Cipriano Martinez | @ciprianom79
Hi. I’m a faithful believer of Jesus Christ who struggles with drug addiction, anger, Co-dependency and many other character defects, my name is Cipriano. I grew up in a blue collar home. As far back as I can remember my mom was always working and my dad was always at work. When I think of my dad’s part of the home life all I remember is him coming home from work and sitting on the couch. He was always frustrated, angry and stern. I can remember a couple times when my father would get a little too physical with the discipline. Today I understand it was out of not being able to control his anger.
In my early teens, I heard mom and dad constantly arguing with much verbal abuse which soon led to divorce. Studies show that children who live in an unstable environment could suffer from the same emotional pain as a soldier fighting on the front lines of warfare. See, this was not their first divorce, but second. At the time I had no idea that they even had a first divorce. Evidently, there was still resentment from the past that was still embedded in their minds. This would soon take a toll on my younger brother, sister, and my own mind. We just didn’t know it, but we would soon find out the repercussion of all our parents decisions.
Once dad was gone, I sided with mom and grew a hatred for my father. I see now that it was a rebellious teenage freedom thing. At this time, mom was never home. She was always out having the time of her life and dad moved out of town to get away from the pain of divorce. Do you see where this left us kids? At an early age, we were constantly having parties at our own home, drinking and smoking weed throughout the day and night. I remember in seventh grade giving and getting tattoos right in my bedroom. I was my own boss and the man of the house but yet still a kid.
Do you see where this is headed?
The very next summer would change my life for many years to come. My friend and I were searching for some marijuana, so we went to his cousin who would always go get it for us. This time he came back without the weed but instead he brought crank (what they called meth back then). I was thirteen. From this time on, I was constantly on the road to find my next high. Not too long after this, I got introduced to crack cocaine. This is where my drug dealing days began. See, I didn’t smoke crack but I would sell it to make money to support my habit of crank, weed, sex, and cigarettes. My whole junior high life, I lived like a college student. I soon found myself on probation for shoplifting.
In my ninth grade year, I decided I didn’t need school anymore and I ran away from home. The probation officer didn’t like this one bit. Not too long after this, I was locked up in juvenile detention.
This time I was given an ultimatum. Stay locked up till my court date or move to Tucumcari with my dad. I chose my dad for the first time in three years. Somewhere deep down, I knew I needed change. I really loved my farther but I had built up so much resentment towards him because the angry personality he possessed. All the yelling and physical abuse allowed me to hate him outwardly, but I did truly love him. And it was good for the first year. I was able to catch up on school. Then once I got off of probation I quickly slid back into the same lifestyle. Dad was a truck driver and I used his schedule for my benefit. I started huffing octane booster and soon after that, I found where the drug dealers were. And dad had no idea. I thought I had it all figured out. I would work after school at a fast food restaurant, come home late and dad was already at work. It was like I never skipped a beat.
My twelfth grade year, I moved back to Clovis with a girl I met in Tucumcari, but this didn't last long. I soon moved back in with my mother, brother, and sister, and brought with me the same careless and selfish lifestyle. I look back now and realize I had no structure in my life. I had no one to look up to. Dad and mom were always working, they felt they were doing their parental duty but this is far from what parental duty is. Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
In 1998, I found out I was going to be a dad. This was not what I expected at this time. But I thought maybe this is what I needed. So I started a relationship and became a father on March, 20th, 1999. I was a terrible boyfriend. I realize today that I was acting the way that I was shown to, especially when it came to how to treat woman. I cheated, yelled, and was always out on the streets. I was very abusive, just like my father. How could this happen to me, when I hated the way my dad treated us so much? She soon left me, five years and two kids later, I don't blame her one bit. I was a terrible dad as well. How could I allow all three of my kids to be a part of a broken family just like I was? (A few years ago, as I was doing the CR "Amends" step, I asked her to forgive me. Through the past few years I've also asked my kids to forgive me for who I was back then.)
During those same years, I began to grow colder and colder. I was reunited with a childhood cousin who had been in the penitentiary for a few years. With all his contacts and influence in my life, I became corrupted and found myself wanting to live by the sword. I got back into the selling game and I couldn’t believe the quantities of drugs of different sorts. Any way we could make money we would. My cousin was soon on the run from the police and I followed his lead soon after that. I picked up my first felony and was put on probation for three years.
My life was really shook up in 2002 when my cousin was killed in a head on collision. He was in a high speed chase running from the police in a stolen vehicle. This really crushed me. He was the closest person I had in my life. He was the structure I thought I needed. I remember thinking; I will live up to his name and continue to hustle on the streets as he did. All this was nothing but lies that Satan was feeding my soul.
A few years went by and the street life started catching up to me. I found myself selling just to get high and have extra pocket money. Everything I thought I could be in living the dope life was nothing but a lie. I was smoking large quantities of crystal meth day in and day out, staying up weeks at a time. My life became unmanageable. Or rather, it always had been, I was just stuck in a pit of denial. In my mind, I was worthless - a worthless dad, worthless son, worthless brother. I burned all my bridges and had nobody by my side any longer. I just couldn’t be trusted. See, I was a thief, a liar, and a fake. I was only in it for myself.
By this time I was tired - so so tired - of living this life. One day, I walked into my mom's work and this very attractive woman was working there. We made eye contact and I winked, so she says. We started to talk on the phone and I soon asked Samantha Moore to be girlfriend. She really loved my kids. I remember thinking, "Who in their right mind would want someone with three kids?" She has been with me ever since, an ever present inspiration in my life and the life of our kids. But I was still hiding who I really was and all the baggage I had.
I soon picked up some new charges and was on the run from the police, then followed by even more charges. In 2006, I finally hit the end of life as I knew it. I got arrested and was facing twenty-eight years in prison. Four individual charges of distributing meth over a gram to a minor, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and others I can’t remember.
It finally happened, I finally got caught. I had nowhere to go this time and any chance of hope seemed dim and darkened. I fell into a deep hole for the first couple of weeks. One Sunday morning, a friend asked if I wanted to go to church (I don't even remember his name). Yes, they have church in jail.
This changed everything. When I say everything, I mean everything. See, I left that day room that they were facilitating church in feeling hopeful. I went back to my cell and the next morning, in an eight by ten foot concrete cell, I got on my knees and told Jesus that I needed Him in my life - that I couldn’t do it anymore on my own and that I needed Him to always be by my side. I knew I wasn’t getting out. I accepted the fact that I would take the message of Christ to prison with me. But you know what? I never went to prison. As a matter of fact almost a year later, by the grace of God, all charges were dropped.
I got out on a Wednesday in September of 2006. That very night, I attended a prayer meeting at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM. I walked in that little room upstairs not knowing what to expect. I told them I didn’t know what I was doing there, but I knew I had to be there. They accepted me and loved me and prayed with me. Little did I know some had already been praying for me. Two weeks later, on October 10th, I was baptized. I have been a part of Highland ever since.
In the beginning of 2008, Pastor Dean Turvaville asked me if I would be interested in leading a program. Surprised, honored, and scared, I said I’ll look into it. Fear overtook me but God had a plan. My friend, mentor, and example of a Godly man, Butch, came along and in 2009, Highland started up a branch of Celebrate Recovery. A year later, Butch became the men’s program director for the Lighthouse Freedom Ranch and asked me to lead CR. See, I have a heart for the lost because for many years, I too was lost. I need to be a part of CR because I need CR. And I also need a church home. I need brothers and sisters in my life.
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
1 Peter 1:13-14 (NLT): “So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.”
In 2011, I was called to be on church council and on the stewardship team. Today, I am honored to lead up the membership at Highland. In 2012, I was called to be a deacon. And in March of this year, I was asked to be the State Representative of Eastern New Mexico and West Texas for Celebrate Recovery. See, God is using all this mess I made and is making great use out of it for His glory. There is nothing you can do that is so bad that God can't use it for His glory.
Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
And in Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus asks us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
I have also had, for about the past year, a strong calling from God to spend more time with fellow believers through mentoring and discipleship. Most of the time as believers we are left in the church to grow by ourselves, which often leads to people stalling in their Spiritual growth. We need each other. We need someone to come along side us to help us grow spiritually.
In 2007, I married the girl of my dreams - Samantha. And in 2010, got blessed with Gabriel and in March of this year, Santiago was born. I also got awarded shared custody of Isaiah, Xavier, and Aryanna.
I am free. I am redeemed. I am a child of the one true King. Yes, I still have struggles. Jesus never said that there would be no more struggles in this world for us. But I can grow from these struggles with Him by my side. I am not alone and you do not have to be alone either. I have taken a new path, a new road, a road to recovery. Recovery doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Let's celebrate recovery together.
“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT)
I want to dedicate this testimony to my wife Samantha Martinez and all 5 of my kids, for being by my side for the past 9 years. Without your support and I love I couldn't do what I do.
Cipriano Martinez is the ministry leader of Celebrate Recovery at Highland Baptist Church in Clovis, NM, as well as the CR State Representative of Eastern New Mexico and West Texas. He is blessed to be clean and sober for 9 years and counting. He is happily married and has 5 kids ranging from high school to diapers. He enjoys sharing his life with others, golf, and spending time with his family, and also feels a strong calling to vocational ministry. You can contact him via twitter @ciprianom79.
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