I met Callahan this past semester at Biola and I can see the love of Jesus in her so strongly. I am grateful for the way she has opened up to share her experience with drug and substance abuse and the difficulties in her family life growing up. She is a true testament to God’s transforming power and proof that Jesus is the most effective drug rehab. I know that lives will be touched by her story. -Aileen
My name is Callahan Blum and God met me in a rehab while I was struggling to recover from heroin addiction.
When I was 17 years old, between my junior and senior year of high school, there was a period of my life that my family lost 6 members in a matter of 8 months. Some to cancer and two to violent murders. I was regularly gone from school to attend funerals or to drive to Sacramento or Santa Monica to sit with my aunt in the hospital who was dying of cancer.
In the midst of this, my parent’s divorce had become finalized and my brother and I often suffered the repercussions of their separation, despite their efforts. Both my parents were seeing new people and my dad remarried so I was adjusting to new family dynamics during this grief-dominated period of chaos.
At this point, with no constants or consistencies in my life, and a struggle to cope with grief, my mental and emotional state had quickly become unmanageable.
When I was 18 years old, I began using any numbing or coping tool that I could get my hands on, namely drugs.
If you can name it, I probably abused it.
When I was 20, I tried heroin for the first time at a Halloween party and its warming and numbing effect gripped me for the first time. At first it was fun and it felt good but soon I wasn’t able to go a matter of hours without it, or else my body would be thrown into severe and violent withdrawals. From that point on, getting more was the priority of every moment of every day, at all costs.
I truly was a slave to my sin.
The lifestyle of my addiction was full of deception. I lied to everyone and stole from anyone. I stole thousands of dollars between the two of my parents and faked enrollment through two years of community college.
When it became harder to steal from my parents, I began shoplifting and selling or trading what I stole for heroin in order to maintain my high so that I would not have to endure withdrawals.
I kept this lifestyle up for two years without my family or my closest best friend finding out.
Two days after my 22nd birthday, my mom came into my room and found my drug paraphernalia. Three days later I was placed into my first rehab. It was a 30 day program in Ventura and it was not a 12-Step program so I didn’t have to give my life up to any higher power or anything crazy like that. I got acupuncture and massages and everybody was a ‘somebody’. One guy had been at Betty Ford with Lindsay Lohan and another girl had even been on season 4 of Intervention ;).
I graduated the program and went into a sober living in Santa Monica. I relapsed after only a month and was put into a different rehab that I walked out of after 3 days. I hitch-hiked to my drug dealer’s house and slept on his couch for a week. My mom filed a Missing Persons Report, not knowing where I had gone. I ended up going home on my own and relapsed one more time before my uncle came and picked me up and brought me to the Central Coast to live with him until my family knew what to do with me. He found a local recovery home for women in the area that I agreed to try. At this point, we all had little hope or confidence in this working.
This program was 6 months long and it was faith-based. It was Christian. Going into it, I didn’t know what this meant but all it really meant was that we were required to read our Bibles from 6:30-7am each morning and were encouraged to “get to know God” in this time. In my first morning of this, I opened the new crisp Bible I’d been given and spoke to God for the first time in a long time and said,
“Okay. If you’re here, I’m listening.”
God, being the faithful redeemer that He is, took that invitation of a broken and contrite spirit and began His work in me.
It was in the many morning hours in my Bible that God poured into me and illuminated His word and I understood grace.
I knew how ugly my sin was in my addiction and I recognized that I owed God my life as my act of worship for bringing me out of it.
I got a sponsor and worked the 12-Steps and gave my life up to Jesus as my Higher Power. After committing to recovery, I was forced to look at the destruction and wreckage I had caused; to myself and to the people who love me.
The sin in my life was in my face and it was ugly. It was shameful to look at, it was humiliating to confess. I began to make amends with the people I hurt.
God has been faithful to bring reconciliation and forgiveness to many of the relationships I broke in my addiction, though some are still deeply severed and I must accept that there may never be reconciliation.
I applied to Biola while I was in computer lab at my rehab and was accepted last April after being out of my program for 2 months. On August 26, 2013 I went into my recovery program and on August 27, 2014, I began school at Biola University.
I am truly an infant in Christ and the majority of my spiritual growth has occurred in these past months but I understand Paul’s claim that Christian maturity is acting on the guidance I have already obtained:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Jesus Christ took hold of me” (Phil. 4:12).