Hi, I’m Texas. For real—that’s my name.

As far back as I can remember, my parents have been in ministry. I’m a preacher’s kid. I grew up hearing about God, His love, and how He’d sent His Son, Jesus to save me—to ransom me from my sin. I even asked Jesus into my heart at five years old. But much to my surprise, life wasn’t perfect after that.

The details of my life make it easy to see that salvation and submission are two separate events. For some they take place at the same time, but for me, it took forty years to give up my way and lay down my life at the feet of Jesus Christ.

Grace. It’s the only reason I’m here—for sure.

My memoir, Deep in the Heart of Texas, is a grisly and graphic picture of the years I spent thinking I knew best. It begins in childhood and explains how my mind calculated the events I lived through. None of them were more horrible than those of the average child, but the beliefs I formed drew me into a dark place of deception that I couldn’t see my way through. In all my years of insane rebellion, I don’t remember ever doubting God’s love for me, but I’m sure He wouldn’t say the same.

My first toke of weed captured me with a sense of pleasure I’d never experienced, and it left me hungry for more. Within weeks, I was selling so I could smoke for free. I wasn’t very impressed with my first tester of cocaine, but within a month I quit school and left home on a trip to discover “real life.” Cocaine ended up my drug of choice.

My adventure started in a big city ’hood. Beautiful cars, expensive jewelry, and all the drugs a body could handle. But the glam of rebellion is not trustworthy. A year later, I found myself in a small-town projects, at the top of the cocaine food chain. So what if it wasn’t the level I’d been introduced to, at least I was still at the top.

Our enemy sure is good at distorting reality in his attempts to destroy us.

Attention and acceptance. That’s where I found value—not that different from other young adults. However, the added disillusionment of drugs and the degradation of sexual activity created a swirling cloud of trickery I couldn’t escape. Sin wraps its tentacles around you and doesn’t let go.

I’m not bold enough to say I’ve tried every drug, but I wasn’t offered one I didn’t give a good go. Swallow, snort, smoke, shoot—why not? All attempts to be self-governed. Wherever the new fix promised to take me, I was ready to go.

Like it always does, sin got ugly. Further and further down I went. I’ve got horror stories of waking up in disgusting spots with strangers and of not being able to fall asleep beside a man who’d taken more than I was willing to give. There are tales of going without sleep so long that trees appeared to walk and furniture started to talk—no joke.

Or how about the pathetic and useless struggle of rechecking every baggy and stash spot until I found a crumb or two. Trying to get high off that left me more frustrated than when I had none. There was never enough. It’d get the best of me at times, and I’d end up crying myself to sleep. Gross. Not a pretty picture, but real nonetheless.

Let’s not forget the depth of shame and separation. Never felt like I fit in with the rest of the world but I was loved and embraced by my family…until they became overly exhausted and bitterly embarrassed. And who can blame them? Not me. If I could’ve avoided me, I would have. Thin and pasty, tired and depressed—next came jail. Again.

Then I was gonna be different. Again.

“That’s it, I’m done with drugs forever. Don’t want to live like this anymore.” Sometimes I’d make it for months with white knuckles, but sooner or later I’d find myself scraping the bottom of the barrel. Or should I say pipe?

And then it happened. I changed. What changed? My view, that’s what. I became willing to look at the truth no matter how nasty it felt. Somehow, through all the lows, my mind still told me I was on top.

On top of what? On top of the bottom, because I was nowhere near the top.