By Jeremy ReynaldsAlan Holston
Correspondent for ASSIST News Service 
ASSIST News Service (ANS)
Saturday, December 29, 2007

“With tears in my eyes, a broken soul, and nowhere else to turn, I dropped to my knees, bowed my head and I finally confessed to God that I could no longer live my life without His help.” – Alan Holston 
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) — Alan Holston’s downfall began about 15 years ago when he started using cocaine and heroin.
He said, “Like most others in the beginning I was convinced, that I could … keep separate my drug use, and the other parts of my life not associated with it. And like everyone else, I was wrong.”

Alan said that for the next thirteen and a half years, despite stints in both jail and prison, he refused to believe that his drug used played any part in his troubled life.

He said, “I believe the reasoning behind that was because my troubles never directly involved drugs or the possession of them. But, of course, I was only lying to myself because I was either high or trying to get money to get high when I’d get caught.”

Alan said it’s only during the last 18 months he has come to realize that his addictions, which as he described it, were “out of control almost from the beginning,” were the core reasons for all of the troubles that plagued him.

But in the last couple of months, Alan also came to another realization – how his drug addiction had affected the only person he had ever loved, his wife Rachel.

Alan explained. “Our lives had become so focused on our addiction that it began destroying everything else around us. We no longer had any real friends who cared about us or our situation, and we’d pretty much alienated ourselves from all our family in hopes that they wouldn’t find out about our drug use.”

Looking Back

But that was to change. A few months ago Alan said he awoke one morning to find his wife sitting in the chair next to their bed, and sobbing bitterly. He said that instead of just assuming she was sick and needed her morning fix, he asked her what was wrong.

Alan said that her answer was like a slap in the face and took him completely by surprise.

“With tears in her eyes and a very shaky voice, she looked at me and said, “‘I don’t want to live like this anymore. I can’t live like this anymore! It’s destroying me, and all I want to do is go somewhere and kill myself.’”

Alan said it was at that point he believes God had allowed him to look directly into his wife’s soul.

He said, “And what I saw was me, killing the only person I had ever loved and who had ever loved me. I had used her love for me to get her addicted to the same kind of drugs I was already addicted to. And in doing so, I had allowed that addiction to destroy her just as it had done me years ago; mentally, emotionally, physically, and most of all spiritually.”

Alan said that he and Rachel hugged and cried and he promised her that he would do whatever it took to get them both off drugs. For the first time in his life, Alan realized, he was scared. Even though he had lost things like girls, money and even his freedom on and off throughout his life, none of these things really mattered much to him.

But now he was faced with something much more serious. “I realized that if I didn’t do something about our addiction, that if I didn’t keep my promise and get both of us off drugs, that I would lose the only person (who means) more to me than life itself.”

Initially, Alan thought that he and Rachel could get off drugs without a program. And so for the first few weeks, that’s what they did. But they’d last just a couple of days and then get some more drugs, “telling each other it was just to take the edge off, but the truth was, neither of us had the willpower to ‘(just) say no.’”

Then at about 3 o’clock one morning, Alan woke up and looked over at his wife sleeping next to him. Alan said she looked restless and sad even while she was sleeping.

He said, “Then out of nowhere, or somewhere deep inside me, the flood gates opened and I began weeping. The tears flowing so hard and uncontrollably that I had to get up because I didn’t want Rachel to wake up.”

Alan Turns His Life Over to Jesus

Alan felt lost, defeated and scared and knew it was time to do something he had never done before.

“With tears in my eyes, a broken soul, and nowhere else to turn, I dropped to my knees, bowed my head and I finally confessed to God that I could no longer live my life without His help. And … I also made a promise to (God). I promised to put Him before anything or anyone else and that all I asked in return is that He takes away my wife’s pain, sadness and her addiction, by whatever means He felt was necessary. If that meant taking her away from me in order for her to get better, then I’d accept it because I love her that much.”

Alan said just as quickly as the tears came, they were gone. He felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off him. And it was at that point he began to think about Joy Junction. But it was still the middle of the night, so Alan said he got off his knees, walked back into his bedroom and fell straight to sleep.

Joy Junction

When Alan woke up the next morning, he said he was still thinking about Joy Junction. They made their way over to the shelter, where they both thought that signing up for the shelter’s life recovery program would be a good idea.

Alan said that decision has turned out to be the best choice he ever made.

“Listening to God for the first time in my life has in all ways completely changed it. The Lord kept the extreme pain and discomfort away, as well as the intense cravings that normally go along with an addiction such as mine. I believe that if I continue to believe, listen and do what God wants me to do, that He will continue to stand beside me, help me and keep me clean and sober the rest of my life.”

While Rachel has had to leave both Joy Junction and the life recovery program to deal with some medical issues, Alan is praying that in the months to come the two of them will be reunited.

He said, “All I for the coming new year is what I prayed for the night before my wife and I arrived here: first, that Rachel and I are reunited sometime in the near future, and that God continue to work with me in my life so I can continue to remain sober.”

Alan added, “I’m already a true believer that the Lord knows what I need in life and as long as I keep my promise and continue to put Him first, He will fulfill each need as it arises.”


Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest emergency homeless shelter, or He has a master’s degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is “Homeless in the City: A Call to Service.” Additional details about “Homeless” are available at Jeremy Reynalds He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at Tel: (505) 877-6967 or (505) 400-7145. Note: A higher resolution JPEG picture of Jeremy Reynalds is available on request from Dan Wooding at  


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