We All Have a Story, Here’s Mine

Jesus Pic

For as long as I can remember I was unhappy. No matter what I would do or what I would experience nothing ever seemed to take that empty hopeless feeling away. Which is probably the reason why I turned to drugs and alcohol at such a young age. I had found my place in this world, and that was tucked away, disconnected and simply trying to escape from how much it hurt to simply be alive. I won’t go into all of the details of how my life fell apart, but my addiction and self destruction cost me everything. Once my wife and kids left me I made a decision to handle the situation the only way I knew how. I was going to go on one last insane run and just hope that it killed me so I could just be done with all of the sadness.

I remember when I made that depressing decision. I said a prayer to a God I didn’t know and I told Him I didn’t expect Him to help me. I knew He felt the same way about me that I did. That it was my fault and I didn’t deserve saving. I remember thinking, “Who am I to ask for help, I deserve all of this.”

The days rolled on, chaos overlapping chaos until the pain and despair was all that I could see. I had receded into the shadows with no thought of making a change for the better… I had truly given up on myself and there was nothing stopping me from completing my lifelong run of self destruction.

Then one night like every other night I was driving. I looked in my rear view mirror to the twinkling of flashing red and blue lights. I received a 4th DUI which landed me with a felony on top of everything else that was going on in my life. I had no clue, but when that squad car door slammed shut, I had begun down a road that was going to change everything. That felony left me with two choices; I could do a year in state prison or I could go into some program called Teen Challenge.

Repeating similar patterns I decided to take the easy way out and go into the program. My plan was to do my time, play the part and get my felony taken care of so I could go back to my so called life. A month or so into this year long discipleship I was sitting in a worship service scanning my bible. I was just killing time more than anything else and my eyes focused on a single verse. I stared at it and unintentionally I muttered it outloud, “Be still, and know that I am God.” 

It was such a comforting statement….I just couldn’t understand why.

So I began to pay attention. I began to learn of a God so different from what I had thought I knew. A God not of condemnation but of neverending love and patience for me, for us. Not disgusted or angry with me like I once thought. Being a father myself, the love of a Father on the divine level really intrigued me and drew me in. Not being able to fathom how much God loves us opened my mind to the infinite.

Through that year with everything that I learned I was convinced. This sounds like a strange way of describing it, but I am a skeptical person by nature. The presence of the Holy Spirit was undeniable. But all of the study, teaching and experience that I was exposed to there showed me that our faith is not a fairy tale, that it’s real.

I graduated in 2013 and immediately got plugged into a local church which is my home church today. I joined a small group to get me plugged in, which evolved into me being the facilitator of an ongoing weekly small group so diverse and loving that my faith and love can’t help but continue to grow. In the last several years God had placed me and used me in ways I never would have dared dream.

I love to tell my story because looking back is when my faith is strengthened. When I am reminded that if all of those horrible,….just terrible, painful things didn’t happen to me, I never would have gotten to where I am at today. Each piece of the puzzle fitting perfectly into place. And when I recognize that God’s plans are so far beyond anything I can anticipate, understand or predict, I will be able to to remember…. to have the wisdom, “To simply be still, and know that He is God.”

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” Ps.46:10

Written By: Justin Ludwig

Today’s the Day, Seize It

​Don’t let the time you wasted or the regrets you have cripple your future. 

           It’s not too late! 

You are not too far gone, and your better days are not behind you! You didn’t miss your chance! 

Today is the day… today is YOUR day to make something beautiful out of your life. Seize the moment;  live well, love hard and forgive often. Be the blessing and watch your life flourish.


“Brothers and sisters, I do not considermyself yet to have taken hold it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I  press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” -Phil 3:13-14

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

New Years Resolution? Nah, I got Christ

​Resolutions…. I hear them all around me; on television, at work, at the store. It seems like the whole world is jumping at the opportunity for a clean slate…a fresh start. They want to put a year of shortcomings and failures in their rear view mirror as they strive for something better.

I could not relate more with their desires…. for something new, a do over on some of the choices made in the previous days, months or years….but I can’t help but wonder, what’s different than any other day of the year? 

Then I think about the life of a Christian. Every single day… every single moment, we have the opportunity to start fresh.

All year long people are waiting for a pivotal moment, a marker where they feel change is a good idea. The world gets so excited because they feel they have a real chance for a clean slate.

We as believers are blessed beyond any other person on this planet because we know the Truth… the Truth is, every single day, with every single shortcoming, we are given the gift of a clean slate. By knowing the freedom that comes through Christ, every passing moment really is another chance to turn it all around.

We are free from the burdens, the stigmas….the tainting of who we are because of our mistakes. 

We are free to live new everyday…. I don’t know about you, but that truth sets me free in a way that no amount of resolutions ever possibly could or would. 

You are free!… what you do with it is up to you. 

Happy Hew Year Y’all. May you bask in the freedom of the Son.

Written by: Justin Ludwig 

What Happened

Last call
     Heard from the virgin ears of a lush.    
           Tomorrow
   Somehow became today
            what happened?
         Defecation
    on your dreams
       your life
         your goddamn soul
   what happened?
      fuck poetic phrases
          I blew it
   …..now I wallow
        Not in pity
          In hate
            Self despair
        it’s tough, no fronting
    pointing the finger
… it’s always a suicidal finger
     at least…..
           at least
   I punish myself
I blew it
     …all of it

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Running Out of Chances

Running Out of Chances

Soulless

       Soulless!!

           breath
I am dying too slow!!
     …my mind’s going faster….
blap blap
that’s  all I think
Always
               ALWAYS!!
tragedy
I think not
     I had all and every chance
I shit on it
oblivious
self deception
             no more
Mary echos
“you won’t come back one of these times”
It’s terrifying
     Real
          Here
Do I quit
Fuck You, Never

Written by: Justin Ludwig  between 1999-2012.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

Constant Review

  Gazing the wreckage
            its entirety      
awestricking      Sickening
   amazing
how much I lost on my journey
        …..to right here
bedrock is nowhere left to hide
          the destruction
          easily avoided
looking back
   helpless
      I’ve…
              ……stopped?
           folding the fight
              all remaining
     reality checks
                     never ending
              stifling
humbling
my journey
saved from myself
is just beginning
if……

  
Written by: Justin Ludwig December 9,2011.

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14

My Journey into Madness

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I pushed my mind past the brink, this was the journey I took into madness.

I hadn’t slept. Your mind hits a point when you push it too far. It fractures and reality becomes something else. In all of my years of pushing my mind and my body to this point I always said, “As long as you know you are crazy, you’re fine. Its when you think your fine that you’re in trouble .
Another morning, like the countless ones I have experienced. I hadn’t slept in days. I don’t know the time but it was early, I remember because it was dark, but the birds were beginning to chirp. I despised those birds. I am not really sure why, perhaps because it was the sound of a new day…..another day.
I walked into my kitchen and there he was. A man sitting in the corner. Across the kitchen next to the trash can was a man with his knees tucked under his chin. He was in a drab white jumpsuit of sorts. I didn’t know what to think, “You’re tripping Justin, you haven’t slept.
No stranger to hallucinations. When you push your mind past the brink, only then can you truly understand how delicate and fragile the mind is.
I began to cook an egg. I wasn’t hungry but I wasn’t sure the last time I had eaten and I was feeling quite drained.
He just sat there, he didn’t speak. I ate my egg quickly directly off the pan. It burned my hand but I didn’t register it because something was wrong. There was a man on my floor. I walked past him without looking him in the eye. I stepped past him and walked into my room and closed the door.
Unable to process this peculiar turn of events I suddenly realized that there were two people in my room. Females, both of them. I didn’t want them to know that I saw them. At this moment I realized that I was to the brink. At the threshold of losing complete control. I remember thinking, don’t talk to them. If I acknowledge them then that will make them real.

“Keep it together Justin, you haven’t slept .”

I was sitting there cross legged on the floor, listening to what they were saying. Based on their dialog it seemed as if they were nurses. They were studying my behavior, just like the many mental health professionals I had encountered in my life so many times.
Up until this point my experience had kept me just sane enough to know I’ve was tripping. The two women who continued to talk amongst themselves, and then something happened. Something that took a full on break from reality and made it terrifying….. the nurse told me to do something.

To those that don’t know, if you hear voices you are in trouble. If those voices begin telling you what to do, you are in serious trouble.

(This portion of my journey that should go here is unknown to me. It could have been 5 minutes or 2 days, I just can’t remember)

Journey continues…

Such confusion and awareness at the same time. Only six days and it had begun 2 days prior. I walked to the kitchen, God it used to be my home… no more. But this day was a different familiarity. I glance and she’s there, I don’t know who she is but I’ve seen her kind many times… too many times. I ignore her except for the occasional smirk. it can’t be helped, she’s funny. And I feel her fear,I walked away muttering to myself. Unaware that my journey to hell is just beginning. But to this day, I’m still doubting the outcome. Was my mind collapsing or expanding. Flash back to fast forward. I count six. I laugh and when I do I realized again I am talking to myself. FUCK!!! I scold myself I grab the phone feeling betrayed, confused and desperate. Anyone living the life knows that’s a treacherous combo and yet I am numb to it.
My pops gets back to the house and by this time I realize that my head is dropping fast. Not physically, I mean dropping off the grid. I thing since of my experience I got a fighting chance at…. surviving it. Rookie mistake.

My wife called and I started talking. So much pain, happiness, love I felt when that phone rang. I didn’t question it at the time, trying to ignore all the people, all the movement, all the suspicion. All I remember is me pleading to see my kids and “you keep talking”, and “i’ll think about it” were the only responses given. Most of all throughout the entire experience I remember “Bye” no love… no hope.
I glanced at my St. Jude pulsating to different tints and colors. At this point I’m not expecting of my hallucination or rejecting. I am just mesmerized.
In hindsight, this is when I lost control. Things stopped being funny to myself. Looking back they were never funny to begin with. They were me laughing at the wind and my mind breaking. The severity of my condition was exposed. After being convinced my father had brought the mental hospital to the house and ranting to my mother of this fact. I was out back smoking a cigarette and I saw it. A sign on the neighbor’s house. I couldn’t read it clearly but it was clearly there. My last ounce of experience I call my dad, explain somethings wrong and had him look to see if the sign was in fact there or i’ve lost my mind. I walked up to the wall with him slowly. My dad in front of me and as soon as I approached the wall the signs disappeared right before my eyes. I gasped. I then began to stumble back and as I did a couple feet, the sign became as vivid and tangible as life again.
“HOLY SHIT!!!” I laugh to myself. “Something is wrong pops”. I described my visions, inciting incase I lost consciousness to let the medics or whoever know. He yelled I’m not sure what. I can guess though. He did say trip in the room so I went. See weh I’ve lost my mind these 10 to 15 times this year I’m not confrontational… I’m scared and docile. I closed the door to my room and starting talking…They were there… at the time. i say to myself “ Ride it out man”, “ enjoy the trip” Lying to myself cause I was fucking terrified./ But I had to maintain. It got a little foggy and I was off in my delusion. I remember thinking and analyzing as I drifted further away. Not to sleeping, far from it. I was conversing with strangers, families, myself. I remember green highways, but only looking like freeways like the commercials I have seen for Tron.
But I stopped several times and explored.

It’s hard to place them chronologically or even put into words. But they happened then.
I was in a waiting room but it was a smoke screen. I just know there was no way out. Either a black diamond or a fat guy blocking the exit. The only other door led in. I opened it once and there was so much darkness I felt so humiliated when it opened. I didn’t open it again. I went somewhere else. I let go and I was gone. I just be I’m running out of return trips.

The confusion I recall from the first time is now recognized while it’s happening. But I lost control. I felt like I didn’t know who I was and the time bouncing from patient, to inmate to etc. Anybody either with no control or shut down. Horrible things I heard that made me jump from my seat but not wake me from my psychosis. At one point for a brief second I was a catatonic in Alabama or some southern state and a hateful woman was telling me “ She saw me do it, and that I was going to pay” She said that I touched a child and when I felt the gate it made me scream. You see molesters, rapists, to me, they deserve to die more painfully than any murderer. I thought my soul might be set in a mental petophile. I thanked God when my mind raced away again.

Written by: Justin Ludwig October 2011

I escaped my life of darkness, self destruction & addiction. Click here to read my story. http://wp.me/P7v0VX-14
Image from: http://static.tumblr.com/5a84fb5d87ad67ad472547869fa57d3f/fhumo5v/COhn91pu0/tumblr_static_93ieedl00w84g48k0kwggwow4.jpg