For William, ketamine was simply part of his existence. Years into heavy abuse, he knew he should stop, but even when he started peeing plastic he was helpless to help himself.
Until the night he found himself on his knees in the shower, sobbing to God for help.
Goodbye Christ, Hello Ketamine
William grew up in church, but by 13 he was playing basketball with neighborhood kids. Those games were usually on Sunday, so he gradually replaced the love of Christ he had known in church with friendships developed on the courts.
By 15 he had lost interest in school and developed a very strong interest in girls. Dating led to discos, where he was introduced to ketamine. Getting high on weekends, he never considered the consequences. But consequences found him. His grades fell as he became more drug dependent, and he did not finish school.
When a friend asked him to work with him as a universal consultant in his company, William threw himself into the job. He studied hard to learn all he could about the business, but he still got high every evening. Work and ketamine were his only activities. Sleep became elusive to the point he lost a lot of hair. Dimly, he realized something had to change, but as long as it was up to him, nothing would.
Then God took him by the hand and led him through a series of reasons to give up drugs.
The End of the World
In 2012, the Mayan calendar ended, and many thought that indicated the end of the world. William listened to the fearmongering and lived in a state of permanent fear, which led to a vicious cycle — fear and drugs and drugs and fear. He now says this was God’s way of getting his attention, but he didn’t know how to respond.
When he tried talking to God, he asked questions to justify himself. “Why is it the people who worship Buddha or the Queen of Heaven all have so much money, whereas people who worship Jesus are all poor?” he demanded.
He mentally reviewed what his life had been like when he went to church with his family. Then he asked, “God, if You are here, why do I still feel so unhappy?”
Feeling unanswered, he carried on as before.
Witnessing a Miracle
Before the Mayan calendar ended, police arrested a friend for drug possession. It was his fifth arrest, and under Hong Kong law almost certainly meant a lengthy jail term. While out on bail, his friend asked William to accompany him to church, hoping it would make things better. William agreed, and for an hour and a half each week, they were not able to take drugs.
William felt the strain and knew he was hopelessly addicted.
His friend began fasting and praying, even changing his diet to eat only vegetables. At his court appearance, the judge fined him $125. And he was free to go. Stunned, William felt he had just witnessed a miracle. But witnessing a miracle is not the same thing as experiencing one, and he continued his drug habit.
After taking ketamine for more than ten years, William’s kidneys and bladder were nearly shot. Watching a ninety-minute movie at home meant pausing the video as many as six times in order for him to urinate. He felt his bladder would burst. He couldn’t even go anywhere. Although friends kept inviting him to play basketball, he couldn’t leave the house long enough. When he still had a job, once he managed to get to his office, he was trapped inside because that’s where the toilet was.
He had to keep a large jug by his bed so he could relieve himself throughout the night. Sleeping was impossible.
Then the chemicals used to cut ketamine caused his body to urinate plastic. William was concerned, but even that was not enough to make him try to quit.
Facebook Guilt Trip
Physically unable to do anything else, William spent a lot of time on social media. There he saw his elementary school classmates moving on with their lives — graduating from university, getting married, starting families. He realized his life had gone down the toilet. All his girlfriends had left him. He had lost his job. His family was disappointed in him. But he still remembered his Christian upbringing, and this background made it natural for him to talk to God.
“Jesus,” he said, “I see that people in church are blessed with a good family life. I grew up in a Christian family, went to church, attended a Christian school. So why is my whole life such a disappointment? What makes me take drugs? Why am I so unhappy?”
That’s when William decided he would stop taking drugs, but there were a couple of other factors involved in his decision. He had run out of money and ways to get money, so he could no longer support his habit. Although his family supported him and did not turn him into the police, they would not give him money for drugs. But they did pray for him.
Yet quitting wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.
I’ll Give My Body and Life to You
The day he decided to quit, he threw away all the drugs he had. Just a few minutes later, panic set in, and he found himself furiously driving to a friend’s house to get more. That’s when he realized he was incapable of simply quitting on his own. His first thought was to commit suicide. But then he thought about all the trouble it would cause if he failed to die. There would be a police investigation, he might be arrested, and his family would definitely be furious with him.
So, he returned home to take the drugs he scored from his friend.
Later, kneeling in the shower, he sobbed in desperation and despair as he fully understood he had neither the strength nor the willpower to quit. In that state he finally spoke honestly with God.
“God, I know I’m an addict and not worth anything. I can’t talk to my family about this; they’ll just get angry. You know how stern my father has always been! I know it’s my own fault. I’m the one who messed up. But if You will teach me what to do, I’ll give my body and my life as an offering to you.”
Night after night, he prayed the same prayer in the shower.
Through an internet search he discovered more than ten Christian drug rehabilitation centers in Hong Kong. Glorious Praise Fellowship was the name that spoke to him. They listed no Facebook link, no webpage, not even an address. Only a phone number, which he called. But with limited space, they were unwilling to accept him without some kind of reference or guarantee he was serious about quitting. Disappointed but determined, he approached the social welfare services for help in finding a rehab center that would accept him.
While waiting for his social worker’s help, William received a Facebook message from a friend and former addict who had recently been furloughed from a rehab center. William contacted him to ask where his facility was. It was Glorious Praise Fellowship.
And they had places available.
The friend intervened on William’s behalf, and his social welfare worker called the center for him. William also called and got the good news: Glorious Praise Fellowship had accepted him.
It Doesn’t Get Easier
Life in the rehab center wasn’t what William had expected. He entered with an attitude — thinking, because he believed in Christ, he would have no problem with detoxification. But he had problems with the staff, believing they were unnecessarily stern. After fourteen days, he decided to leave. He thought he had surely learned all he needed and could continue on his own.
Before he left, a staff member urged him to stay. “Almost no one makes it on the outside after such a short time,” he told William.
But William thought he knew what he was doing and left anyway, and not without a backup plan. “Okay,” he told God. “I’m leaving now. But if I really can’t stay clean outside, then I’ll go back.”
Not even one day passed before he was high again. But he remembered his deal with God.
Making plans to go back was the most gut-wrenching time of William’s life. If he committed to going through the entire rehabilitation process, he would have no access to Facebook. His phone would be off limits. He would not be allowed to leave. He would be completely isolated from the outside world.
For a whole year.
But he couldn’t just drop out of life. No communication with anyone outside meant he had to tell people he would be gone for a year, which meant admitting his addiction, entailing a huge loss of face. William says he learned then the meaning of true repentance.
He struggled with what he had to do for a whole night. He sobbed; he begged God to spare him the humiliation. He cried out, “What can I do? I have no choice. There’s no way out.”
God allowed him to agonize until early morning. Then William heard a quiet voice tell him, “You will attend seminary.”
He immediately fell into a restful sleep.
This time, when he entered Glorious Praise Fellowship, William did so with a completely different attitude. He was cooperative and eager to do as he was told. And he realized the staff weren’t mean at all; they cared enough to help him. He got to know the missionary who ran the place, who took an interest in William and began training him. He took him on visitations and evangelistic trips into China and India. Eventually, he helped William enroll in seminary, fulfilling the promise God made to him when he finally repented.
William has been out of rehabilitation for about three years. God has blessed him with a wife, a stable family relationship and good health, even to the point of completely healing his kidneys and bladder. His ministry in China involves working with drug addicts. When William graduates seminary in 2019, he plans to continue and expand this ministry. Eventually, he hopes to earn a PHD in theology.
William is living proof that God never wastes anything. Even his deepest despair and utter hopelessness are now being used to reach people in China who are still in the depths of addiction. His previous lostness is now overshadowed by God’s message of hope, and those he ministers to can clearly see they are never alone.