My name is Cheryl Turner. I’m a recovered drug addict and a follower of Jesus Christ.
I was raised in a family of alcoholics.
By the age of 12, I was drinking with my parents, started smoking in grade 8 and doing drugs in grade 9.
Under The Influence
By nature, I was shy and reserved but I liked who I became while I was under the influence as it was much easier for me to fit in socially if I had a bit of “help.” I chose a career that included “wining and dining” and I got good enough at that scene to land a lot of business.
What started out as being fun and exciting to me, turned into an addictive lifestyle. I realized my life was spiraling out of control, and I was in a full blown drug addiction.
Over the years I would come across people of faith who tried to get me to go to church. I never felt like I was good enough. I would only consider trying church once I had cleaned my act up. That never happened.
Set On Fire
In July 1987, I was totally out of control. I was by a lake in B.C. at a 24-hour party. I was accidentally set on fire and couldn’t save myself because I was incredibly impaired. My face was on fire, and I couldn’t see a thing. I called out to God and asked Him to help me.
From out of nowhere, someone put out the fire with a blanket. I was airlifted into a burn unit in Calgary. My eyes were burned shut; I lost most of my hair; 3rd degree burns to 35% of my body.
I was an absolute mess – burned beyond recognition – my own mother didn’t recognize me. They put me on huge doses of morphine.
It would take six months to have multiple reconstructive surgeries to fix all of the damage.
A Miraculous Healing
During my hospital stay, different health professionals would ask me if I would like to attend chapel. I always replied, “No thank you. I’m not into church.” They never gave up on me, telling me they were praying for me, always inviting me to chapel.
The most incredible thing was taking place. Every day the nurses and doctors would say they couldn’t believe the remarkable recovery I was making. Others would ask me if I was a Christian to the point I was getting very annoyed.
A month into my recovery my surgeon set up an assessment before I went into reconstructive surgery. When I walked into his office, he looked amazed. He asked me if I was a Christian, and I asked, “What is it with you people? I am not a Christian.” It was then that he told me he had never seen a recovery like mine. He actually wrote it in my file – “a miraculous healing.”
Weaned From Morphine
The next step was being weaned off of morphine. What I didn’t realize was the process was going to be more painful than the fire itself, because I‘d become addicted.
I needed counseling to get through the withdrawal.
Within a couple of weeks of being home I was right back into my old lifestyle of drinking. Then a fire started in the apartment building I was living in and 3 units were gutted across the hallway from ours.
The flames came right to the doorway and I remember thinking, “OH NO, NOT AGAIN.”
They were able to save our apartment, but I was a nervous wreck.
I still loved to party and in September of 1988 I was sitting in a bar with a bunch of friends. The bar was crowded and very noisy. I drunkenly gazed across the room at a patron sitting at a table. There was a cross on his forehead. I asked my friends if they could see the cross and they were all laughing and agreeing just to keep me calm.
The more they placated me, the more anxious I became. I had to go over and check this stranger out. Screaming to him above the noise, I asked him if he knew that there was a cross on his forehead. He never said a word, he just nodded his head, yes. That was all I needed, the acknowledgement that I was not seeing things.
I wrestled all night piecing everything together:
the immediate response when I called on God when I was on fire; the surgeon telling me I had experienced a miraculous healing; our apartment being saved from another fire; the fellow in the bar with the cross on his forehead.
How could I deny that there is indeed a God? How else other than by God could all of this be explained?
September 26, 1988
The next day I attended church. I finally understood that God would forgive me – that there was hope.
On September 26, 1988, I surrendered and gave my life to Jesus.
As a Christian, I’ve never felt totally comfortable in sharing my story. I kept it to myself for fear of being judged.
As long as you keep your story to yourself, you are denying God’s complete healing and he will continue to bring similar challenges into your life until you finally and completely surrender to his will.
I hope by sharing my story, it will encourage others to surrender and open themselves to God’s will.
God has such an incredible plan for our lives; we just need to be ready to accept His blessing.
Read Paul’s story here.
Please leave a comment for Cheryl below.
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Thanks for sharing your story Cheryl. May HE use you to touch many lives for HIM.
What a cool story of God speaking to you and being with you even before you were acknowledging him!! I hope you consider coming out to the ladies retreat and while you’re there being willing to share your story!
The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit. A wife who married young only to be rejected,” says your God”. Cheryl dear we have a father who will never reject us, betray or abandon us. No matter where you have been or what you have done, be assured God will never think less of you. Thank you for sharing your story.
I have been praying the last couple of years that God would use me, I was willing to do His will. Never did I think this was the plan, but God knows best, and I am now finally obedient
Now that my story is “out there”, I am willing to share my new version of “On Fire For Jesus”
That’s a great title and it will be a great testimony!
Thank you for sharing your story. I feel it resonating in my heart, like an echo of a ringing bell. I hear parts of my past in your story and feel…I don’t know how I feel, I’ve typed & retyped this sentence 10-15 times and I still don’t have words. But less alone. Thanks.
Thank you for commenting Amber. I hope you’ll continue the conversation or comment on other posts.
Good morning Amber,
THANK YOU for sending this message. I would like to share that the Care program is designed to build a community for people just like us. Addicts, alcoholics, and family members of those that struggle with this dark world of addictions.. Without God and a supportive church, how do we heal, recover and survive all of this? Know you do not have to be alone, please come this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. and be a part of a family that wants to love and support you. This program has just begun, this will be our second week, and I look forward to what Jesus is going to do for this community in the coming weeks and months.
Good Morning – For any of you who are struggling with addictions, please remember Care is a 12 step program that is Christ Centered. Held Wednesday evenings at 7: 00 p.m. Also open to the family members.