Story Tuesday Presents "Luis Ponce"

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Luis Ponce, yes that is my name, one of the many things that people know about me. But I am not here to tell you of those things, but rather of the ones that seem shocking to some, and are rarely known to most. These are the events and life experiences that shaped my life and have allowed me to be the strong, God driven individual that I am today.

Let’s begin.

At the age of 21, I already knew more about alcohol and drinking than a compilation of individuals at an AA meeting. If the week would have 8 days, I would have drunk all 8 days. Waking up with a hangover went from being constant to something that I was used to, it was part of my life. I would have my sips during work to be able to get through my shift, and as soon as I clocked out, I would head to the nearest bar. And didn’t leave until they closed for the night. But it doesn’t end there. Then I’d drive, yes drive, to the next bar until they closed and so forth, until 9am the next day. To say that most bars in my neighborhood knew me is an understatement.

            Of course the only way I was able to stay going in my depressive state of mind that alcohol would induce me to, was to perk up with the use of cocaine. Those two elements would dominate the next 4 years of my life.

There would be moments that I would not have any money to buy my drugs, but since I was such a loyal customer, the dealers would give me supply on credit. Other times I would have sexual relations or perform certain things to be able to get my fix. Street violence was not far behind as you can imagine based on the lifestyle depicted here. In desperate moments I would just roam the streets looking for someone to injure and steal from. Doing jobs for some of the dealers, being shot at, home invasions, street racing, whatever I needed to do to get money, I did in order to buy drugs and to pay for my tabs at the bars. I know what you are asking, “didn’t you say you had a job?”. Yes I did, and a well paying one too. My almost $3000 a week however, was not enough to sustain my addictions.

            Little by little my body began to feel the heavy toll of my putrid lifestyle. I began to feel abdominal pains from all the drinking. Sinus complications from the cocaine, amongst other issues. Coughing up blood from the cigarette smoking. Anxiety and panic, from having to constantly look over my shoulder to see if the drug dealers were after the money I owed them. Or from seeing if the cops were behind me, as my license was suspended and I had no insurance.

            But you know what, little by little, I began to get so tired of all of that mess, and little by little I began to drop it. Dropped the drugs, the violence, the cigarettes, the alcohol, and began to fix my life.

Shortly after, I found Jesus and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. I began to form a relationship with Him, and the more that relationship grew, the more I learned and realized that His GRACE, was what kept me alive during all that mess, and His GRACE was what helped me shake off those addictions. I am so thankful to God for being there for me in moments where I felt that life no longer mattered. For delivering me from the depression that made me have suicidal thoughts. I thank Him for the Love that he had for me then, the Love that he has for me today and the Love that he will have for me tomorrow and always.