How God Saved Volodia – Pavlograd, Ukraine
Apr 26, 2018 1966
I started taking drugs at the age of 14. At that time, I didn’t know anything about God, except the fact that you should attend church on holidays and that a christcross is a protective amulet. When I was 19, I had to choose between being imprisoned for 10 years and retiring to a monastery for rehabilitation. I chose the latter, and at the monastery I learned about the existence of the Bible and about prayer. I was especially interested by the icon of St Nicholas the Wonderworker. At that time I was asking for a miracle and the prayers helped me survive.
Many years later, I came to the Poltava rehab centre for treatment. I had been sober for 3.5 years, but I had shut off myself from God and stopped following the “12 steps” programme, and had relapsed. The thing was I asked God for wellbeing and power, for a high status. But I failed. I began stealing. I persuaded myself that telling lies is natural – everybody tells lies. At first I told lies only at work. Then I did it everywhere. I betrayed everyone including my family and friends.
And the moment came when I found myself asking God for help. I was under the influence of drugs and I was afraid to leave the house, certain either the police or my ex-friends would find me. I wanted somebody to encourage me. I was less afraid of being caught then I was of being alone.
After that, my mother proposed I apply for treatment. She did it in a non-intrusive kind of way, knowing that I would be opposed to it. But I got used to the idea more and more and at last I asked my mother to find a place for me. Once I heard of Poltava, which she suggested to me, I agreed to go.
I am convinced that God loves me
At the Poltava rehab centre there are Bible meetings conducted by a GNU pastor. I feel at ease at them. I find it difficult to understand the Bible by myself, but here it is explained in simple words and in a way that is easy to understand. I like feeling like an equal and being able to share my opinion. It wasn’t like this at the monastery. The Orthodox Church does not allow this. Here you don’t have to do anything at somebody’s bidding.
Before now, I never understood that God is Love. And I did not understand how to live with God without refusing life by shutting myself in at the monastery. Now I believe that if I live according to God’s will, life will be better for me. God’s way is right and it is good for me to survive.
My relationship with my parents is getting better and I pray for my relatives. Recently I stole a T-shirt at the shop but I went and gave it back. I see how vanity and trifles interfere with me. I stop and pray. I understand that prayer is good, but I also need to do the right things, for example, not offend and not flaunt truth.
I believe that God works everything out so that it will be good for me. Right now I have no status, money, or tough friends and I believe it’s good that I am here. I am convinced that God loves me.
– Volodia (Edited by Ella Rodionoff)