Book Intro

Sons & Daughters of Thunder Ministries endorses the book written by Reverend Michael Bowen coming soon!

1 PETER 4:12-13 (KJV) 

BELOVED, THINK IT NOT STRANGE CONSIDERING THE FIERY TRIAL WHICH IS TO TRY YOU, AS THOUGH SOME STRANGE THING HAPPENED UNTO YOU: BUT REJOICE IN AS MUCH AS YE ARE PARTAKERS OF CHRIST’S SUFFERINGS, THAT WHEN HIS GLORY SHALL BE REVEALED, YE MAY BE GLAD ALSO WITH EXCEEDING JOY

INTRODUCTION

The Poetry of Addiction was conceived the very first day as a teenager I believed the enemy’s lie that alcohol and drugs could be trusted and it was born in fiery revelation 30 years later behind the bars of a Texas prison by the Holy Spirit after God reached into my fallen life and delivered me out of the captivity, darkness and hell of addiction and into the loving arms of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  In a raging battle with alcoholism and drug addiction for more than two-thirds of my life, at age 46, I had fallen so fast and so deep into an addicted darkness that up until that time I had never experienced before.  As a successful real estate developer, championship youth football coach and dad to three awesome children, I thought the days of my disappearing into the very dangerous and unpredictable world of crack cocaine and methamphetamine addiction was behind me.  Boy was I wrong!

Addiction invaded my life and ruled over me for many years causing a roller coaster ride of instability, chaos and destruction. My life has been an expedition into the harshness of this cruel and unforgiving world and a journey inward deep within myself to become the man I am today. When I look back over the years I see a landscape marked by high mountains and dark low-lying valleys and I am able to observe myself traversing indiscriminately through a life characterized by periods of monumental success met by tragic failure to scratch and claw my way back to somehow find success again, only to plummet into more failure which always led to the hostile land of guilt, shame, disappointment, hopelessness and despair. This book is an in-depth look into how addiction was introduced into my life and how it seeded itself in my soul early on. As an unsuspecting, naive and totally unprepared teenager experimenting with alcohol and drugs, I believed the lie that these friends could be counted on and trusted to provide harmless fun and excitement – the bearer of good times with no negative side effects or ill-consequences. Growing up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in Dallas, Texas, I was the only son of a prominent and wealthy family and a very talented athlete that catapulted me into becoming a well known and successful football player on the high school and then collegiate level with many honors and accolades. Addiction erupted in my life in 1991, the year I was cut from the Edmonton Eskimos Football Team in the Canadian Football League, and resembling a dormant volcano suddenly blowing its top like Mount St. Helen’s did in 1980, it propelled me head first into the crack cocaine epidemic that raged in our country’s inner cities. For a young man who grew up with wealth, fame and a quality education, this experience was a far cry from the beautiful university campus and the wealthy suburban neighborhoods where I once lived and played. This book is a venture into the journey of my tragic descent into addiction and the unbelievable destruction it caused in every area and relationship in my life as it wrapped itself around me setting its hooks deep into my flesh and not letting go.

While taking on a life of its own, addiction led me into a vast wilderness of pain, misery, anguish and disappointment marked by a number of illuminating spiritual awakenings. The deeper I traveled along the dark and lonely road headed for destruction, the more I began to realize that I was caught in the cross-fire while in the midst of a battle that was being fought for my very soul. The incomprehensible amount of suffering associated with the level of addiction that manifested itself within me became the very fuel that would inevitably deliver me back to my God. The absolute lie of addiction and the disease that accompanies it, became the enemy’s weapon of choice for his attack against me to destroy my soul and to separate me and keep me detached from the Light, Love and Truth of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who instead became my saving grace and rescued me. Through His Awesome Power and unending Love; He faithfully and ultimately lifted me out of the lies and deception of the dark flaming pit of addiction and into the fullness of His Spirit of Truth.

My life early on was filled with so much potential, promise, achievement, comfort and esteem. Life was good but somehow through all the success, something just didn’t seem right. For me, things were just not adding up, as my crumbling insides never seemed to match my lofty outside appearances. Upon reaching the pinnacle of success in football or in some other area in my life; areas that the world promised would bring me a wealth of happiness and fulfillment; the promises never seemed to meet my expectations. Once I arrived at the destination of another achievement, the initial pleasant feelings would soon nose-dive into contempt; like that of a child on a hot summer’s day having had only one or two licks of an ice cream cone only to watch it tumble off the cone onto the dirty ground. I was left with the haunting feeling that something was missing and that somehow, I had been duped. I would wonder to myself why I had been so excited once again for something that was supposed to be wonderful and exhilarating when in actuality it only led to more disconnect within myself and that detachment always fueled disappointment. “Why had I worked so hard for something that in the end seemed so translucent, unsatisfying and meaningless which never lived up to all the hype?” After arriving happily at the intended destination through hard work, my own inner strength, mental toughness, perseverance and steely resolve at the peak of another worldly accomplishment; I would say to myself rather discouraged, “Is this all there is?” No matter how hard I worked to find the right combination of things that would bring me lasting fulfillment; I never could seem to realize the deepest desires that burned hot within my heart. There was always a frustrating disconnect between what my mind was speaking to me and what my heart was screaming so loudly! I always felt like I was missing the main point in life and this left me feeling less than whole and dejected. This caused me to be in a constant state of frustration and confusion within my inner being resulting in a young man full of anger and rage, one that I previously expressed through my physical combat and fighting on the football field. With my football career ended, I now had adapted to keeping my fury in check by the use of the alcohol and drugs I had come to trust. I just did not know why this formula for success, one that was taught to me by my parents and the world, seemed to be working for others and not for me. “Why did everyone else seem to have it all together and be happy when I was struggling to make sense of the most basic of things?” I had an endless stream of money, the best cars to drive, fame from football, beautiful girlfriends, lots of friends and a seemingly exciting life yet I did not feel satisfied and complete. Others were happier for my wealth and achievements than I was for myself. Those around me were more enamored than I was by the amount of money my family had, my out of control spending habits and all the recognition and notoriety that my football exploits brought. Through the long, sideways, up and down journey of my disconnected life; I came to know alcohol and cocaine as comforting friends, ones that I could count and lean on to counteract the negative feelings and emotional states of being brought upon me by this complex and bewildering, very confusing and most frustrating dilemma called my life.

The arrangement I found in alcohol and the street drugs I began to abuse became a “Catch-22” proposition. The method I had chosen for relief; having only a temporary effect, would actually begin to cause more of the same that I was trying to escape. The more I used substances to counter act my negative feelings, the more negative feelings I began to have and like a rush hour freeway fender bender, adverse consequences starting crashing into my life at warp speed. As the negative consequences began piling up due to my increased alcohol and drug use; I began to experience severe episodes of confusion, resentment and frustration accompanied by huge mood swings that led me on an up and down roller coaster ride straight into the pits of hell. As the onslaught of destruction continued, my emotional state of being went into a decline dropping me further and further into a tomb of depression and despair. I spent most of my time trying to figure out the right combination of alcohol, drugs, money, sex and anything else that could give me a rush to try and propel me out of the decline I had found myself descending. Nothing could ever seem to send me to a place high enough to get me out of the emotional hole the choices I was making had dug. This downward spiraling effect propelled me deeper and deeper into my addiction that was quickly taking over my life. As addiction sank its teeth into me, this pattern always carried me into total unmanageability and absolute destruction in the end. Once I started to drink alcohol and use cocaine, anything could happen and usually did. I would inevitably disappear for days and then the days turned into weeks and later even months vanishing into the myriad of crack houses and drug dens in the inner-city neighborhoods where my drug of choice, crack cocaine could be found in abundance. I roamed the streets in search of my high at all cost with no regard for my life or the consequences of my actions. I was a very sick man with a very severe crack cocaine addiction. I just could never seem to figure out that alcohol and drugs could not be a part of my life! As I struggled with addiction, I always placed hope in my own strength and toughness that had always worked so well for me on the football field. I believed that somehow through perseverance, I could learn to incorporate a manageable amount of alcohol and drugs into a successful life as I saw in other recreational users of both. Of course, as you will find out in this book, the successful management never came and all I ever ended up with was the same defeating feeling of complete failure as I would inevitably fall again blindly into yet another stinking crack cocaine rat-hole of addiction.

Addiction has been a long, grueling, exhausting, baffling, heartbreaking, painful and spiritually enlightening journey which caused much emotional pain and suffering for my loved-ones, my precious children, my close friends over the years and the endless number of employers who were always blindsided and left to pick up the pieces after any one of my many disappearances. I have become a tough, street smart, battle hardened, spiritual warrior who played Russian roulette with his soul in an evil, dark, wicked, twisted, violent and unforgiving drug culture. It is only by the grace of God and the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ that I have lived this long to tell my story and not have it told in the obituaries. Only through God’s Grace and Mercy, have I survived all the dangerous and life-threatening events that my addiction led me into faithfully like a sheep being led to slaughter. I have been in numerous fights and one that almost took my life leaving me with a major head injury and permanent deafness in my right ear after I tried to fight three men in a parking lot outside a bar. That night I tried to play my role as a ten-foot-tall bullet-proof superhero and they smashed my head against the concrete giving me a serious brain injury. I could not walk a straight line for almost a year and to this day still experience balance issues and ringing in my ear from time to time. On other occasions, I had guns put to my head while robbed, knives pulled on me, almost been stabbed, chased through the streets by gang-banging drug dealers with a sawed-off shotgun, overdosed in the projects and left outside on the ground for dead, involved in numerous high speed car chases with the police and countless automobile wrecks all in the pursuit of the high from the alcohol and drugs that fed my out of control addiction. I always seemed to rebound rather quickly after each head first dive into my addiction adding another tough protective layer to my crumbling insides. After dusting myself off, healing my skin deep physical wounds; with my always screaming pride, I put Band-Aids over my deeper emotional wounds to cover the unbearable shame, guilt and embarrassment just in time to get back on my ready to gallop horse hell bent on another long and dusty ride down the same old beaten path of my addiction. You would think after the first couple rides, I would get a new horse and take a different path but that never happened!

My children, loved-ones and good friends have not been so resilient to bounce back as quickly as I became accustomed to with my convenient memory loss and cavalier attitude. They were always caught totally off guard by another sudden disappearance from a seemingly “good life” back into the recesses of my degrading, disappointing, dark addicted life. One moment I would be trotting along happily through life with so much promise and potential and things looked to be going well after working so hard at putting my life back together after a fall and then in an instant I was gone! Like smoke escaping from a window of a speeding car, I would vanish into thin air without a trace leaving no trail and a bunch of hurt, angry and disappointed people behind wondering how I could have done this to them once again. They did not know if I was dead or alive or if they would ever see me again. This just didn’t make sense! Like a cruel punishing trick played over and over again, for no apparent reason other than to selfishly get high and wreak havoc on those left behind. It was not fair to those held hostage by my wicked addiction because of their love for me. Their fragile hope in me and wavering trust in my diminishing word when I promised I would never go back to my addiction, coupled with my inability to maintain my integrity slowly whittled away the foundation of trust and faith in which those relationships were grounded. The broken promises have caused fractures and hurts that have never healed in many of my relationships. Some relationships that were dear to me have been completely destroyed having been pounded and grinded into dust only to be left is a long trail of hurt, anger, unforgiveness and tears. All because I was lost, blinded, confused, deceived and unwilling to listen to the voice that was crying out from within; screaming for something to save me! In my addiction, my spirit was crying out for God and my flesh was screaming for more alcohol, drugs, sex, adrenaline, excitement and absolute rebellion. I kept feeding my flesh as it went into full riot mode and refused to heed to the spirit within my soul that was lost and crying out for a savior!

The Poetry of Addiction is my testimony to all, that when Jesus sets you free, you are free indeed. When an addict SURRENDERS ALL to the Lord, then and only then can the addict through the Power and Authority in the Name of Jesus Christ and not through his or her own limited and always failing strength, finally step into Victory over all addictions just as Jesus Christ has already claimed Victory over all things. Once I surrendered and chose Jesus Christ and Life, I entered into a two-way intimate love relationship with Him and found rest for my weary battle torn soul. In Christ Jesus, I have finally found my integrity through my now Holy Spirit guided actions and obedience to God’s Word. The Lord has carried me out of the failure of defeat and into the success of Victory in Him. I am successful when I quit trying to be my own god and savior, following the world’s broken belief systems and submit myself in FULL SURRENDER of my will to the will of my Creator, Jesus Christ. As I submit myself to the Lord of my life, I am now guided into His understanding and His wisdom of who I was created to be. As He reveals His Truth to me, I am now open to becoming that person; a new creation in Christ Jesus as God perfects His work in me and begins to change me into the image of His only begotten son.

2 CORINTHIANS 5:17 (NKJV)
THEREFORE, IF ANYONE IS IN CHRIST, HE IS A NEW CREATION; OLD THINGS HAVE PASSED AWAY; BEHOLD, ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW.

All old things are passed away including my addiction and the wreckage of my past. Now, all things are new as I rest in the assurance that I know Jesus can do better for me than I can ever do for myself. I get out of my own way and let God through Jesus Christ have His way in me; creating in me a new life guided by His gentle loving hand while He leads me into all Truth. My hope is for full healing in all my current relationships which are truly precious to me and for understanding and forgiveness in the relationships that were destroyed in my past. I am contrite, remorseful and apologetic for all the hurt and pain that I caused to others in my addiction and for the damage that it has done to the people I have loved the most. My new way of life and my walk in the Spirit will serve as a testament to everyone about the Truth in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and that through Him all things are possible, including Victory over addiction. The most important thing in my life, rising from the ashes of cold addicted death is my relationship with Jesus Christ and to share His Love, Hope and Strength with others so they too can come out from the land of the lost, the land of the living dead and join me in the Triumph of Christ Jesus over addiction.

Please enjoy the story of my life and God’s poetry given to me in fiery revelation from behind the bars of a cold and lonely depressing prison in Austin, Texas. In my incarceration, I finally surrendered to Jesus Christ, listened to God’s voice and acted on His life-giving instructions which led me happily into true Freedom. In Christ Jesus, I have broken free from the heavy yoke and stifling bondage of self. I have claimed Victory in Jesus Christ over the addiction that nearly destroyed my soul. I have come out of a world gone insane and from my stubborn, rebellious and sinful fleshly nature that up until now held me captive and in darkness most of my life. I have now settled into the rest of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as I found Freedom in the most unlikely place on this planet to experience Freedom. I found sweet Freedom as a five-time convicted felon, locked in a morbid and destitute prison, behind razor wire fences, steel doors and rough concrete block walls. It is in this prison that I was able to finally break through the biggest lie of my life; the enemy’s weapon of addiction, in the battle being fought for my soul. I have been delivered in red-hot, fiery revelation back to my God through His saving Grace, incomprehensible unfailing Love and the awesome Power and Truth that can only be found in a relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

My hope is that you will allow Jesus Christ to come into your heart through the story of my life, the poetry of my soul and the scripture written in this book to reveal to you in your spirit the flaming Truth about addiction and who Jesus Christ is as our Lord and Savior, the only begotten son of our Father, Almighty God! Whether you are addicted or not, or if you are just an interested reader, this book is my heart’s deepest expression to you describing in brutal honesty my lifelong battle with addiction and my final deliverance from it into the Truth. Today, in absolute authority standing firmly and boldly over addiction with my foot pressed squarely on its neck, I proclaim fearlessly the jubilant triumphant war cry of Victory given to me by the Power in the Blood and the Authority in the Name of Jesus Christ.

We all have to make our own personal journey through the heated trials and tribulations of this fallen, dark and deceptive world to find our way out of the grips of black-death, back to the Light of eternal Life with our Creator. My journey led me through some of the most dangerous, spiritually wicked wilderness and wasteland of the living dead that snaked its way through the dark valleys of alcohol, crack cocaine and methamphetamine addiction that ended in the devastating pit of absolute defeat, despair and an encounter with the devil himself. Your journey may be the same, similar, or entirely different. Wherever your journey takes you, I wish you God-speed and hope my story contained in the pages of The Poetry of Addiction will give you inspiration and encouragement to never give up. No matter how many times you get knocked down, you must get back up, keep on fighting and cry out to God for help. Remember, the Victory in your life and over addiction only comes when you COMPLETELY SURRENDER yourself to the loving care of Jesus Christ. Giving my life in TOTAL SURRENDER to Jesus Christ took the never ending, never successful, always defeating battle out of my own hands that were never strong enough to stand the test of time and placed the fight where it belongs in the hands of Mighty Power, Unending Strength, Absolute Authority and the Complete Dominion of Jesus Christ who has already claimed Victory over all things. Our Victory has already happened and Jesus is waiting for us to enforce it by accepting Him. I finally had to come to an end of myself and my own strength and step into Christ’s Victory enforcing and inserting that Victory into my life, giving my whole self over to Him. In my absolute brokenness and total destruction, I was able to surrender fully to Him and once I did, immediately I entered into His Victory and found much needed rest for my tormented, wearied, downtrodden and battle-torn soul. As I entered into a full white-flag surrender of myself to Jesus, I entered into Truth and into the fullness of His unconditional love. Not by my own strength and might, which is limited; and not by my own understanding, which is totally ill-equipped to handle such devastating confusion; only by the Power, Wisdom and Grace of the Most High God, the Creator of all things, was I able to finally overcome my addiction.

ROMANS 8:37 (NKJV)
YET IN ALL THESE THINGS WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS THROUGH HIM WHO LOVED US.

In my experience and through my lifelong battle with addiction, I have come to know the Truth in God’s Word that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and our eternal Savior and He is who the bible says He is and He did all that is written of Him in the Holy Scriptures. I know this Truth because the Holy Spirit revealed it to me and I am a living witness showing that He is still doing the same things today because He is doing them through me. My life testifies to this Truth and to the fact, if He is doing it for me now, then He will also do the same thing for you! God is not a respecter of persons. We are all His precious children who He wants to be saved from the sin of this world and its destruction through Jesus Christ that will bring us back to Him. His will for His children is for us to enter into a two-way intimate relationship of love with Him through His son who He sent to us as our Savior.

Read this book and if you can relate to any one part, then you too can live in Victory over any addiction or difficulty that has you locked in bondage, thus keeping you from being your very best and living a life of Freedom and prosperity. In my Victory found in Christ Jesus, my mission and calling upon my life is to preach to all who will listen, the good news of Jesus Christ and the unveiling of the lie of addiction. This book speaks the spiritual truth about addiction which is the enemy’s weapon of mass destruction aimed at God’s precious children to keep them separated from their Heavenly Father long enough to cause the destruction of their souls. This weapon was used against me and entered my life with the sole purpose to blind me to the Truth of who I am as a Child of God and to keep me from my inheritance of eternal Life through the faith and belief in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, who is our only Hope. This weapon descended upon my promising life like an invading army of special-force paratroopers who were hell bent on the total destruction, annihilation and theft of my light, my love, my promise and all of my precious relationships.

I shout this today boldly and claim, “I, Michael Bowen, am a living example that there is Victory over addiction in Christ Jesus!” I hope and pray that you too will come to find the golden answer to that giant ever puzzling question of why addiction has you locked in its grips in defeat and uncover the answer that has escaped you your whole addicted life. There is only one place that it can be found and that is in God’s Spirit of Truth. God revealed to me through His son Jesus Christ, the Truth of who I am as His precious child destined for Victory and the Truth about my addiction, the great lie He delivered me from by His Light Shining Grace!

GRACE

Wings of the eagle
Light as to grace
God’s beauty shines forth
Brilliance, glory, angel’s face
Awesome in heavenly splendor
Shine always to displace
Never ending love
Truth, hope, blinding faith
Born of flying spirit
Conceived and delivered by holy winds
Wings flying eagle
Light shining grace…No End!

EXODUS 19:4(KJV)
YE HAVE SEEN WHAT I DID UNTO THE EGYPTIANS, AND HOW I BARE YOU ON EAGLES WINGS, AND BROUGHT YOU UNTO MYSELF

ISAIAH 40:31 (NIV)
BUT THOSE WHO HOPE IN THE LORD WILL RENEW THEIR STREGNTH. THEY WILL SOAR ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES; THEY WILL RUN AND NOT GROW WEARY, THEY WILL WALK AND NOT BE FAINT

2 CORINTHIANS 12:9-10 (NIV)
BUT HE SAID TO ME,”MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS”, ”THEREFORE I WILL BOAST ALL THE MORE GLADLY ABOUT MY WEAKNESSES, SO THAT CHRIST’S POWER MAY REST ON ME. THAT IS WHY, FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I DELIGHT IN WEAKNESSES, IN INSULTS, IN HARDSHIPS, IN PERSECUTIONS, IN DIFFICULTIES. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG

RIGHT WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE

1 CORINTHIANS 1:26-31(NIV)
BROTHERS AND SISTERS, THINK OF WHAT YOU WERE WHEN YOU WERE CALLED. NOT MANY OF YOU WERE WISE BY HUMAN STANDARDS, NOT MANY WERE INFLUENTIAL: NOT MANY WERE OF NOBLE BIRTH, BUT GOD CHOSE THE FOOLISH THINGS OF THE WORLD TO SHAME THE WISE; GOD CHOSE THE WEAK THINGS OF THE WORLD TO SHAME THE STRONG. GOD CHOSE THE LOWLY THINGS OF THIS WORLD AND THE DESPISED THINGS – AND THE THINGS THAT ARE NOT – TO NULLIFY THE THINGS THAT ARE, SO THAT NO ONE MAY BOAST BEFORE HIM. IT IS BECAUSE OF HIM THAT YOU ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO BECAME FOR US WISDOM FROM GOD – THAT IS OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, HOLINESS AND REDEMPTION. THEREFORE, AS IT IS WRITTEN,”LET THE ONE WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

MICHAEL BOWEN, you are foolish because you threw away a good life with a beautiful family, plenty of money, successful career as a real estate developer and incredible position coaching in youth sports. You are weak because you allowed alcohol and drugs to destroy your life. You are lowly because you became a drug addicted criminal with multiple felonies. You are despised by many who can’t fathom how anyone could just abandon their children and all their responsibilities to go smoke crack and never return. Michael Bowen, look how far you fell!

“I am right where I am supposed to be in Christ Jesus and today, I excitingly and boldly boast in the Lord!”

~ Michael Bowen

Poetry Of Addiction Website