Wed, April 24, 2024

Best of Faith Friday: A life transformed

Steve Swanson is the former station manager of 88.3 WAFJ radio station in North Augusta.

Editor’s note: Steve Swanson passed away in March 2024. This “Best Of” column seemed most appropriate as Easter Sunday approaches this weekend. Steve often wrote about the sins of humanity being paid for by the death of Jesus and that his resurrection represents the anticipation believers can have in their own resurrection. This belief hits home for those recovering from addiction. Steve wrote this story shortly before he was diagnosed with cancer.

Frank Currie is choosing to live his days with gratitude. He is at a place in his life where he’s choosing to be a hope dealer for those who are battling drug addiction. He’s walked that painful road and seen firsthand the devastation resulting from choices he’s made and the impact and consequences of those choices.

Last month, Frank celebrated eight years of sobriety. Drugs have been part of his life for a long time, and he was desperate for help. In 2011, he was sentenced to the Augusta Daily Report Center. He says, “That place saved my life man!” It was there he was introduced to the Twelve Step program created by Alcoholics Anonymous. He was told only eleven percent of people make it through. Frank said it was here when he first heard a still small voice that said, “You’re going to make it!”

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Like many, Frank grew up in a fractured family. His parents divorced when he was twelve. Three years later, his dad said he’d come to celebrate Frank’s birthday. Frank sat on a curb in front of his house waiting for him to arrive, but he never did. As his birthday ended, his mom told him dad wasn’t going to make it. It was a crushing blow.

Not long after this heartbreak, Frank started hanging out with others who were also fatherless. He said, “I found out when I smoked marijuana it took me away from the pain I had, the anger I had towards my dad. It made me forget about it. It took me away to this fantasy place and then I found out the longer that I did it, I could just stay that way. After marijuana, Frank began using cocaine, and eventually meth. Frank said, “I destroyed my life because I could never stay sober.”

Frank’s dad re-entered his life after seven years and his folks got remarried. His dad helped him get a job as an ironworker. Frank says, “But I still was an addict. I didn’t know anything about addiction. I didn’t know that there were people who had found their way out of that hole. I spent maybe twenty years of hard-core meth addiction and pills. I lost everything. I lost my dignity and my family. Lost plenty of jobs. I destroyed my life. Like the prodigal son, maybe worse.”

Frank says the devil used condemnation and shame to keep him bound. The thoughts flooded in, “You can’t do it, you’re always going to be a loser, and you’re never going to be nothing but a drug addict.” The voices of others repeated and reinforced those lies.

He went through the program at the Augusta Daily Report Center and did well initially, but relapsed. Frank got addicted to pain pills and overdosed a couple of times.

On December 15, 2015, his life radically changed. It was the last day he used drugs. Frank tells the story this way, “The Lord saved me. I had a moment of clarity on the last day that I used. It was a battle, the devil on one shoulder telling me to keep doing drugs and that I wasn’t going to die, even though I thought I was going to. Then in the blink of that, a small voice said, if you don’t stop doing this, you’re gonna die.”

Frank says that when he was going through twelve-step recovery, “I cried out to God, and he heard me. 2nD Samuel 22:7 says: In my distress, I cried out to God. I didn’t know where to go to church, I didn’t know what to do. Everything I had been doing wasn’t working.”

Frank was led to 143 ministries on a Friday night and felt like the message he heard was directly for him. He started going every Friday night and began to learn how to follow Christ and how to embrace the authority he had in Christ. He also found out about a church called The River and began attending regularly.

Currently, Frank is working with Recovery Road ministries in Aiken. He says, “I love to try and help people escape drugs and alcohol. I know that’s my calling. God pulled me out of that darkness and set me free, for me to be able to go back into those environments and give these people what God gave me. Try to give them hope. To tell them if you want this, there’s a way out. I say to these guys, how bad do you want it? And what are you willing to do to get it? People don’t get the recovery that need it. They get it that want it.”

Frank went on to say, “My heart is to help addicts and alcoholics find Jesus. I definitely would not be here talking to you today if it weren’t for the twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. It helped clean all the junk inside of me out and ultimately bring the junk to Jesus. Frank is “Continually asking God for direction and other ways to help those who are in this battle. “I was asking what more can I do God?”  He told me to go to every meeting I can go to and share. Share the hope that I give you. “

Frank has had many opportunities to share his story and his growing walk of faith over the past eight years. He says, “God had put on my heart and opened the door for me to give back in a way that I feel I was led to go into.” He served as the Program Recovery Manager for four years at Prodigal Ministries and is currently looking at the possibility of starting another 501C3 to help even more addicts find help and hope.

He says, “When I cried out to God, he put somebody in my life that was already on this path that was working on recovery and was preaching and teaching people about Jesus. And I followed what he did. I’ve been following other people, and ultimately, (we are) following Jesus. We get together and follow Christ together. It’s a complete honor and privilege to talk about Jesus to anybody.”

Like Frank, you can find freedom from addiction. Here are some local resources that offer help:

143ministries.org

Prodigalaug.org

Recoveryroadministries.org

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