By Joy Cannis: “God, please help me.”

At one point in my life, this was my daily plea as I came down from whatever I was high on.  Vivid images flood my mind as I close my eyes tightly and relive those moments. The stench of cigarettes, liquor and dance-floor fog. The guns on their hips; mine holstered securely on my thigh. Long white lines laid out on a table…

“Do the whole thing or you might as well not do any at all.  You’ll be free.”

And I was free … for a few hours. But the elusive high is like chasing a ghost.   And for years, those thoughts and images acted like a mental prison, closing the door behind me.

Those of us who have been addicted to evading reality understand that dark, inescapable hell where you can no longer control the madness. The drugs, alcohol, sex, cutting, stealing -- name your poison – stop working one day.

So I am overcome with gratitude as I lay in bed, more than a decade later.  In the stillness of the night, I stare at the ceiling, replaying that prodigal past.  I feel warm tears run down the sides of my face, because I once was lost, but now I’m found.

I once thought I was beyond human aid.  But I wasn’t.  And more than that, I was worth it. God loved me in my darkest hour, and though I deserved death, I know His protection sustained me.

As you stare at your ceiling, what voice are you listening to?  If it is telling you anything other than, “You are worth saving,” then it’s a lie. You and I both were created with great purpose.  We are worth it, and we are People of the Second Chance.