when I came to, I made my way down to the nurse who was giving out meds. Before I could reach her I fainted again. I woke up in medical, hooked up to an Intravenous “IV”. My blood pressure was so low that they made the decision to take me to the hospital for further treatment. So there I am in a hospital, chained to the bed with a guard in my room hooked up to more machines than I could count. It was scary, I was in and out of consciousness for hours. My blood pressure was still so low that something had to be done to save my life, so the decision was made to perform a blood transfusion. The procedure worked and hours later I woke up and slowly began to feel better. I was saved by the blood!
A few weeks later while sitting in my cell one night, I had an encounter with God that turned my life around. I basically said this: “God if you’re real I need your help. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve tried to do things my way and I keep failing. I almost died and I can’t live like this anymore. If you’re real, please help me! And I’m thrilled to say He did. After that night things began to line up for me.
My mom obtained a letter from a man who pastored a church with a discipleship program. This program was for addicts or people coming out of jail that needed help. It was a bible based program, that believed in working you every day around the church, to keep you busy. It was hard, I wanted to leave, like every day. But after about 4 months something happened. My heart began to break open and emotions came back that I hadn’t felt in years and I began to gain a heart for God and for people.
I would eventually meet my wife in the ministry, and after 14 months of dating, we got married. I was 35 at the time and she was 22. I had a great job in the ministry doing audio/ video for the church, and she worked as a teacher at a Christian school. A year after we got hitched, she got pregnant and we had our son. It was a rough childbirth, there were complications and he had to spend his first few days in the NICU. Just like his dad though, he made it through the hospital experience.
Life was good, for the next year we saved up some money and bought a house. I now had a family, a house, a good job, and a purpose. Years before this I was strung out on drugs living in a drug house, with no purpose, and no hope for a future, and now I’m living in my own house, working for the Lord and have a beautiful family.
But marriage, like life, is sometimes difficult. Especially with a 13 year age difference. We had different needs and wants and we weren’t filling the other persons. She wasn’t happy and wanted more than I had to give. This eventually led us to separate. It was a hard time, for both of us and for our son. He would stay with me for a day and then with her for a few days and back and forth. It was something we never wanted for him, but yet there we were. This went on for a couple years and during this process, I prayed and begged and even quit smoking cigarettes to show her and God I was serious. She had her own process that she had to go through (that I won’t share on my site) but God broke her down, just like he did to me years before, and her heart began to change. He created a new heart in her just like he did for me. A transformation was taking place and everyone could see it, even me.
I’m proud to report that in April of 2017 we reconciled. We decided to come together again and work as a team for ourselves, each other and our son. We have both grown a lot emotionally and spiritually, and the love we have for each other has evolved and grown to a new level. This time we will make it!
I hope this story encourages you in some way. I hope it lifts you up. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I believe I went through some tests, so I could have a testimony to tell you about. I believe I went through a whole lot of messy situations, so I could have a message just for you. The message is about hope, grace, peace and love. If you are struggling in those areas or in any other area of your life, I encourage you to reach out to me, leave a comment on here or contact me. I will help you any way I can.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)