About: My Testimony

Beginning in the summer of 1977, I started abusing drugs and alcohol. This took me to some very dark places in my life. I became a thug. A hellion. A criminal, with no respect for my parents, for authority, for my neighbor, or for my God. I was now the “god of my own universe.” My rules, my way. My struggle with addiction covered four decades of my life. Using people. Drinking. Using drugs. Lying, cheating, stealing. Doing whatever the #$&* it took to get what I wanted. I was sentenced to 3 years in state prison for committing several felonies while drunk and high. I relapsed numerous times over the years, and unfortunately received misdemeanor theft charges on two separate occasions connected with an opiate addiction. I have not had a drop of alcohol since 2008, and I have not used opiates or illicit drugs since June 8, 2019.

Returning to the church of my youth where I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at age thirteen, I pursued a new relationship with Jesus. Several leaders at church circled the wagons and loved me until I could love myself. Over the past five years I completed my B.S. in Psychology and earned an M.A. in Theology at Colorado Christian University. God indeed works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (see Rom. 8:28). A man told me several years ago, “God wants you to know that everything you’ve been through in life, from the moment you were born to this moment here with me, has been ordained by Him to mold you into the man he needs you to be.” God has called me to the ministry of counseling and discipling men struggling with active addiction and mental illness through integration of psychology and Christian theology.

Writing has always been one of my passions—something I’ve been doing for a long time. It is amazing what can happen if we settle down and get in touch with the gifts and talents God has given us, whatever they may be. Now that I write on a regular basis, a whole universe of emotions and nuances has opened up to me. I struggled most of my life with self-esteem and self-worth, especially regarding my writing abilities, so this is has been uncharted territory. (I used to throw a lot of what I wrote into the trash can.) I realize today that I was drowning in a sea of perpetual darkness; getting clean had to happen before I could begin to form coherent sentences, well-planned paragraphs, and believable prose. My gifts and talents were buried beneath self-doubt, laziness, lack of ambition, and the morass of booze and drugs. More than having a “writing” problem, I had a “telling” problem. Fear kept me from putting things on paper.

I am so glad you’ve decided to stop and spend some time here. Please continue to come back, and share the link to this blog with others. You may not agree with everything I write; you might not even believe in the Christian God, or in any god, but I can only hope you are inspired to contemplate and consider. I hope I spark conversation, so I encourage feedback. Conversation about religion, sin, faith, and Jesus Christ are rather daunting at times in today’s post-Christian culture, but we can learn together how to best serve a God who loves us enough to become flesh and dwell among us, and to be crucified in our place for our sins. Believing is His atoning death and resurrection sets us free from bondage. Lastly, if you (or someone you know) are struggling in any way with addiction or mental illness, I pray you reach out. Get help. There is no shame in being afflicted. There is, however, missed opportunity if we do not ask for help.

In Christ,
Steven Barto

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