ROGERSVILLE — Eight years ago, Robert Wayne Slack was sitting beneath an underpass drinking warm beer and attempting to kill himself with a razor he’d found laying in the street.
He’d been drinking excessively since the age of 15, and on drugs since the age of 27, and he was at the end of the line.
But instead of bleeding to death, he looked down to see the blood on his wrists had dried.
He cried, “God, why won't you let me die?”
God whispered back, “Because you haven't done what I sent you there to do yet.”
Slack was among several recovering addicts to speak during a Feb. 18 Hawkins County Recovery Court event in Rogersville called “Faces of Addiction.”
He was 42-years-old the day he heard God’s voice. Up to that point his addictions had cost him everything. His family. His children. His freedom during three stints in prison and more times than he could count in county jails. And his free will.
But everything changed under that bridge on Jan. 13, 2012.
“God has completely restored and reunified my family,” Slack said. “He has given me everything back. I even have respect from people now. They look at me as a productive member of society because God intervened. I tried to quit for years and years and couldn't. It was deliverance from God eight years ago, the 13th of January. He brought me to where I am.”
“You wake up every morning wanting to quit”
Slack said he grew up in an environment where they used to put beer in baby bottles to put them to sleep.
He was raised in Houston, Texas, where his dad was closely affiliated with the Houston chapter of the “Bandidos” Motorcycle Gang.
“We had biker parties at our house all the time. It was a pretty poor environment to be raised in. All I knew was drinking, drugging, fighting and chasing women. I mean, that's what you do. Coming out of that lifestyle and trying to live a family life was horrible, and I ended up losing my children because of it.”
He tried to live a normal life and have a family, but his addictions always got in the way.
“If you've never been addicted you don't understand the pain and the torment that you go through. You don't understand the hopelessness and lonely feelings. A lot of people think that addicts and alcoholics are just doing whatever they want to. They don't care about anything. That's not the truth. The truth is you're bound by something that you can't get free of, and you don't understand why. You wake up every morning wanting to quit, and by the evening you're right back at it again.”
Testimony of that fateful day
Slack read his testimony off the events that occurred on Jan. 13, 2012. He describes himself as being held hostage by loneliness and hopelessness every time he starts to sober up.
“My mind is shot. Grief and despair is consuming me.”
On that fateful day he only had enough change in his pocket to buy one more beer, the strongest malt liquor.
“Ongoing regrets about a life that's been wasted. Poor choices I've made.”
“It was that day, one of the darkest days in my life that I heard the voice of God and I felt his awesome love, and his grace and presence as he held this broken man. I had to be broke to a level most people can't imagine in order for God to reach me. It was because of that he put me on the path I'm on today.”
A video of Slack’s complete testimony can be seen in the online version of this article at www.timesnews.net
“I'm sober again. Thank you Lord”
Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
Slack: “I can attest to that as living proof. The wanting is there, but it's hard because you've got to want it more than you want anything else. When I was drugging I lived every moment of my life trying to figure out how to get the next drug. Every moment. There wasn't a dead moment in my thoughts when I wasn't thinking about how to get some more dope. You've got to pursue sobriety that way. You've got to wake up every morning and say, I'm sober again. Thank you Lord. And live every moment of your day thinking, how am I going to stay sober — because if you don't, the end is right there waiting on you. I've been in prison three times. I've been in more county jails than I can even count. And it's all because of what I did. My choices.”
This is the fourth in a series of four stories of recovery that were told during the Hawkins County Recovery Court’s Feb. 18 “Faces of Addiction” event.