What is P/J
Testimony from Clayton B.:
Like so many people who have found them selves in trouble with the law, I learned belittling and rejection at a very early age. This is not an excuse, this was my life. I grew up as an unwanted child in an adopted home. I was beaten for everything I said or did, whether I deserved it or not. I couldn't distinguish right from wrong. And repeatedly I was told that I would never amount to anything. They said, all my choices were wrong, I was wrong, my life was wrong. I remember the overpowering feeling of resentment that grew within me, and emerged into open hostility and deep-seated hatred. I hated everyone and everything. As I moved into and through my teenage years the rage in my head made me an out-of-control wounded animal. Oh no, not me! Whoa! There really is no other way to say this. Then when alcohol had come into my life, it came not to visit, but to permanently stay. It became my crutch, my friend, my front, my medication, and my god. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was drinking almost a quart of Jack Daniels a day. All other relationships in my life became a scorn, and I trivialized them. All too frequently, I would groggily wake up in the morning on my couch at home, with a bruising hangover. And not be able to remember how or when I got there. When I could rouse enough to ask "How did I get here?" The reply would be something like, "You must'a drove yourself." Or, "I dunno, nobody came with you." In a panic, I would hurry to the door, dreading to even look out through the glass for my car. Every time, I expected to see damage to the car, but instead, there it would be parked, square and neat without a scratch. How can a person in a "Blackout," navigate a car through many twists and turns, and not ever hit something? Was I out-of-control? It was to get even worse real soon.
In 1977, I got into one of my many fights, only this time a man lost his life! When the police came and arrested me, and charged me with open murder, I absolutely couldn't believe it. I was locked up! I denied it, I kicked, and I screamed, but they wouldn't believe me. Boy, did I ever need a drink! Now I was facing a death sentence. Now, I really needed a drink.- no the whole bottle, please! The days turned into months, and my denials got louder. But the legal process kept on churning against me, what was I to do? Even my friend Jack Daniels had abandoned me - more abandonment, more rejection.
It dawned on me, that I was in the most serious trouble of my whole troubled life, and that there was no way out. I was going to death row. They were going to execute me. I looked to the only hope left (Jesus), my prayer was simple, it went like this, "Lord, if it's my time to go, then I'll shut up and go....but, if You have something for me to do, then You'll hafta provide a way out." Three days into a jury trial, the way out came. The prosecution told my lawyer that they would accept a plea bargain, at first my Conniving mind said no. And then as I toyed with the offer, the evil one that had been such a big influence in my life, kept trying to convince me to play with them, and see what else I could get out of the deal. It was then a breakthrough came, and I was reminded this was the answer to my prayers, and you do not play with God! I accepted what was offered, and began a life-long relation with the One who would sustain me through the coming dark hours, and meet my every need.
During my 18-year stay in prison, I saw the need for a ministry that would really work - in prison, and out (when the inmate is released). And this was my prayer, to be led to a ministry that is based on the Word of God, and is conducted as God instructs. So when I was released in 1995, my wife introduced me to the Alcoholics for Christ ministry. I liked what I saw and heard. I felt the approval of God, that this is where he wanted me. This was fulfillment of the prayer I uttered when I first came to Christ, when I said, "If You have something for me to do..." Because He gave me a compassion to help other people to keep them from going back to prison, or to keep them from going there in the first place.
I had seen so many people be released from prison, and break the law again, and come right back in. I did not want this to happen to me. I know that being at large, in a free world is an individual choice, and also that I had made bad choices in my life. And so, choices do not come easy to me, because the thoughts come to me, "I'm going to get yelled at," or "something hurtful will be said to me," that will make me feel like I am nothing, and that I can do nothing right.
Confusion is a state of indecision, based on our prior learning experiences. The prison-experience is one of being told: what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and what to think about doing it. Couple this with my growing-up influences and experiences, and here is one mixed up person, with a set of complex emotions that only God can understand. And that is one reason why we turn to God, and stay turned to Him, because the issues of temptation, disobedience, and rebellion come upon us like a storm. And only by focusing on God, and not the storm will we be able to stay free and untangled (from the snares of Satan).
When I was released from prison into a halfway house, I had $50.00 in my pocket. Six months later I bought my first vehicle (on credit-unbelievable). All of this while I'm still in a halfway house, only God could have made this happen. Praise His Holy Name!
Soon afterwards, I moved to Michigan and I became affiliated with a local home church. After attending A/C meetings and finding out what they were about, I knew that this was the vehicle I had talked to the Lord about. And when I found out that A/C was expanding their jail ministry into prisons, I knew in my heart and being, that this was the fulfillment of my first covenant with God. Is there anything too difficult for God? You try Him and see for yourself! God NEVER fails.