My name is Brandon Saltzman and I’m from Florissant Missouri. I was raised by my mom and her boyfriend in the beginning. My childhood wasn’t like any childhood should be. I was watching my mother get verbally, physically, and mentally abused and I also experienced that same abuse growing up. Her boyfriend always had the cops in and out of the house my whole life for drugs, and there always seemed to be abuse in our home. I remember things like being with my mom’s boyfriend at bars and him leaving me in the car while he would go shoot up dope. We would be out all hours of the night and I was still expected to go to school the next morning. I hated the things me and my mom had to go through.
As I got older, I started to realize our life wasn’t normal and that he was an abusive man. At age 13, I came home from school and he had packed up and left; That made my mom a new person. She was finally happy. Our relationship got much better, but I had already been shown the wrong things in life. The guy that raised me showed me how to cook meth and that started the downhill spiral in my life. I became the same thing that I hated. I started being disrespectful to everyone around me and lashing out at my own family. The abuse that I had seen growing up, is the same abuse I would join in on. I was hanging out with the wrong people; there was always weed, drugs, alcohol, and all the wrong things. This went on for a few years. When I was 16, I started skipping school. One day, I just decided to steal my moms credit card and run away from home. I spent all my mom’s money on drugs and anything else I could get my hands on. When my mom found out it was me that done it, I stopped running and turned myself in to my mom. I barely graduated high school. At 18 my real Dad passed away from cirrhosis of the liver. I only met him 12 times my whole life before he died. I watched him die right in front of me. Growing up without my father sucked. I would think about him every day, and I wanted to be close to him. When he died life took an even crazier turn, I no longer cared about living. I was gang banging, selling drugs, and involved in all the wrong things. I was in and out jail; life was just taking me down hill. Up until age 25, all I did was party, do all types of drugs, and nothing the right way. My last go around ended in St. Louis with the cops kicking in my door. That woke me up for a while and made me want a fresh start.
I called my grandpa and in 48 hours I moved from Missouri to Kentucky. That was were I was introduced to Yellow Creek Baptist Church. I started attending church, working, and being a more responsible adult with this new move to Kentucky. I thought I was on the right track. I thought I was finally going to do better. Two months after I moved to Owensboro, I was baptized and had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I was clean for 10 months and life was honestly going great.
But like always I started hanging around the wrong people and found myself smoking weed again. Of course, it starts there but doesn’t end there. It wasn’t long until I was full blown back in addiction smoking meth again. Back to my party ways, coming in late, missing church, life was again going down hill. One day I was out partying late, drunk, and my grandpa took my keys from me and begged me to go to Rehab. I told my grandpa; “You will have to kill me before I go to a rehab!” He said that he found you one that’s Christ based, called “Friends of Sinners.”
I listened to my grandpa and thought I would give it a chance, so I went to Friends of Sinners that morning and met Nick Martin and Julius Maddox. They were asking me all kinds of questions, making sure I was ready to come to treatment and to my surprise they let me in that day, September 22nd, 2017.
While in Friends of Sinners the first 6 months was rough. I hated authority, and I hated being around 30 guys in a treatment program.
But one day everything changed when Nick Martin told me that I would be going on the next “Emmaus walk.” At the Emmaus my whole life and attitude changed. For the first time I felt the Holy Spirit take over. It was one of the best experiences of my life.
A few months later I would go transitional, where I started compromising and not trusting the process. I started doing my own thing again. I started allowing sin to take over my life, with sex and I started to take my eyes off of Christ. 12 and a half months clean and I’m around all the wrong people, places and things. I was quickly back to smoking meth again.
It wasn’t long before staff found out and called me with a choice to tell the truth, and I did. I got honest and checked back in for a 30 day refocus. I still had reservations and I didn’t re focus, but I faked it through the program, so I did ended up graduating. BUT IF NOTHING CHANGES…NOTHING CHANGES. I chose to celebrate the fact that I graduated treatment by getting high on drugs.
I want to warn you……. Don’t have reservations. You will end up finding yourself in the same mess you were trying to escape.
It wasn’t long before I was back to the old people, places and things, and I found myself just 29 days later with four new felony charges after being pulled over one night. This was when I truly hit rock bottom. This time I knew I wasn’t getting out. I felt horrible that I let my family and church down.
I thought that Friends of Sinners would never let me back in, and that I would be in jail for years.
Then Nick came to see me from FOS and asked me if I wanted help again. I felt like God was working through Nick to get me back where I belonged. I had hope again.
The great thing about our God is he will leave the 99 for the one, and while sitting in jail, I realized that I was the one.
I would go on to serve five months in jail until the judge let me back out to have one more chance for treatment at Friends of Sinners. That was June 17, 2019. I’m completely different now. I’m not just looking to get sober; I have a real relationship with Christ. I have true peace now with no reservations to get high and go back to that old life. I know I have to stay plugged in to things like Celebrate Recovery, and most importantly I want to tell others that you cannot make compromises and you must trust the process of treatment. I have a great support system. I suggest that you find one too. I gave God my whole heart, and now instead of just going through the motions, I have a disciple who pours into me, and I want to disciple others one day. I have a boldness like I never had before. As I walk with Christ, I’m inspiring my Grandma and family. It meant the world to me, when he said “Brandon, you are inspiring me to be a better Christian.” I’m not a junkie, I’m a child of God and a new creation.
Whether it’s your 1st day getting clean or you have been clean 10 years, don’t take your eyes off Christ. I want to leave with this scripture, Romans 5:8. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” That verse tells me that even when I dropped the ball, even when I messed up, that Jesus still loved me. I’m going to tell you the same thing today. Jesus loves you so much, that while you were still sinning, HE DIED FOR YOU!