TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY!
Hi Everyone. I am Glennwood Risk and I am a believer in Jesus Christ who presently is involved with the Alpha ministry at the Parkside Bible church that I attend and I am also involved in a ministry named Celebrate Recovery at the Calvary Assembly Of God in Carthage. The alpha ministry is about the basic introduction to Christianity for non-believers,young Christians or just to review or brush up on the basics. Although I have many character defects and shortcomings I attend the Celebrate Recovery ministry because of a struggle with Alcoholism. But I will get into that shortly.
I was brought up in a middle class non-christian home although we attended church. I attended Sunday school where I learned about God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit but never knew about having a relationship with Him. I was active in baseball and swimming for the YMCA until we moved north to Norwood when my dad transferred in his job. I stayed active in other sports like hockey and fishing and recall attending a church there. Within about 3 years we moved back to Watertown when I was a teenager. Being the only boy with two sisters it seemed like I was the one getting grounded or restricted more than my sisters so I believe that is when I started rebelling. I don’t recall attending any church in my teenage years. I still was active in sports through school but when I broke a ankle in Football and was sidelined I started hanging around with guys that weren’t active in sports and a couple of years older than me. Well they were active in smoking pot so I joined in at age 15. I was a guy that looked older than I was so I fit in and soon began to start drinking because I could buy it in the stores and get into bars at age 16. As the circle of pot smoking and drinking friends grew I would find myself at parties or cruisin the back roads getting stoned or inebriated by beer or Boones Farm wine. Well my school grades were falling and I was wrapped up in myself where God wasn’t even in the picture anymore. After I broke my other ankle in lacrosse I dropped out of sports. Along the time I was falling in about everything I did my parents had come to know the Lord and were saved. As young over zealous Christians, they started pushing their new found religion on me. I was so wrapped up in my little world of partying and didn’t want to hear it, and one day my mom pushed a little too hard and I said I didn’t believe in God at all and then my parents backed off and left me alone.
Well my drug usage had increased to speed and downers and then hallucinogens. I truly thought I was cool and having a ball in life at that time. Well I did manage to graduate and shortly after I enlisted in the Navy where I still partied but not nearly as much as I was. About 2 1/2 years into my enlistment through my parents support and encouragement and a Christian friend on board and feeling a change was needed, I gave myself to the Lord. I attend chapel services and fellowshipped with other Christians and while our ship was in Haifa Israel and on a tour of the country, I had the opportunity to get baptized in the Jordan River. I walked with the Lord for little over a year and then when my enlistment was done, so was my walk and beliefs I had acquired. I just walked away and went back to the life I was leading before and don’t know why. I did feel guilty for a while but that subsided as I started killing more brain cells with my addictions.
For the next 27 years or so I graduated to cocaine along with all the other drugs and the drinking started to increase in quantity and a lot more often for any occasion. I never really kept a job for more than 5 years and my pride and excessive ego and attitude led me leaving jobs because of the drug screens and back to Watertown in 1989. I continued to keep on partying. I got married in 1993 and thought all was well for the next few years but the drinking and drug usage was beginning to take it’s toll and I was oblivious to the verbal abuse and taking my wife for granted. In December 2006 it all came to a head where I entered into a deep depression. I think it was the 1st time I have sought help for a problem that was bigger than me. I was pretty good at putting the blame on everyone but myself at this point so I blamed my wife and we separated. I had stopped doing all other drugs when I quit smoking cigarettes in 2006. The medication started to make me feel better but I still continued drinking. I was drinking everyday and scheduling my work around my drinking as I had a very flexible job as long as the work was done. The drinking and medicating had increased to where I was forgetting the days and nights events. I was blacking out and falling and hurting myself. In May, near Memorial Day, I was drunk and was arrested for DWI and I believe that was my lowest point. The next day I was talking to a friend who came and got me out of jail at 4 in the morning. He mentioned I might have a drinking problem. Of course it is hard to believe but I thought I was just partying to much but I also felt I needed to know so I called AA. After attending their meetings for about a week and failing a questionaire on a possible drinking problem I realized I was a alcoholic. I kept attending and started to get my life back on tract and I also attend a drug and alcohol out patient program through the hospital. I stayed sober and attended meetings at AA and started working the steps in the 12 step program but after attending numerous meetings it kept feeling like I was still missing something. Well the 3rd step in the 12 step program states this: “we made a decision to turn our lives and our will over to the care of God.” Well when I read that it was like a light bulb came on in my head. Wow this is what my parents and others had been trying to drive into the thick skull of mine all along! I had learned of a 12 step program that was Christ based so I attended that one as well as AA. I also attended the Alpha course at the time because I had a yearning to learn more. During this time I recommitted my life to Jesus Christ and truly repented and asked Him back into my life. The emptiness and weight I was bearing was lifted and I could receive His forgiveness and start being honest about everything. I gave the Celebrate Recovery my full attention because I felt like I was being filled spiritually and physically and the void I felt was disappearing. My yearning to know more about God and His son Jesus Christ and hearing his word and working the 8 principals based on the beatitudes and the 12 steps was the beginning of the healing process not only for my addictions but also with the character defects that have grown in me.
Only by the grace of God am I standing here sober, drug and nicotine free. Only by the saving grace of God and His son Jesus Christ who died for my sins am I a saved and repentant man. I lived I lived in the dark for so long but now I live in the light of a merciful and glorious God.
In writing this testimony it is suggested that I mention a favorite scripture but they all have been favorite for me lately but this one stands out the most for me now. “Therefore, If anyone is in Christ He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Now I would like to express to everyone that you don’t have to wait till your so low like I was to come to Christ. I wouldn’t recommend it! You don’t have to change a thing about yourself to do this. God wants to have a relationship with you just the way you are. He wants you to be heirs to his throne with his son Jesus. Eventually he will replace the undesirable defects and shortcomings in you like he is doing with me and replace them with the good and loving fruits of the spirit that are pleasing to Him. I didn’t know what I was going to do without drugs and alcohol in my life but I can honestly say it is unbelievable to be free from that bondage. Praise God!! We have an awesome God. If anyone would like to receive prayer or to let Christ into your heart today someone will be glad to pray for you now. You may go to a Pastor, a church, a Christian friend and they will pray with you. If this is a decision you have been putting off for one reason or another now is the time to come forward and receive the loving embrace of the Father Come now.