Elijah: Road to Redemption

Elijah Nnaeto
A man shares his story of recovery from addiction and a history of abuse.

My name is Elijah, but everyone calls me Eli. My birth name is Jaleel, but that was taken from me. The name Elijah has too many painful scars, so I use the name Eli more often.

I am a recovering addict. My story begins when I was 11. I was put back into foster care, and through many homes I was abused and molested. When I turned 16, I joined a gang because I felt that was my family. I never knew my dad. My mom died when I was 12, so that lead me to being in and out of lock up.

I always knew there was something special about me, but I never entertained that thought. When I turned 18, I went to Cumberland County Prision for making uneducated choices. I was in there for a month and half, that's where I gave my life to Jesus Christ. I met a counselor named Larry Washington who took me under his wing, because he saw something I couldn't see in myself. He told me of a place in Harrisburg called Bethesda Mission. I really didn't want to go. I went to the Drug and Alcohol Christian based 12-step program, but left 40 days after I was in the program, because I wasn't ready.

My brother died on December 5, 2014. I relapsed and I began to do drugs again. So I went back to Bethesda in 120 days, and decided enough was enough. I planned on staying there for one day because of my pride, but met a guy named Barry Davis who later would become my counselor. He told me it was going to be okay, to pick up my head, and gave me some encouraging words from his personality which gives you no option but to listen. I applied for the program, and got in.

I have been at Bethesda Mission for six months on September 25, 2015. I will have seven months clean. I thank God everyday for not giving up on my life. People in my life have treated me as always being a door mat; love really has done nothing for me but abused me, raped me, and told me I was worthless. But Jesus has shown me unconditional love, and the Bethesda Mission has become my family.

I give thanks that God placed Barry Davis in my life because without him, I would have left and probably died in my addiction, but Barry saw hope in me, and gave me a chance. I am happy to say, I can smile and truly be happy and SOBER. There are times when it gets hard but, I wake up everyday alive and clean, so I take it one second at a time. In a split second I could be the same person I once was. The road gets rocky. Drama, doubt, and fear, block my path but there will always be this light at the end that will never burn out. It is everlasting.

Last Updated: 04/25/2017