About Me

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Dodson, Louisiana, United States
For many years I struggled with a lifestyle addicted to drugs and alcohol but in 1997 was captured by the Grace of God.....now I can say I am a Christian,Husband,Father. Author of Rehab is not for the Soul " A Journey Out of Addiction"and Chief Operating Officer with the ministry of Louisiana Teen Challenge.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Should a former addict continue to smoke?


Addiction is addiction. I am not saying, “Once an addict always an addict,” as some secular treatment centers do. But for someone who has been delivered from drugs and alcohol, why hang on to a nicotine addiction? It is a physical addiction, and God does not want you to struggle with such a burden.

Treatment centers that work the Twelve Steps will actually encourage you to keep smoking so that you are not struggling to quit all of your addictions at once. That’s the problem! We cannot “quit” these addictions. When we are physically addicted, and God has not set us free, then we must rely on our strength alone, and we are setting ourselves up for failure. That is a task that we cannot handle. We need the power and grace of God to take those addictions away.
Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16–17)

When we turn our lives over to Jesus Christ, His Spirit fills us and our body is literally filled with God’s Holy Spirit. Not just nicotine, but anything that is damaging to our body, pollutes our temple. God desires us to abstain. We can never accomplish perfection in our flesh, but we can choose to give the things we know are wrong to God. We must give Him a clean temple to dwell. We want to follow the example of Jesus and the CEO of Louisiana Teen Challenge: Reverend Greg Dill once said, “Could you imagine Jesus giving that great sermon of the beatitudes while smoking a Camel or chewing on some Levi Garret?”
I have been with Louisiana Teen Challenge for fifteen years and have seen hundreds come through our doors. We do not allow tobacco at our facilities, and I have not yet seen a single person who is living a successful, addiction-free life in Christ decide to pick up cigarettes after graduation. I often tell students, “Is this a statistic that you would want to be a part of?” God has called us to holiness.
But like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy 1 Peter 1:15

Friday, November 9, 2012

Intro to "Rehab Is Not For The Soul" A Journey Out Of Addiction


I was on a mission trip to Russia fifteen years after I gave up drinking alcohol. I was there helping with a Leadership Training Institute for Global Teen Challenge. The last day of school, we had a special communion service. In Russia it is customary to use real wine, unlike in America, where we often use grape juice. The communion cup came my way; I drank it and immediately knew it was alcohol.
I felt the warm feeling in my chest, which I had once longed for as an alcoholic. Because I was a guest, my hosts brought me the wine that remained after everyone else was served. Not wanting to offend them, I drank it. The warm feeling got even warmer.
There are many people who are classified alcoholics and live their life sober, confessing that they will always be alcoholics. That trip to Russia confirmed what I have believed for fifteen years: that I am no longer an alcoholic. I am a new creation. There are many clinically diagnosed alcoholics whom the communion in Russia would have sent back to drinking. Were I not a new creation, I would have been in a bar in Moscow that night.
But that day in Russia, God showed me —as He has many times before—that I am free.         

To restore formally to former capacity, standing, rank, rights, or privileges…

This is the definition of rehabilitation (Dictionary.com). It means to restore someone to what they once were. For anyone who is struggling with addiction, rehabilitation is the worst thing that could happen. He or she does not need to go back to a former state, rank, or privileges. A twenty-eight-year-old who needs help does not need to return to age twelve just to make the same decisions again. Something new needs to happen. That person needs to die and another one needs to take its place.
And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God. (Ezekiel 11:19–20)

Rehab is for someone recovering from a stroke or knee injury, and trying to get his or her physical body back to its former state. Addicts around the world need a spiritual heart transplant. They need the heart that has been battered and made hard by the world replaced with a new heart that is soft and teachable. They need a heart that will follow after God.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lie: “My Name Is Gary, and I Am an Alcoholic.”

Lie: “My Name Is Gary, and I Am an Alcoholic.”

At the beginning of the book I shared with you an experience in my first rehab, a motivation for writing this book. When I completed rehab, I wanted to succeed by applying the principles I had been taught. One of the requirements to be successful was I needed to make ninety AA meetings in ninety days.
When I first heard this, I was like, “That’s pretty cool—sounds like a neat goal to reach.” There were problems, though. I didn’t have transportation, and I had to rely on my parents to take me to these meetings, which became a burden on all of us. They have given me a goal, and in my mind, if I did not reach the goal, I was guaranteed to fail.
The meetings I attended were very depressing. At these meetings, we would gather around and smoke cigarettes. Sometimes a guest speaker would share war stories about drinking. The guest was always an alcoholic telling us how they had not had anything to drink that day. It seemed to me that I was listening to someone that was not free. I would come away from hearing the guest speaker with the feeling they were one bad decision away from being a full-blown drunk again. I remember feeling that there had to be something more.
Another of my post-rehab, assigned goals was to get a sponsor, someone to talk to whenever I felt like I had the urge to drink. If I could do that, and at the same time continue to work the Twelve Steps, I would have a chance of remaining sober. Something just did not seem right. This was a burden I felt I couldn’t bear—the meetings, working the steps, the sponsor.
The meetings I needed were to attend church and celebrate my freedom with Christ with other believers. The steps I needed to work were reading God’s word on how to live everyday life. My sponsor needed to be Jesus Christ, who knows me better than anybody, and who will always be there when I need him. He will never fail me! As well-meaning as a sponsor may be in a program like AA, they are human and it is impossible for them to fill your needs, meet your expectations, and have all the right words to say when you are backed against a wall by an acute desire to use. Jesus always knows what to say through His word, and will take you to freedom—a place where you will not need a drink so much that you would have to call somebody.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This is our promise as a believer the old is gone; the new has come!
“My name is Gary, and I am an alcoholic and a drug addict.” That is how we were told to introduce ourselves at a meeting. The bible tells us there is power in our words…
Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. (James 3:4–5)

This was definitely not what I would call speaking life over myself. I was telling myself I was an alcoholic and a drug addict, and would always be one. I was telling myself that my only salvation would be the meetings, my sponsor, and the steps. The word of God tells us that in Christ we have accepted by faith that Christ died for our sins; that we are no longer an alcoholic or a drug addict, but instead are new creations in Christ. My response now is, “My name is Gary, and I was once an alcoholic and a drug addict—a sinner, but now I am free. That man is dead and the new Gary will never have to fall back into that lifestyle again.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rehab Is Not For The Soul " A Journey Out Of Addiction"

“Any attempt to ‘rehabilitate’ someone without the saving power of God is only a temporary fix.”

In Rehab Is Not for the Soul: A Journey Out of Addiction, Gary Bentley makes a poignant and highly personal case that recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is possible only through spiritual surrender to God.
            Gary Bentley was an alcoholic at age 16 and was jailed many times over the next 18 years for fraud and drug-related crimes. He saw his work and home life fall apart as a result of his addictions, and he tried secular rehab programs in always-futile attempts to “come to his senses,” as the prodigal son did in Luke 15:17.
            Yet as he shows, “rehab” only means to restore oneself to an earlier condition—and what the addict needs is a spiritual heart transplant.
            If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, Gary reaches out to you with his example of success. Thanks to a spiritual awakening and the yearlong, free recovery program offered by the worldwide Christian program, Teen Challenge, he shows how biblical principles, wise family support, and faith can create total transformation.

Gary Bentley came into the Teen Challenge program in 1997 after 18 years of substance abuse and four secular rehabilitation centers. After losing everything because of his addictions, he was homeless on the streets of New Orleans.
Today he is a husband, father of one, and grandfather of two. Gary serves as the COO of Louisiana Teen Challenge and also helps train leaders for Teen Challenge in Russia.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

You are fearfully and wonderfully made

You are fearfully and wonderfully made
Psalm 139: 14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
We all have a past. Our past can sometimes haunt us if we allow it and that is not what God wants for us, to feel condemned for some bad choices that we made prior to being redeemed.
The bible tells us in Romans 8: 1
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
Christ has forgiven us and that is something that we have to believe with all of our heart or we will not be able to forgive ourselves. There is no amount of forgiveness from friends or family for wrongs that we may have done that can lift the weight that Christ’s forgiveness of everything we have ever done can do. Once that is done we will be able to forgive ourselves.
Ephesians 6: 6 not by way of eyeservice, as men- pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart
It is not the forgiveness of men that will help us love and accept who we are in Christ but only the love of God.
God created us a unique expression of Him and that came with a free will. As we grew up we exercised our free will which God allows us to do but that does not change the unique, one of a kind person that God created. This is why Christ came and sacrificed His life. God knew we were going to make some bad decisions and wanted a way to redeem us so that we could be that unique expression of Him again. God does not want to change your personality and who He created you to be. He just wants you be the person He created redeemed from the sin of the world, a new creation in Christ. Everyone was created with gifts and a personality like no one else and God wants to use that. He’s not looking to change your DNA, just your sin into righteousness. Don’t let the world, friends or family condemn you for your past. And definitely do not condemn yourself. Latch on to God’s forgiveness and love and then and only then will you be able to forgive and love yourself. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Spirit of Alcohol

It’s a Spirit
 I know there are people who have lost family and friends as a result of people being intoxicated behind the wheel of an automobile. For centuries we have referred to alcohol as a spirit. You can ride down the highway and see a flashing sign that says SPIRTS.  We know what that is. We know we can pull in and buy something to drink and it will change who we are.
I attend several college football games each year and I see the drinking that goes on especially with students who are in school. The universities are not only producing our next great leaders and educators but they are producing our next generations’ alcoholics. Nobody knows who is going to drink for the first time and then two years later develop a drinking problem that they cannot kick unless something supernatural happens in their life. Parents who are not addicted to alcohol but drink socially in their home are sending the message to their children that it is socially acceptable. You have no idea if your child will become an alcoholic or not. You are gambling with your child’s future. Remember, alcohol is called a spirit and spirits deceive which is what alcohol has done for centuries. Please do not fall into the trap of feeling that just because you drink sociably and can stop anytime that all an alcoholic has to do is just stop. That is not the case.
I wanted to drink two beers and stop my entire life and stop but never accomplished it. This spirit is deceiving humanity and will continue to do so. I want to encourage families out there to not accept what society says is okay. Your child may be the next that can’t stop and it started with a glass of wine at your dinner table that you said is okay. Let’s stop introducing the drug that is the number one killer of life in America to our children.
Alcohol, it is a drug.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Emotional Experience?

After staying in a detox wing for two days from drinking and cocaine abuse, I was transferred to a semi-private room, a very nice room, as it should have been for a fee of $25,000.00 for twenty-eight days. This was in 1984. I am sure the fees are much higher now.  I was 21 and had checked into my first drug rehabilitation program. I had been raised in church. I need to place emphasis on raised in church. I never went to church because I wanted to and I never personally understood why I was going. I believe I may have been some sort of an agnostic…  One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

I think deep down I might have believed; but, my life didn’t reflect any sort of belief at all.
Lying in this very expensive room reflecting on my future I knew that I was on a really bad road.  From the depths of my heart and soul I can remember saying the words…. God Help Me! Now you have to understand I am not, nor was I a crazy person, but at that moment I experienced something that the only way to describe it was: a very light dose of electricity went through my body. I was at peace with myself and I felt like I had some hope. That is the only way I knew to describe it.

Excited about this experience I went to my counselor the next morning to share with him what had happened.  He was nice and polite but he had to refer me to the Catholic Priest…who had gone through a secular treatment program for alcoholism. I was very excited about what had happened to me the night before and I shared with the priest what had happened. He looked at me and said “what you had was an emotional experience and you need to work the program and you are going to do well.”

This is a person that I am looking up to, I am going to listen to, and put my faith in what he says which is what I did.  It was because of experiences like this that I will share more of later in the book, and the deliverance from my addictions later in life that has driven me to write this book. As it turns out, it was not an emotional experience!!! That priest was wrong!!