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The first 3 months at TLC were physically unbearable. After years of beating up my body and using cocaine I had never taken some time off to feel anything. So once the vodka was taken away, the cocaine was taken away, working on my feet 14 hours/day was taken away, and the night life was taken away I was left with a sleeping disorder, eating disorder and unbearable pains in my nose cavity, my lower back, knees, and ankles. I had done so much damage in my sinus cavity that with out cocaine I could not breathe through my nose therefore keeping me up at night. The throbbing in my body would not end either. I wanted to snort a line just to make all that pain go away, I thought, WELCOME TO WITHDRAWL! Ok so I have accepted Christ into my heart but will Christ reject me because I still wanted to snort cocaine? These were the kind of questions that I struggled with. Let me be clear, I have been on this journey for 12 years, no one NO ONE reaches the mark we ALL for short, yet God through Christ’s blood accepts us no matter what! Once we choose in our hearts to follow Jesus, (Ο Ιησούς Χριστός) the same God I went to church for on Easter and Christmas at St. D’s back in the day, he begins to work in us, it does not happen over night. It took me 20 years of dysfunctional thinking and behavior to get to that point, accepting Christ into my heart wasn’t going to “fix” that over night. I still had the same brain, right? What it meant was I needed to start making some serious decisions now that I know The Truth. I never wanted anyone keeping me accountable for anything, I was my own person, free will, which I still have, but following Christ meant now I am going to be kept accountable. I was willing to humble myself and follow the Holy Spirit (Αγίου Πνεύματος). I grew up with all this, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, I just never understood. TLC helped me understand.
Wanting to still snort cocaine was normal, but of course I felt guilty because now that I made a decision to stay clean I should not be thinking this way. But, where was this guilt really coming from? How am I going to let go of guilt and shame? How am I going to forgive myself? What about all those who wronged me, hurt me, abused me? How do I forgive them? The questions were endless. I can tell you this, The bible answered ALL those questions for me and it answers many unanswered questions I still struggle with today. Yes, this was a day-to-day journey, small baby steps at a time, but my natural instinct was to take leaps and every time I tried to go ahead of myself I fell on my face, God showed me how to slow down. It is not an easy journey, it takes a lot of hard work, patience, and discipline which most struggling with addictions do not have but it is something anyone can acquire!! I am walking proof.
I remember reading about King Solomon. The wealthiest King of all the land. God gave him an opportunity to ask for anything his heart desired and god would grant it. I thought wow, ask for his fortune to be multiplied by 100, make sure he truly is the wealthiest, but what does Solomon do? He asked for wisdom. Blew my mind away! Wisdom Solomon explains, more specifically Gods Wisdom, surpasses all material things. So what do I do as a ‘baby’ Christian? I prayed continuously for God’s wisdom. What am I doing today? I am educating myself working on my 4th degree, from a Biblical perspective. ONLY WITH THE LORD’S WISDOM AND STRENGTH can someone with my kind of back ground can do something like this. That prayer was answered, praise Him!!!
My Purpose with LIFEiLEAD is to be a resource for those who are struggling with drugs and alcohol and to simply bring hope to the hopeless through my life’s stories.
Please make out the check to George Kalaras (until we have 501(c)(3) status) and send to:
PO Box 633
Warrington, PA 18976
I mentioned earlier this week that I ended up at a Christian facility that housed men with life controlling issues, primarily drugs and alcohol, Transformation Life Center (TLC). My decision to go get help was based on getting rid of this vicious cycle of cocaine addiction, not to study the Bible. I had been to about 4 different 30 day programs prior, therefore I had an idea of what to expect. But I was so wrong, I was so way of base, little did I understand the power of God.
After being at TLC for 1 month I finally opened up the Bible for the first time in my life to Psalm 40 and started reading, let me say this, 12 years later and I still can not open up the Bible EXACLTY to Psalm 40! God speaks to us in mysterious ways and through His word is one of them. I can not put into words what I am trying to explain, all I know is that everyone one has potential to experience what I have experienced. Like I said I opened up the Bible for the first time and I came to Psalm 40. I read:
1I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry
(I saw my past). I thought of that prayer I offered up in faith that afternoon in the back of the restaurant in November 2000. I thought “he did hear my cry!” I thought of that pit I was stuck in, that vicious cycle of cocaine addiction and how with that prayer how God lifted me up from that self destructive pattern.
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
(I saw my present). I thought how God answered my prayer by providing TransformationLifeCenter for me, that rock He set my feet on which saved my life.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.
(I saw my future). I thought how great it would be one day if I tell others how I overcame cocaine addiction. How wonderful would it be I tell others how powerful prayers are when offered up in faith? I thought how remarkable it would be if all of us would put our trust in God. I saw then what I have been doing for the last 10 years!
My intention was to read all of Psalm 40 but I stopped at verse 3 because I new in that moment that God is real. Perhaps the prayer 2 months prior to that did not convince me or all the other factors in this journey did not convince because I was a true believer of “coincidence.” Of course I would be. I did not know God existed. Someone once told me that a coincidence is something like wearing the same pair of jeans but something that touches us to the very core of our soul is divine intervention. The appetite I had for cocaine was replaced with a passion to know the God I grew up with in the Greek Orthodox Church. In that moment I shut the Bible and closed my eyes and accepted Christ into my heart. In that moment I knew that I wanted to live my life according to scripture and Jesus’ teachings. No one at TLC brainwashed me, no one was humming weird chants or boiling pots like wizards or witches do in movies trying to inflict curses on me. My gosh! These other men were just as broken as I was, they also needed a Savior! Believe me when I say this, and those of you who personally know me, KNOW this for a fact! If anything truly “weird” was happening…. I DON”T CARE HOW FAR AWAY I WAS from Chicago or civilization, I WOULD HAVE RAN!!!!! Those of you, who know me, KNOW ME!!! I don’t play games. But no, my experience happened when I was all alone in the dorm by myself, just me, the Bible, and God. The old “me” was on his way out and the new “me” was on his way in and the healing process of covering up that pit of destruction was beginning.