Glenn’s Story

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(Editor’s note: Glenn completed the Ascending Lights program in the spring of 2002. He received State Certification as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor shortly thereafter. He is employed as a counselor at a local non-profit and operates a Christian sober living home.)

“In my “BC days” (before Christ) in high school, I didn’t have any problems. Then, when I started my first year in college (in ’71) I kind of got into the experimental use of drugs, mainly marijuana and alcohol. In 1973 my cousin, one of my best friends in the whole world, was a drug dealer, and he didn’t have a driver’s license. I had a license and I had a car and he would need me to go to New York to buy drugs for him. That’s how they did it in the New Jersey area.

Everybody went to New York and Harlem to get their drugs and came back to sell them. As a result of that, I started using heroin a little bit, just snorting, you know, because I didn’t have to pay for it, and finally I got to the point where I enjoyed the high.”

“I joined the Army, went to Berlin. Drugs were everywhere. I messed around and met a Turkish guy who fronted me all the heroin I could get to sell. And so I was a dealer at that point, in the Army, and a user. I got away with it for a year until my last month in the service when I got caught with a urine test. And if it wasn’t for the fact that I was getting ready to discharge I would have received what they call a Chapter 13 or Chapter 16 (dishonorable conditions). And so, it just so happened that I was favored (by God), because instead of going through all those procedures they just allowed me to go because I only had two weeks left. So they just said, ‘Forget it’ you know ‘Just let him go.’”

“(After my discharge) for a ten year period it was constant using, going to jail once a year, minimum, for anywhere from three months to nine months, never doing any more than that. The year 1991 was the turning point because out of all those times I went to jail I had only done county time, and so this time they sent me to (state) prison. I guess they got tired of rehab and all of these little petty thefts. That’s what I was getting caught for. It was nothing major. It’s just that my forte at that time was stealing liquor. And liquor sold. I never had a problem getting rid of it, and that is what I did. I went to every store and supermarket I could go to and steal their liquor. And I finally went to prison.”

“I went to prison in ’91 and was bombarded by some brothers in Christ. I wouldn’t say just one particular person but a flux of people. It seemed like everywhere I went and turned somebody was witnessing to me. And it just kept happening, everybody’s talking about the Lord, and it was really something. And the last time I remember I was on my bunk and this guy just came over and just asked me to go to church with him. And I went. I figured, yeah okay, let me come, man. And we went and the service was so nice, and I just started going and kept going, and kept going, and that’s around when I accepted the Lord, right there in prison.”

“Now in ‘94 I had a relapse because I did something stupid. I got back in touch with my ex-girlfriend. I don’t know how I allowed that to happen but I knew better. As a result of kicking it with her for a while I got right back into the same (drug) thing. Eventually I did some cocaine and it gave me a heart attack.”

“I went to court and the judge had to be a Christian because he looked at the paper that my attorney had given that recommended that I go to this Christian rehab and he said, ‘Ah, I’ve never heard of this ministry. Where are they at?’ And so I begged the Lord, ‘Please oh God, please, if you get me out of this I’ll never ever, ever do it again.’ And He did. He did His part. He got me out of there and allowed me to go to that Christian rehab. And I stayed there.”

“Eventually I got back to work and got re-established with my church again. My heart attack allowed me to get on disability. So that’s what sustained me, financially anyway. When you’re on SSI, they allow you to work as long as you report it. I had clerical skills and we needed a secretary at church and so pastor let me be church secretary. And low and behold, I’m at work one day and I look on the bulletin board and, you know, I see this (Ascending Lights) sign. I had been talking for months about going back to school, you know, because I interrupted my college stuff with drug use and everything. I said maybe I need to go back to school and get certified or something you know, ’cause I knew it wasn’t too late even at that age.”

“At the same time I got into the recovery process and started finding out about that. I started a ministry at my church called, Broken Chains, where we would do drug and alcohol meetings and stuff like that. And that’s when I got the idea to go ahead and be a drug counselor. So I finally touched bases with the (Ascending Lights) program and started going to L.A. City College. I was eager to get this thing going!”

“After I had been indoctrinated into the recovery process, I started sponsoring people. This one guy came up to me and wanted me to be his sponsor. And it turned out to be a great guy. He started following all the rules and went to his meetings. And come to find out the guy and his dad own a lot of property and he used his property on drugs. So after he got himself into recovery he got a couple years under his belt, he and his dad thought about getting back together again. And his dad allowed him to take over one of the properties. And he had asked me, he said ‘What do you think about opening up a sober living home?’ I said, ‘That’s cool’, you know. He said, ‘Well, I think we are getting ready to do that. I want to know if you want to run it for me.’ And I said, ‘Yeah.’ I’m pretty cool because I already knew what they were about and everything and so we made our little arrangement, our little deal. And pretty much the deal was that I wouldn’t receive a salary but I would live rent and utility free. So we made our deal. We’re going on five years almost now.”

“I got certified (through the Drug and Alcohol program at L.A. City College). And I got a job right away as soon as that Proposition 36 opened up. It just worked out so beautiful and I think at that time I was asking the Lord, ‘Yeah, okay I think I’m kind of ready for marriage now.’ That’s when I met Charlotte. I met her in recovery and everything. And you know we dated and were engaged for about a year and you know we went to our pre-marriage counseling and did all our homework. We got married a year and a-half ago.”

“God has just blessed me so much through the (Ascending Lights) program. The (leadership) training is impeccable. I can’t tell you how much of the training material I incorporated in my recovery group. An example is the spiritual gifts training, ’cause once you stop using drugs you’ve got this void, you know, from all that time that you were using the drugs. So the Spiritual Gifts Inventory was one of the main things that I incorporated with them: To utilize the gift that God gave you. And I said, ‘Look, God gave you a gift. You might not know it. But if there’s something in you that gives the desire to want to do something and it’s good, that’s just not a fleeting thing, that’s the Lord speaking to you.’”

“Ascending Lights has been so instrumental in my life. It gave me the opportunity to get the education that I needed and it gave me that leadership training that I needed. I don’t know where I would be without Ascending Lights and that’s the truth.”