Testimony of Toney Maryland

September 2019

My name is Toney Maryland. My life before I surrendered was miserable and unstable. I felt like it was me against the world. I started drinking and smoking weed when I was around sixteen years old. At around nineteen this slowly progressed to smoking crack.  I thought I was blending in with the crowd, that I was around, trying not to be different. I use to love to drink and get high. As the years passed by I got worse, so did my nerves. I worked during the day and chased drugs and girls in to the wee hours of the morning. I lied on a daily basis, cheated when I could, and stole when the time was right. I told myself that I didn’t need any help and that I could handle this. I told myself that I could slow down when I wanted to and stop when I got ready. I was bold and hard-headed. I only prayed when things got bad. I was stubborn, miserable, and regretful because I knew I was throwing my life away but I didn’t care. I just wanted to smoke crack…A night stalker, I was. I went from one trap house to the next crack house chasing drugs every chance I got.

I came to the point of surrender when I got tired of the cycle that I was in. I felt like I was a hamster in a cage on one of those spinning wheels. I got to the point that I had to admit that I had a problem. Plus, my marriage was going downhill. My wife was going to leave me if I didn’t get help. I was tired and miserable and desperately needing a change.  It was at that point that I surrendered my life to God. I was clean for two weeks when my wife, Kim, found L.I.F.E. Ministries. I have been attending ever since my first Tuesday night visit.

My life since trusting God can be described as free, humble, and thankful. My eyes are open to the world that I use to live in. My thought patterns have changed. I am filled with His Holy Spirit! God has renewed my strength. The LORD has brought me from darkness into light. My wife and I are finally together as one. I thank God for His grace and His mercy. In the mighty name of Jesus, He has delivered me!

AMEN!

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“My LIFE”

By Jessica Getsinger

          

                                                                                                                   

My story started in 2015 when my involvement in substance abuse began. I started snorting pain pills, doing Xanax and sniffing cocaine on the weekends, mainly just for fun as I became more involved in the party scene.  My drug use in the beginning was only "sometimes."  I was the inquiring friend asking others to stop doing drugs.  I would often ask them, “Why are you addicted?" That was me! As a matter of fact, I remember helping a friend get clean and into a local rehab.  I never in a million years would have thought I was going to be in this situation UNTIL December of 2017.  It was during this time that I was faced with some huge situations that brought to me much pain. My son’s father left and went to prison.  I felt alone and helpless. This hurt me more than I can put into words.  I shoved the pain down deep inside, not telling anyone what I was going through during this time.

I don’t blame my addiction or anyone other than myself for the choices I began to make. I believe that as a person, YOU choose to use, but I now know that this event in my life was the beginning of a slow slide into a life of drugs.  I began to self-medicate my depression by ingesting more and more pills attempting to shake off the sadness that had quickly become an unwelcomed guest in my life. The pills quickly became my first addiction.  In as little as one month I had gone from swallowing the pills, to snorting, and I couldn’t seem to stop. By January, 2018, I knew I was addicted to pain pills.  The pills made me tired and I found it difficult to fulfill my role as a mother.  This led me to using cocaine to give me a boast to get through the day and to lift me up from the pain pills that I was still taking. 

I thought I was happy and doing okay.  I was still a functional addict.  I was able to hold myself together during all of this and I thought the drugs were helping me to cope with my inward pain and loneliness.  I was a working mother, living a "normal life," I thought.  Quickly these drugs caused me to drop down into a depression that only my mom saw.  She knew I was staying up late at night, spending lots of money, while I did everything I could to avoid her.  I would often bring my son to her so that I could chase after my addiction.  My life was spiraling out of control and I was headed for certain destruction.  I was home one evening all alone, I had picked up 5 pain pills, 'Perc 15s', and went to do them, only to discover that they were ALL fake.  I started to freak out!  I was broke and knew I'd end up dope sick if I didn’t get my fix.  I went to bed, the next morning came and there it was, 'the sickness' I had dreaded was coming.   I called my mom and my dad and told them I needed help.  I went to the hospital and from there I was sent to my first rehab, 'Holly Hills.' I was able to get clean from all the drugs that I had been doing.Honestly I did whatever I could to get through it so I could return home. 

Once I was home, I could hardly wait to pick up some more pills, which I did and my addiction continued following only about one week clean after detox.  When I came home, I went RIGHT back into the same things, with the same PEOPLE, into the same situations.  All I wanted to do was get high. My addictive behavior continued to escalate.  In was in June of 2018 that my cocaine usage really began to increase.  I was still taking pain pills, and this became an increasingly dangerous but daily mix for me to simply function.  Then in September, 2018 I went to buy some pills from a friend.  She invited me to come inside and hang out so I did.  Once inside I found others smoking crack.  I didn’t have my drug of choice, pain pills or cocaine, so I quickly joined them and I smoked crack cocaine for the first time.  This quickly became a strong addiction in my life.  I loved the feeling, the sound of the train, the way my head felt, and I thought I loved everything about it.  For the next several weeks I replaced all my other drug use with crack cocaine.  I began staying with others who were doing the things I did.  I then quit my job.  I found myself now jobless, lying constantly, and smoking.  The only thing I really wanted to do was smoke crack.  I began to stay out late at night, distancing myself from those who cared about me, and staying with others who were also addicted.  My drug use then took another step downward as I began snorting heroin which quickly led to injecting heroin into my bloodstream.  I feel in love with the "wash".  The feeling I experienced right after shooting heroin.  The warm feeling that I instantly felt was like no other.  Now I found myself jobless, my family was disappointed and struggling to understand me.  I didn’t even understand myself.  I was doing everything to hide my addiction, when really I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself. My life was going downhill fast.

In November 2018 I began shooting heroin daily, snorting pills daily, doing basically any drug available whenever I could.   I didn’t care what it was if it promised me a high.  I was addicted to heroin and experiencing "dope sickness" on the days that I couldn’t get the drugs I needed because I had no money or couldn’t find anything to steal.  I was a full out JUNKIE.  I decided it was time for me to get clean. I went to my second rehab, 'Walter B Jones' in December of 2018. After leaving this rehab I decided I'd never do pills or heroin again because I didn't want to be "dope sick."  It's sad when you say, “I won’t do a drug that makes me sick but I'll still get high,” and now I know that is the devil talking. I went about 2 weeks without any drug use.  I finally talked my family into giving me my car back.  This only helped to restart my addictive behavior all over again.  My stealing and addiction started right back up.

As a recovering IV user, I decided to try shooting cocaine & smoking crack again, “only one time” I told myself.  This turned into shooting ANYTHING POSSIBLE; pain pills, crack, heroin, suboxone, xanax, molly, meth, cocaine, triple Cs, anything I could physically break down, it was going into my veins.  Once this started I was a walking monster, literally! I did everything in my power to get drugs stealing anything in sight.  It didn’t matter if it was from my mom, my dad, my friend or from a store and off to the Pawn Shop I would go.  I would do anything for my next fix. I lived this way for about six months, from January 2019 until July of 2019.  During this time I caught over 10 charges, went to jail weekly, and did whatever I could for my high for the next rock, or next shot.  I lost everything behind this drug, my cars, my home, my kid, myself and even my freedom. On July 8, 2019 I went to prison for 8-10 months due to my drug addiction and again in February of 2020.

When they say people do as they're raised, that isn't true I was brought up in a church going, loving family, but my depression sent me into drug use and addiction.  I do not blame my problems on others.  NO! I have accepted full responsibility for all of my actions.  Do I say my recovery came from the help of others, YES. But, most of all my Savior helped me. GOD was the only person I had late nights in a cold, lonely cell.  I prayed for God to take the taste from my mouth, take the addiction away from me. and also to stay with me and never leave. All the nights I had drug dreams I praised and prayed to the Lord asking for his guidance. I got through my time in prison because of God and I know it is because of Him that I am even alive today.  How do I know it's real? He was the only one I had, everyone else was gone. I was in this alone, because of my choices.  God spoke to me one night and told me to follow him. That night I gave my life to Christ. I haven't had a drug dream, not even a thought of relapse. As of today 3-10-2020 I have 8 months and 3 days clean. I cannot explain why we go through situations that we do, but the Lord has a plan for all of us and without him we are NOTHING.  It is my experience and belief that addiction cannot be overcome without help from the Lord.  I’m so thankful for my relationship with the Lord and also my LIFE MINISTRIES family, along with my biological family who has been there and supported me for the past 3 years.  I believe prison and my Savoir is why I am now clean.  I am so thankful for finding myself and the LORD. This is my testimony of the LIFE I now have as a recovering addict.

                                                                                                           Amen 

                                                                                                                Jessica Getsinger

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