Warrior. Freedom. Christ.
A Josh North Testimony
Edited by Lisa Maki
The names of the people in this story have been changed to protect their identity and privacy.
My name is Josh North. I was born Joshua Williams Turner on September 16th, 1988 in Greenwood, California. I moved to Whidbey Island, Washington, when I was a year old. It is about an hour and a ferry ride away from Seattle, where I was raised till I was 18.
I want to share with you the testimony of my life – a life of love, support, happiness, laughter, isolation, sex, porn, loss, and deep sadness, to sum it up. As you continue to read, you will find out the whole unfiltered truth of my life story.
I have been fortunate to experience many things that this secular world claims will make you happy and fulfilled: money, girls, Hollywood carpet events, and the “rock star” life. However, all these proved to be lies and deceptions. Everything I had worked towards to find fulfillment was all a deception that drove me deeper and deeper into addiction; no wonder I could never satisfy myself and be happy. That was until Jesus Christ came and changed everything.
I grew up in a family that believed in God, but we never read the Bible, went to church, or recognized Jesus as our Lord and Savior. My family was more or less a part of the New Age movement that believed in many gods or goddesses, and my mother was a Spiritual Teacher who taught a lot of the New Age Beliefs. My introduction to church as a child was not a pleasant one due to growing up closely associated with a Mormon family whose parents were strict, abusive, judgmental, and overall hypocritical Latter Day Saints, not to mention the father was the Bishop of their church. Seeing what happened behind the scenes of these Mormon parents made me steer clear of any type of church or religion in my older years. The reason I mention this is not to bash or label that family as bad people; in fact, I am still friends with some of their kids. I mention this to emphasize that in order for me to claim Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He would have to literally come down and reveal Himself to me as the Son of God, which is exactly what He did.
Let me now begin my testimony.
I was four years old when one of my much older brothers, we will call him Steve, brought home a movie. I am sure he never meant any harm; but there was a certain scene in that film that would change my life forever. The scene starts off with a cowboy in a brothel having sex with a prostitute, when suddenly they hear screaming and yelling in the next room. Both the cowboy and the prostitute run over to see what is going on and they see another cowboy taking swipes at a prostitute’s face with a razor blade because she made fun of his “manhood,” and that was my first introduction to sex. Around that time, a girl who was a year older than me, we will call her Sarah, came from foster care to live with my family. I had never met this girl but I remember walking right up to her and asking her in my four year old voice “wanna do sex?” Sarah replied with a yes, and up until I was around seven years old, we experimented sexually.
I started becoming very interested in horror films throughout those early years, most prominently Freddy Kruger who was introduced to me by my same brother Steve. I remember watching those violent scary movies and walking away from them disturbed but excited, and wanting to experience that feeling more and more. Some of those films scared me so bad that I actually remember feeling as if there was actually a demon in my room, which knowing what I know now, there probably was. I always noticed that most of the time there was always strong sexual content mixed in with the violence of these films, which gave them an extra rush of excitement that never ceased to ignite my interest.
When I turned 10 years old, my life took a sharp turn into the direction of darkness. At that time I started hanging out with a kid who was four years older than me; we will call him Hank. My mom was counseling Hank and they would have sessions at our house once a week. After the counseling sessions were done, Hank and I would hang out until his parents picked him up. I remember Hank talking to me about an uncle he had who would huff gasoline, and he asked me if I wanted to try it. By that time, I was so well versed in what darkness was from all the movies I had seen up to that point, and I couldn’t help but be attracted to it; so my answer was yes. I remember putting my mouth on the gas can, and taking about 5-10 huffs and then zoning out into a mini mind trip until my vision came back. Unfortunately, huffing gas is what would become Hank and my past time after his counseling sessions once a week. I remember one time we were huffing gas, and we were up to around 20 big and deep huffs by this point. I went into my mini mind trip, and then I felt myself jolt out of my body. Although I was right next to Hank, I remember looking at him and seeing that I was now about five feet away from him and there was a shiny see-through wall between us, almost like a glass window. I remember feeling as though he was now unreachable and we were in different realms, and my heart dropped with fear. I then remember looking around and everything was much bigger and brighter, almost like a negative photograph. I then came back into my body and I was again right next to him as I was before.
It was also at the age of 10 that I had my first orgasm. I had conned my parents into renting me an R rated film, which I was very good at by this point. The film had to do with a high school basketball player, who all the top colleges were interested in because he was so talented. In the film, one of the colleges set up a room with two girls who were to please him sexually to try and convince him to come to their college. The star basketball player is led into the room where two naked girls were. It was a very graphic, fast-paced sex scene. My brain had never been stimulated by images like that before or even stimulated to that degree in general. I then rewound the scene and began to masturbate, and then came the orgasm. Once I felt that “out of this world” feeling that an orgasm brings, which I had never experienced before, I knew I had unlocked something within me and that my life would never be the same again.
The Lost Boy
The year was 1999 and I was 10 years old. Everything was happening all at once: the huffing of gasoline, the masturbating, and to add on to that, another new thing came into play. At this time, I began hanging out with my older friend Hank more and more outside of his counseling sessions with my mom. As Hank and I would huff gas, we would talk about girls and sex, which led to us experimenting sexually with one another. This was shortly after my first orgasm and I didn’t know how I felt about it at the time. Looking back, I could see that deep down I didn’t really want to do that, nor did I enjoy doing it; it is just what naturally happened within the theme of darkness that I was seeking out, or that was seeking me out. A couple years later, I experimented sexually with another boy who was my age, although this time I felt awfully taken advantage of and angry about how he approached me. During this whole time, I stopped going to school regularly because the huffing of gas was killing my brain and making it impossible for me to participate in class. This caused a lot of problems between me, my family, my school; and most importantly my health, well-being, and self esteem.
Fast forward to age 12. I was still in touch with Sarah, the foster girl that I experimented sexually with when I was younger, although we had not done anything sexual since I was about six or seven. I remember hanging out with her one night and having the strong urge to have sex with her, or anyone for that matter, and I asked Sarah if she wanted to have sex; she told me no. The next morning I felt horrible for what I asked of her because whatever urge possessed me the night before was gone. Not long after that night, Sarah started telling my friends and family members that I asked her to have sex. Since she was very close to my friends and family, well she was actually a part of our family, it wasn’t socially acceptable for us to be doing sexual things. When she started telling people that I asked her to have sex, I felt completely embarrassed so I lied and told everyone that it was not true and that SHE was lying. My friends and family believed me over her, and shortly after that, Sarah moved to another state and has since been somewhat left out by my family. I LIED and made her out to be the liar, and I am deeply ashamed of that. I am sorry.
Around age 13 was when I first discovered Internet pornography. This took it to a whole new level of control because I could actually search out exactly what I was looking for, rather than renting a movie and hoping for a sex scene. I started wandering down the rabbit hole of porn and it didn’t take long before I realized that I could literally watch any kind of porn imaginable. That was when I started to experiment on what kind of porn was out there. I saw some horrifically disgusting things in porn around that time, and I made a vow to myself to never go THAT far again, which I honored, for a while. All through High School things seemed to calm down: some in regards to huffing gas, which I completely stopped at age 14, and porn fascination due to finding a group good of friends who I became very close with and who I started spending my time with. We experimented with light drugs and alcohol throughout high school, but for the most part it was pretty calm, and I kept the porn to a “socially acceptable” standard.
Skip to age 18. The year was 2007 and this was when my parents told me that after 24 years of marriage they are getting a divorce. Simultaneously, I was about to be accepted into one of the most prestigious music schools in the world on the east coast; I had become a dedicated musician by this time. The divorce took place, and I headed off to Boston to start my adult life. When I arrived in Boston, I for the first time felt an emptiness that I had never experienced before. It was loneliness for unconditional love and family, which I felt I had lost when my parents divorced and sold our childhood home; it is a feeling that still comes up to this day. To counteract this loneliness I was feeling while at college, I was determined to find a girlfriend and fall in love. About five months into college, I fell in love with a girl who we will call Maria, and made her my world. Our relationship lasted about five months and then we broke up. I was devastated to say the least. I felt a weight of loneliness and pain like I had never felt before; I felt like an empty vessel.
The Taking (of porn)
It was the night of July 26th 2008 when the devilish addiction to porn fully took me. I was home from college for summer break in Seattle, and my brother and I bought tickets to see the band, Nine Inch Nails. I was still in deep emotional pain and in the midst of my heartache over my break up with Maria. The concert was very dark and people were dressed in gothic clothing, and some girls were dressed in BDSM type clothing, just a really crazy scene. That night we went home and I went into my room. I opened my computer to watch some “socially acceptable porn,” on the Internet, which was not unusual for me to do in the night time, although this time something was different. I had this strong urge to look up violent porn, which I hadn’t done since I made that vow to myself five or six years before. I typed in some keywords for violent porn and came across a website that had lots of the type of porn I was looking for. I watched some clips and as I did, I felt a strong sensation inside of me that I could only compare to my first orgasm. It was very deep and powerful as if something was unlocked and now growing inside of me. I spent the rest of that night looking at, and masturbating to different violent porn clips. The next day I decided to continue on my search for violent porn on the Internet. This time I came across a full length video and got a little more into the storyline they were portraying. I watched that violent porn scene, had my orgasm, and afterwards I knew I had brought it to the next level for good, and I knew deep down that I no longer had control over porn; it now controlled me.
As 2008 progressed and I returned to Boston, I spent most of my time in my college dorm room looking up, and masturbating to violent porn, all while still trying to heal the heartache of my breakup with Maria as well as my parents’ divorce. I thought that if I moved out of the dorms and lived in an apartment on my own, I would be happy; so I found an apartment in the exact location I wanted to live and paid $1850 a month for it. I found myself even more depressed and isolated than when I lived in the dorms. At the end of that year, I decided to leave college and go back home to Washington State because I could not take the loneliness that I was living in. I felt moving back home would take the loneliness away. I ended up getting a “normal job” and getting into a relationship with a girl who we will call Sasha. One of Sasha’s conditions of the relationship was that I could not be in a relationship with her and watch porn. I told her that would not be a problem, but it was a problem because I was addicted and couldn’t stop, even though I wouldn’t fully admit it at that time. It was during this time that I was shown for the first time the mysterious power of Jesus Christ. Sasha was a born again Christian and she talked to me a lot about Jesus and how amazing He was. I was not a Jesus follower at this time and I even went out of my way to drag His name through the dirt because I felt that religions were just a form of control and all religious people were just hypocrites who fight against human nature and human urges. I claimed to be “spiritual” which I realize now was just a way for me to believe in a higher power, but also make my own rules. Although I didn’t follow Jesus at the time, I cannot deny some of the profound signs that I experienced while in this relationship with Sasha. Eventually our relationship ended and I felt I needed a change of scenery and get back to my dream of being a rock star musician. I then enrolled in a music school to study guitar and moved to Hollywood in hopes that would make me happy.
The Rock Star
The first couple weeks I was in L.A, I loved it! It was now 2010 and I was in the heart of Hollywood. I was living in a place that I dreamed of ever since I was a young kid in my room watching horror movies. I saw celebrities on the streets within the first couple days I was there; I went to clubs where I would see, and even stand next to actors that I watched in movies my whole life; I even got to ask an actress out on a date, an actress that I had a huge crush on in high school because she was at the same club I was at. The smoke and mirrors of Hollywood really convinced me that this was happiness…for a while. Once the thrill of living in Hollywood wore off, I found myself again locked in my room in my apartment watching porn, just like when I was in college. It was during this time that I could actually admit to someone, one of my brothers, that I was addicted to porn. About five months into living in Hollywood, I got a call from a woman who asked me to be the singer of a band that she was starting and going to manage; we will call this woman Terry. Terry heard my name from a guy, who was in a band I tried out for a couple weeks before, and he was the guitar player in this band that she was forming; we will call him Frank. I went down to a local restaurant to meet Terry and Frank and she talked a good talk about getting Frank and I into red carpet events, record deals, etc. I was a little weary at first, but then she invited me to a red carpet event that same night, so I went. After that event, I knew Terry could back up what she was offering, so I joined the band. After I joined the band it was event after event publicizing our band, and we didn’t even have any music out, or even a full band. I noticed that at each red carpet event there seemed to be a theme.
No it wasn’t movie stars and rock stars I grew up watching, although they were all there. It was that there was always free alcohol, lots of people seemed to be on drugs, and everyone was trying to portray some sort of image. Again after the excitement of going to red carpet events wore off, I started to see very quickly that I could not thrive in that environment. There was one night where Frank and I left a red carpet event and he confessed to me that he wanted to find a prostitute. Up until this point I never had been with a prostitute, but I agreed. We hired a prostitute we found walking down Sunset Boulevard and the three of us got into a taxi and went to get a motel room. I remember being very uncomfortable in the taxi that we were actually going to take a prostitute to a motel, and I even told Frank that I was going to go home and wasn’t going to participate. He then asked me to come to just be moral support for him, so I agreed. The three of us got to the motel room and Frank slept with the prostitute while I waited in the bathroom. I made it clear to her that I wasn’t going to do anything from the beginning, but after they were done, she convinced me to allow her go down on me; I caved in and agreed to receive oral sex from her. I didn’t enjoy it while it was happening, and I just wanted it to be over. After it was over, I felt completely empty and lonely. I was now sure I was not going to be able to thrive in Hollywood and could not handle the toxicity and loneliness I was feeling; so again, I came back home to Washington State.
The Devil’s Playground
It was late 2010 when I got home to Washington and moved in with my mom. This was when I started to notice her health was declining, and that she was much slower than she usually was. Not long after, I ended up meeting a girl, Tammy, who became my girlfriend. It was around this time where I started being more social and going to parties with her, and where I re-introduced myself to alcohol. It was also around this time where my porn addiction progressed to even another level. During my porn searches, I started coming across clips of a certain porn company where they offer mostly amateur girls a certain amount of money to do violent sexual things to them, and then have them sign a contract giving their consent. In practice, the girls were freely signing away their dignity for a couple hours of pain, humiliation, and abuse, for some money; really sick and disturbing stuff. I guess I found some connection to that stuff and those girls because I could relate to what they were going through. I had also been abusing myself for years through porn for some sort of small reward just like those girls, but my only real pay off was that I wouldn’t have to face the pain of my parents’ divorce, or my break up with my college girlfriend Maria, which left me deceived and in a continual downward spiral. My girlfriend Tammy had no idea how deep into porn I was, and I never told her about it, although she said in the beginning of our relationship that she didn’t care if I watched porn; but I was ashamed to admit of how far I actually was in this hole of addiction.
After about a year, Tammy and I broke up. It was 2012 and I was working a landscaping job at the time that I didn’t really like; so I gave up my lease to the house I was renting, quit my job, and bought a motor home to live in. I decided I needed to get back to doing music full time so I joined a Seattle band as their lead guitarist. While living in my motor home with no real job or anything to do during the days, I picked up a habit of drinking beer when I was bored, which was a lot of the time. I still had my Internet porn addiction, but I had no private place to indulge in it, so I decided I would just start meeting women off a dating site to satisfy my addiction. A typical day for me was wake up, have a small breakfast, drink beer until I was good and buzzed, and head down to a local coffee shop to look for dates on the dating site. I found very quickly that it was very easy to find dates on this site, and sometimes I would go on two to three dates in one day! I convinced myself that I was not looking for a real relationship and that I just wanted to have fun, date, and hook up. During this time I started sleeping around with lots of women, which is where my sex addiction developed. Due to that, I now realize that I hurt a lot of girls’ feelings doing what I did because I would be sweet to them, lead them on, and then drop them once I was bored with them and move on to the next girl, and not feel bad about it. Looking back on it now, I can see that alcohol really turned off my heart and created a doorway for the devil to come and use my body as its playground. So that was my life: I was in a rock band, dating multiple women, drinking myself silly, and ultimately on autopilot and out of control. Fortunately after a while I could not keep up with the lifestyle I was leading, so I quit the band I was in, sold my motor home, stopped drinking, and moved in with my dad. It was also around this time that I got a strong divine message as I was sitting in meditation that porn was the main cause to all of my sadness and discontent. The message was so strong that I actually listened to it and made a vow to remove porn from my life, and I actually did…for a while.
I moved in with my dad the summer of 2012 at the age of 23, and moving in with him was like starting life over from square one. I was out in the country away from all the madness of the city that I lived in with my motor home, and I was no longer being consumed by watching porn. I remember how hard it was initially to not watch porn because I didn’t have a job so I would be home all day and it felt like my laptop was just screaming my name to open it and indulge in porn, but by the grace of God, I resisted. I was still on a dating site, but this time I was looking for a serious girlfriend. I also started doing research on porn addiction and what was needed to control it, and one of the things that I learned as a part of the healing process was finding someone who you can tell all of your faults and mistakes to, and they will still love you unconditionally; so that was what I was now searching for. I eventually found a girl, Maggie, who was a couple years younger than me. Maggie and I started to date and I told her of my porn addiction. She seemed to be very accepting of me regardless of that, which I really liked. I also got into a healthy pattern of being away from sex all together before I met Maggie and I had not masturbated or had sex for a couple months, which at the time was a long time for me. I never set boundaries with Maggie around sex, so soon enough we had sex and it became something that she wanted to do all the time. I went along with it because I didn’t want to make her feel rejected, but deep inside, I knew that it was too soon for me in my recovery and that it was just bringing my addiction back up. I started to relapse on porn again, and I soon started to lose attraction for Maggie, which was a common thing I would feel for girls whenever my addiction came up, and we eventually broke up. Even though I started to relapse from time to time after that, I never gave up my will to be sober from porn, and would always jump back on the wagon if I fell off. I convinced myself that if I ever wanted to watch porn so bad that it was unmanageable, I should just go out and have sex because at least that wouldn’t pay into my mental fantasy around porn, so I found people to have sex with from time to time, while simultaneously continuing my search for a girlfriend who could love me unconditionally, and respect my boundaries. I had a couple flings that lasted a short time, but still couldn’t find the type of girl I was looking for.
I soon started to see that my life was getting better and things were starting to happen now that I was making an effort to stay away from porn. I got a job as a part time music teacher, and I also started to teach music lessons privately. I eventually worked my way into enough money that I could move out of my dad’s house and back into the city closer to my work. I didn’t know how I felt about that because that would possibly leave me isolated and available to relapse on porn again, although that was a chance I was going to have to take. I moved into a bedroom of a house and was back to my independent living. I was still on the dating site looking for the girl who was going to love me unconditionally. Unfortunately, she was not showing up, which left me discouraged and lonely, and eventually I stared to relapse on porn more and more, even after seven months of being sober from it. I started to go on dates with girls that I knew I would not have a relationship with, but I could enjoy their company and even sleep with them. While doing this, I realized how easy it was to sleep with these girls, and how willing they were to have premarital sex like it was nothing. Looking back I realize how far God is pushed out in our society today for a woman to give up her body so freely to a stranger who doesn’t really care about them, the way they did with me. Either way, I was taking what was offered and it was usually me who would have to say no to sex when I wasn’t feeling like it, rarely was it the girl who said no. Around this time I started to see that my sexual preferences were becoming more dark and extreme and I was bringing what I saw from porn into my real life sexual experiences. For a while I was afraid to show that part of me to girls, but soon I became more comfortable with it, and the crazy part is, the girls seemed comfortable with it as well. There were some girls who even asked me to do things to them that I couldn’t even bring myself to do, and I was already pretty extreme; scary stuff.
There was one situation that was exceptionally dark and it was a situation that would progress me into the next level of my sexual darkness. I had decided that I wanted to find a girl and interview her. I wanted to ask her to describe to me sexual encounters that she had throughout her life. I had questions that I had written out myself and I wanted to record all of the interview on camera. I pretended like I had no intention on doing anything other than asking the girl questions, but deep down in my heart I knew I was hoping to fulfill my sexual fantasy, which in this case was being a porn producer. I had written up my list of questions and even wrote out a contract for the girl to sign which would legally allow me to use any footage of her however and wherever I wanted. I put an ad out online explaining what I was doing and who I was looking for and I surprisingly got a lot of girls contacting me wanting to meet for the interview. I narrowed it down to one girl and had her come over. I sat her down, hit record on my camera and began to ask her my questions about her sexual experiences throughout her life. I noticed very shortly into the interview that most all of her sexual experiences were very dark including rape, prostitution and ultimately being drawn to men who wanted to abuse her. The interview went on for an hour and a half until she broke down crying. I turned off the camera, sat down next to her and put my arm around her as she cried. After a couple minutes, she looked up at me and said “you want to have sex with me don’t you?” I was a bit caught off guard but deep down I knew my answer was yes. I was silent for a moment waiting to see what she would say next. She didn’t say anything, but I knew from the look in her eye that she wanted me to take control of her sexually in that moment. The only way I can describe the next thing I felt was a force within me that was so strong and so dark overtaking me. Before I knew it, I had hit record on my camera and we were on my bed having sex. I want to make it clear that this was not rape because she made it clear she wanted me to have sex with her, but it very much was taking advantage of a woman who had been very emotionally and sexually damaged throughout her life. I filmed every sex act that we partook in and after we were done, I paid her $25 and had her sign the contract signing her rights to the video footage over to me. I had successfully become a porn producer and felt absolutely horrible afterwards. About a week later I got a text from the girl. She told me that she wanted to see me again and she had a plan for how it would happen. She told me that she would keep the door to her apartment unlocked and that she wanted me to come in, find her in her apartment, beat her senseless and then use her sexually. I was shocked reading the text message and I politely told her that I could not bring myself to do that. And that was it. I never reached out to her again and I never heard from her again. A few months after that, I deleted all of the sexual footage I had recorded of us, it was never released to the public.
I know that to many the details of this experience are very heavy and hard to read. I want to make it clear that the only reason I describe it in the detail that I do is to show you that this is how broken I was and this is how broken so many others are. It’s truly heartbreaking. Myself and these girls were so damaged and desperate for love that we would go too great and dangerous lengths to feel that love or to bury the pain of our past.
I went through this cycle for a while until I came across a girl on a dating site that seemed to resemble what I was looking for; we will call this girl Cindy. We set up a date for that same day and I rode my bike into the city to meet her. I met Cindy down on the waterfront in Seattle and we rode the Ferris wheel. She was several years older than me, which I liked because I had always been attracted to older women. We spent the date talking and getting to know one another and I was very honest on my spiritual beliefs and how I felt about things, and she was as well. Cindy told me that she was a Christian, and I did not think much of it because I still thought that Christianity was just a form of control and it was a man made thing and not a direct source to God; still I respected her belief. Cindy and I continued the date and by the end of it I revealed to her that I was a recovering porn addict and she seemed to respect my honesty around and seemed to still accept me. As the date progressed, we both seemed to be very attracted to one another and did not want the date to end; Cindy and I inevitably became a couple.
The year was 2013 and I was 25 years old; little did I know that this would by far be the hardest year of my life. I was now in this new relationship with Cindy who I have confessed my addiction to, and I now realize that this would be my first serious adult relationship, not to mention having to face up to many things within my porn addiction. Not only do I have to realize that I have an addiction to porn, but I now have discovered that I am addicted to sex in general, a sex addict at that.
Let me explain this to you. Being a sex addict does not always mean that you desire and crave sex with people all the time; it can actually mean the opposite. Due to the damage I caused to myself through the years of porn and meaningless sex, I now was left with serious intimacy issues that seemed to make it impossible for me to have a healthy sex life and to be able to distinguish having sex to orgasm, and making love. I wanted to make love, I needed to make love, but I was unable to make love because I programmed myself to focus solely on myself and my “fix” rather than on Cindy’s needs. I started to attend Sex Addicts Anonymous meetings to try and get some understanding around being a sex addict, and it amazed me on how many people were struggling with this, people from all walks of life that had similar stories with my life; most of them that had struggled with it much longer than me, and had dug themselves much deeper into the addiction hole. Along with all of this, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was declining rapidly.
My mother and I had always been very close and I was always very attached to her. I was what you could have called a “mama’s boy”. Thus, when I heard the news that my mother was diagnosed with a disease that would ultimately lead to death, I was devastated, and the only thing I knew to do was to avoid the reality of this truth. Cindy and I spent many nights with my mom at her house, with the three of us playing cards, and just being a family. Those nights with my mom and Cindy were very special time to me, and I know they were special to my mother and Cindy as well. We neared the end of 2013 and Cindy and I moved in together. That Christmas my mother spent Christmas Eve with us in our apartment; and that would be the last time we would spend with my mother where she was able to function normally. Early in 2014 she had a stroke, which left her bed ridden, and her mental state was to the point where she could not communicate clearly. I decided to spend one night a week with her at her caretaker’s home, to help my family out with taking care of her. I can only describe those nights as torturous because I could see my mom, I could touch my mom, I could say what I wanted to, but she was not there and she could not respond back clearly. There were times when I don’t even think she knew I was there. All I could do was take her to the bathroom when she needed to go, and eventually I couldn’t even do that anymore because it got to the point where she couldn’t get out of the bed. It was during this time that I started drinking alcohol heavily as a way to avoid the reality of my mother’s decline. I remember being at my volunteer job at the Crisis Center and getting a phone call on my cell phone from my mom in one of her “moments of clarity”. She called and said, “Josh, are you okay? I just love you so much!” and then she broke down crying; those were the last words she ever said to me.
My mother died on May 5th 2014 at 8 pm and I was not in the room when she passed because I missed her death by a couple minutes. The reason I missed her death was because I had to stop at the store to get some beer before I got to her house. If I hadn’t done that, I would have been there with her the moment she passed. I am ashamed of that.
After my mother died, I incorporated alcohol into my life regularly. I continued to relapse on porn and was unable to be strong around the boundaries I had made for myself around porn, which also affected my relationship with Cindy. She tried the best she could to be with me through it, even though she could see alcoholism taking me over, and all she could do is sit back and allow me to do what I was going to do regardless of what she thought; there was nothing she could do. It got to the point to where I was so overwhelmed by my mother’s death, and the stress that went with it that I eventually broke up with Cindy, moved out into my own place, and immediately went full force into my old ways of womanizing and alcoholic ways.
It was Fourth of July weekend 2014. I contacted a girl I used to date a year prior and set up plans to watch fireworks with her at her place. As though that wasn’t enough, I had to set up an alternative girl option and then pick between the two, all the while drinking heavily. I set up another option with a girl I met online and ended up choosing her over my previous plans with the girl from my past. The girl I met online came over, and by this point I was good and drunk and we started messing around. She gave me oral sex and I attempted to have sex with her, but it was just not possible; for one because I was too drunk, and secondly because I felt horrible around what I was doing and just wasn’t into it. I asked her to leave after we were done and left her feeling used. Consequently, I felt absolutely horrible and completely deceived and set up by my addiction and all I could think about was that I had to tell Cindy what had happened. At this time, Cindy was extremely sick and I didn’t feel comfortable dropping this “bomb” on her while she was in that state of illness, so I held on to this information for three days while it ate away at my conscience and at my heart.
I was 25 years old and the date was July 7th 2014 when I was saved by Jesus Christ. After holding that information from Cindy, the one of inviting that stranger over to hook up, I was completely emotionally spent. I felt so beat down that I turned to Internet porn, and relapsed…again. I relapsed once and walked away feeling completely numb, then about a half and hour later, I relapsed again. This time, I got up and walked toward the bathroom, and as I was walking, my body gave out and I collapsed onto the floor. I then put my hands together and said one of the most sincere pleads to God that I have ever said in my life which went something like “God, please help me! Please help me! God please, take this from me! God, please help me!” Now I have always believed in God and a higher power my whole life, but what happened next would completely change how I saw God. I can’t remember what occurred after I got up off the floor. All I remember after that was being led to my computer and watching a Testimony video of Brian “Head” Welch who was the former guitarist of the band Korn, a drug addict who found Jesus and left his band and old life behind to follow the Savior. I remember reading his book and being intrigued by it several years before, back in 2008. Yet it was only at that point that I intently watched him speak about Jesus for 45 minutes and listened to his testimony. I felt complete peace in my heart. All the anxiety, worry, and pain that I was feeling around my sexual sin that occurred a couple days ago dissipated as he, Brian, spoke about Jesus Christ. I became filled with confidence and determination and I picked up the phone and called Cindy. I told her all about what happened with inviting the girl I met online over and the sexual things we did, and how I just relapsed on porn again, I then told her about falling down and praying to God and how I was led to watch this Brian “Head” Welch testimony online. There was a short silence on the other end of the phone, and then Cindy proceeded to tell me that during our whole relationship she never prayed for Jesus to come into my life, but the night before she prayed that Jesus reveal Himself to me and come into my heart. I was speechless, but at the same time deeply inspired. I wanted to know more about this Jesus.
I now spent most of my free time researching Jesus and learning about the Bible and God’s word, as well as learning about people’s near death experiences. I started to notice that every person who claimed to have died and come back mentioned seeing Jesus or Jesus speaking to them, and when they came back to life most of them gave up their previous life to follow and preach about Jesus and the word of God; it was intriguing to say the least. To make it all even more real, I started experiencing demon attacks during this time. It seemed like the more I learned about Jesus, the harder Satan came in and tried to scare me and detour me from Jesus.
One night in particular, I was researching heaven and hell and how Jesus is the key to inheriting the kingdom of heaven and how Satan will do anything he can to try and lead you away from Jesus who is The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Satan had me in his control and deception for years and he did not want to let me go. In all of my years of sinning and living in darkness, never did I experience profound spiritual attacks because I was exactly where Satan wanted me to be: blind of Jesus, although now that I knew the truth of Jesus, I became a threat to Satan’s plan. That night after I was done with my heaven and hell research, I went to bed feeling as though darkness was looming over me. I fell asleep and my alarm went off at 6 am. I hit the snooze button and drifted into a half awake, half asleep state. As I lay there on my side, I felt something get on the bed next to me, and as this was happening, I seemed to be very aware of exactly what was going on. I then felt something get right up to my ear and made the most disgusting and demonic sound that sounded something like “BLAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH.” As this was happening I realized that I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, and I was paralyzed in my bed. I was scared, but at the same time I felt protected by Jesus Christ. When I was younger, my mother taught me a saying to use whenever dark energies came in. It went like: “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that which is not of the light BE. GONE. NOW!” So even though I couldn’t speak, I just started to repeat those words over and over in my mind until I could eventually say them out loud; so that’s what I did, and the demon eventually left. Still to this day, I experience demon attacks due to me being a threat to Satan. Since I now know Jesus, the devil now knows my name.
Even as all of this Jesus stuff was incorporating into my life, I was still not done with alcohol. I started a band a year prior and as alcohol came back into my life, I started drinking at band practice, and performances. My band mates didn’t know that I was drinking because ever since I had known them, I told them I didn’t drink, so I kept it a secret. I was also now back together with Cindy, and we were rekindling our relationship since my Fourth of July hook-up, and I was now drinking alcohol several days a week. I spent the weekends with Cindy, and proceeded to drink alcohol when I was with her. Cindy made it very clear that she did not like that I drank, but she understood that I was going to do it anyways and there wasn’t much she could do to stop me. This went on for about four months until one night when I rode my bike down to a restaurant on the Seattle Waterfront. I had been drinking most of the day, and when I got to the restaurant I proceeded to order beer after beer and got drunk. Deep down I realized I didn’t want to be drinking like this and I started texting family and friends that I was an alcoholic and when they reached out to me, I texted them back very disrespectful things that I am very ashamed of. One of the people I texted was Cindy, and she told me she was coming to pick me up, so I proceeded to drink and cry in the restaurant while I waited for her. By the time Cindy picked me up, I was a sloppy blubbering sobbing drunk and I even had her stop at the store so I could pick up some wine for the next day. She took me to my dad’s house and we stayed the night there. The next morning Cindy, my dad, and I all talked about alcohol and how I have a problem with it. My father is a recovering alcoholic and he spent a lot of time talking to me about the damage it caused him in his life and how alcohol was a major factor to the divorce of him and my mom. I listened to what they said but I had already made up my mind that I was going to drink that wine I bought the night before. As I sat there with these people who loved me trying to tell me not to drink, I was sure I was going to drink that wine, until the moment that something clicked in my heart, and my desire to drink went away and I walked to the sink and poured out the wine. Both Cindy and my father were so flabbergasted that I changed my mind so quickly since I was so dead set on drinking and they couldn’t believe it. Deep down I knew that the switch within me to choose not to drink was Jesus Christ in my heart. Since that experience, I still had some relapses with alcohol, but Jesus, who now lives in my heart, has always brought me back.
A New Creation (Me, Today)
By the grace of God, I am now married to my beautiful wife and we have beautiful two children. I am a worship leader for a church and now use my musical gifts to glorify God! I continue to seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ every day. When I was saved by Jesus, it was like I awoke from a deep sleep and I could finally see through the deception that I had spent 25 years in. The more I learned about the truth of the Bible and Jesus Christ, the more my heart seemed to effortlessly change, which simultaneously made me feel more fulfilled.
I saw this natural change in my heart when the burden of me trying to control everything was lifted, and turned over to Jesus Christ, which now allows Him to make me into exactly who He made me to be. This is what I want anyway. What I failed to do on my own, He was and is able to do.
Nothing matters to me now more than Jesus. He is the most important being in my life – over my family and over everyone. The more I seek Him, the more I become bold about His Word. The bolder I become, the more of an outcast I turn into. Yes, I have become an outcast in the eyes of many, only because God has been so far removed from our secular society. In their eyes I am an outsider; in my eyes they are lost, just as I was for so many years.
Why do I choose Jesus? Why do I continue to believe Him and surrender to Him even if people think I am weird? He is the only One who has filled my every void and fulfilled what I have been searching for all my life, something I was seeking but was not even aware of. Those lonely nights and feelings of being alone even when I was surrounded by people were actually my search for love, true love. The devil tried his best to distort and even destroy my concept of love by luring me into lust and perversion. He did not want me to recognize love, or else I will seek for the source of love Himself. But the more the enemy kept me away from love, the more my heart hungered for it. I did not find it in women, not in alcohol, not in fame, not in porn, not through huffing gas, and not through any worldly thing I have done. I found love, true love, only in Jesus. This is why I choose Him and will continue to choose Him. There is no alternative to Him. He is the only One who can ever give me unconditional love.
Who am I that He even paid attention to me? He could have let me drown in alcoholism, or die of a disease because of my promiscuity. I could have ended up in jail by acting out my perverse fantasies and probably killing someone as a result. But He did not let any of those things happen to me. He has been watching me all along, waiting for the day when I will finally get it, the day when I will surrender my life to Him.
I am so humbled by all these. My entire life is not even enough to repay God for everything He did for me. How can I even come close to what Jesus has done for me on the cross? Man, He died for me – a lost, rebellious, perverted, cold-hearted, stubborn man. The least I can do for Him is to love and honor Him back, and to give my whole life to Him.
I have long searched for my soul mate and my best friend. I finally found Him. He has shown me a sense of peace and understanding that nothing else in this world has compared to, and to think that I am just in the very beginning stages of truly knowing Him and what He has in store for me. When I think of Jesus, watch, or listen to something that is Jesus-inspired, all I can do is cry because I can feel all the unconditional love enter the room and pierce through my heart. The only way I can describe it is the feeling you feel when you first fall in love, the type of feeling that makes you feel like nothing else matters except this person and this feeling.
I want to make it clear that I am not supporting religion, because I now realize it was never Jesus that I was angry with earlier in my life; it was the man made religion that I felt was controlling people because the religious churches and people are actually who killed Jesus on the cross. It was what I experienced in the Mormon culture when I was a little kid that I was angry at, not Jesus, and I now realize that. Like I said at the beginning of my story, in order for me to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He would literally have to come down and reveal Himself as The Way, The Truth, and The Life, which is exactly what He did. He didn’t have to save me, and He definitely didn’t have to prove Himself as real to me; but He did because I cried out to Him when I needed help, and Jesus, who is God in the flesh, showed up because He loves me unconditionally. My Jesus loves you exactly the same for no reason other than that you are, a child of God, His son, His Daughter. That’s it. No other reason. End of story.
This new life I am living, my mindset and my feelings, is the exact opposite of how I used to feel about Jesus. It surely blows my mind! I remember in college seeing people preaching Jesus and the Word of God on the street and finding myself becoming so enraged inside. I wanted to go over and scream at them and even possibly hit them. Looking back, I now see that something within me was being threatened by what this street preacher was saying. I now realize that my anger was from the demon inside of me who had me in bondage and was controlling me. He knew that if I listened to those words that preacher was saying, that he would lose his grasp on me, lose his power of deception on me, and ultimately lose my soul.
The battle between God and the devil has already been won through Jesus’ dying on the cross. The real spiritual battle is between mankind and Satan. Satan knows he cannot win God, but he knows he can win us if we choose to deny the gift of grace that is through Jesus Christ.
You and I have been given a precious gift over 2,000 years ago – a gift that entailed a human sacrifice, a man dying on the cross; a gift that gives peace, love, joy, and most importantly eternal life.
I finally opened this gift when I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I encourage you to open yours, while you can still find it. I want you to experience this gift in the same way or even greater way than how I have experienced it and continue to experience it.
I want to encourage you to make the CHOICE to seek Him. There is an undeniable spiritual war that we were all born into and Satan seeks to claim the souls who do not accept Jesus as the Son of God and The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No matter how much God loves you and wants you to follow Him, He still cannot make the decision for you because of the freewill that He has given all of us and will never take away. Thus, he cannot force us into the Kingdom of Heaven if we are not willing.
This is why I am trying to pay forward what was given to me in the midst of the lowest point of my sinful life: a hope for peace and fulfillment. I am still tempted by Satan even more than ever, since I now know Jesus; I still sin every single day. However, the grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love of Jesus Christ regardless of my sins, makes me want to be a better person, to try harder, to love deeper, to speak truth, to hold integrity, and to recognize that the enemy is Satan, and the enemy will stop at nothing to try and keep me from The Way, The Truth, and The Life which is Jesus.
Whosoever may be reading this, I want you to know that I care about you and present my story in its full, un-glamorized, entirety. I share the deepest darkest parts of myself, and set myself up for judgment and ridicule for the sole purpose that you know that you are not alone in your struggles; that there is hope; and that I am your brother and friend in this spiritual warfare that we were born into. I encourage you to be a rebel, be an outcast, and become a Warrior in Freedom and in Christ. What do you have to lose?