Pastor, President, & Founder
Marley Jane Scalf
Men’s Program Director
Lincoln Shelton, LPC, MHSP
Who was I? I served thirteen years as a slave to addiction. Just like many, I was dope driven, wild-eyed and reckless. When chasing my high I didn’t care who or what stood in my way. My chaotic conscious was numb to consequence and my heart hardened to remorse. Drugs were my only purpose and for anything else in life, I simply didn’t care. My self-denial eluded the fact that I chose dope over anyone who truly loved me. I abused the love my family has for me to lure them in and get what I wanted. I smashed my friends and loved ones trust like a broken mirror. Even today, I can still see their anguish through the shattered pieces.
My Credentials. Living by crack-head concepts, I thought straws were for snorting, lightbulbs were for smoking and belts were better worn on the arm. I would say things like: “Rehab’s for quitters,” “Friends that stick together stay together,” and “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I thought it was always better to ask forgiveness rather than permission. I served four calendars in Virginia department of corrections because a judge didn’t see it my way. I’ve eaten more state beans, slept on more kindergarten mats, and sat on more stainless steel toilets than I care to mention. It didn’t take long to realize that prison life isn’t for me. I always seem to run my crimes and drugs in the same sequence. It didn’t matter which ones I done and I did a lot of them. From grand theft auto to distribution and from smack to speed. I went as far down the rabbit hole my mania would take me. For years, I fell deep into dejection and felt that I was at the point of no return.
Addiction is sick and so was I. My cravings were so commanding that there was nothing I wouldn’t do to appease them. Even the strict rules of drug court couldn’t slow me down. From taking expensive blockers sold at head shops, to drinking bleach or sure gel, I became a drug test specialist. I was a bathroom James Bond, looking the P.O. in the eyes, as I emptied my condom of clean pee. They started to catch on however, as symptoms of my using started to show. It wasn’t hard to miss the significant loss of weight, missing classes, and excuse-making attitude. I was called in for an unexpected drug test. Not prepared or able to cheat this one, my sickness took over. Addiction decided there was no length we wouldn’t go in order to stay out of jail. I told the girl I was seeing at the time that I was going to the basement. I instructed her that she would hear a chainsaw start, and when she heard it stop, to call an ambulance. She didn’t have to wait on the saw to stop because my screams were enough to drive her to dial 911. My horrid habit had so much control over my life that I took a 191 Stihl chainsaw, squeezed the trigger full throttle, and gashed my own leg. I was taken immediately to the ER where the doctor wrote the prescription I needed to cover the opiates in my system and an excuse for why I didn’t report for my drug test. I didn’t go to jail, but in all reality, I could have lost my leg or hit an artery and bled to death on that basement floor. The scar I wear today is a vivid reminder of how ill addiction makes us.
The absence of life replaced with regret. I realize that there are so many afflicted. Their lives are at the lowest of lows. Even those that are coming off drugs are withdrawing and each new sobering day brings an ample amount of guilt. Your conscience slowly starts coming back to life and remorse floods your heart. It replays all the bad you’ve done and shows the faces of all you’ve hurt. When my niece was born, my sister looked around the room for her brother. I wasn’t there. All our lives she looked up to me. From chicken pocks to imaginary tea parties, we did everything together. She was so excited to introduce to me this little precious new member of our family. Sadly, I chose dope instead of choosing to be an uncle and brother.
I remember as if it were yesterday. I had tweaked myself into a closet. The phone kept ringing and in between shots, I finally answered. It was mom on the other end with devastating news of my grandfathers’ passing. My conscience was so consumed by my addiction that instead of feeling sorrow, I felt that I needed another shot. Later, I pictured my grief-stricken grandmother, so frail, leaning over my papaw’s casket. The pain and suffering from the loss of the one she loved most in this world, pouring out through her tears. I can see her leaning to the right seeking the embrace of her grandson. She needed me to comfort her and return the love she so humbly gave me all my life. I gave her or my family nothing. While they lowered my grandfather in the ground, I sit secluded in a walk in closet with the door shut, sticking myself over and over again in the arm.
My papaw taught me to mow. He’d pull the cord on an out dated Murray push mower. When that old Bridge and Stratton engine fired so would my excitement. He’d say, “Come on son, help papaw mow.” My happy little feet would toddle across the yard. I’d stand under him both hands on the crossbar mid-way up the handle. He’d push, we’d mow and I’d smile like a hero. I loved that man and he loved me. I just couldn’t leave that closet to bury him or give my last respects. I don’t have children, but a lot do. Who’s there to teach them to ride a bike, throw a ball or tie their shoe? Who’s at home tonight, checking for the boogieman under their bed? They need you to hold them, protect them and love them. You can’t hold them unless you let go of addiction.
Future Fighter. We can’t change who we were or what we done in the past, but we can create who and what we’re going to be in the future. You can be that brother a sister can lean on or the grandson whose comforting hug replaces grandma’s tears for a smile. You can be a parent your child depends on. You’ll hear them say things like, “I want to be like you, daddy, or momma.” When you take them by their little hand, they look up at you, and their big smile is your hearts recognition of being a true parent. There’s no greater high. This overwhelming sensation floods your insides. It’s the same emotional intoxication that speeds your heart when momma hugs you up, looks into your eyes and you know she knows you’ve finally made it. Her baby boy is truthfully clean. No more nights spent crying at the door worried you won’t make it home. You’ve made it and going to make her proud. A strong loving family needs the foundation of strong loving men to hold it together.
Normally foreign. There is a problem we addicts run into our first few weeks of sobriety. We clean out from drugs, but our minds and emotions are still prisoners of the life style. The world we lived and knew has come to a sudden halt. The ringtones from your phone have silenced and the incoming texts stop vibrating your pocket. You don’t have to take Carl to the doctor on the fifth to get his pain script or Sara on the fifteenth to get her Benzos. You’re not selling seventy of this to make ninety of that. You stop flipping here or hustling there. In the grocery store and gas station parking lots, there’s nobody waiting on you or you waiting on them. You don’t have to drop nothing off or pick something up. So the question you frantically ask yourself is, what the crap am I suppose to do now?
A normal life like having a checking account or a valid driver’s license is foreign to us. We don’t know how to use a calendar or how to schedule things. We eat in our cars on the go, not at a dinner table. Six in the morning is when we get home, not go to work. “What’s a grocery list? Do I really have to go to a post office to mail this?” Being on time to us is being fifteen minutes late. It doesn’t feel right to be around a crowd without a buzz, so ball games, church or social gatherings are out of the question. Because we don’t fit right into society, some of us sadly relate sobriety to feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and lack of accomplishment. We feel we’re always being told what to do or who we’re supposed to be. We quickly trade our addiction for depression and depression leads us to use again. Don’t use again. Instead use these feelings as markers. Big yellow caution markers to let you know what made you feel this way and that you don’t want to feel it again. Depression can be turned into direction. Use the pain of your past as a reminder the next time someone offers you a pill or you feel the urge to use. Remember, it’s normal that you feel bad for the iniquities of your past. Those feelings prove that you have a heart and that the Spirit is still dealing with you. They will convict you to change into a better man, a man to be proud of.
Freedom. Who I used to be and who I am now is inspirational hope that each and every addict can live clean and purposeful lives. I was filled with the same torment. I was a liar and a thief. I was a junkie and a drunk. I let down, abused and abandoned my family. I was a murderer. I cussed and constantly spoke garbage. What I’m about to tell you is crucial. Everything that I was and all the evil I did, I gave it to my Lord Jesus Christ. He lifted it from me and put it on his back. As they cussed him, spat on him, beat him, he drug it through the streets and up to Golgotha, the Place of a Skull. They drove nails through his hands, pierced his side, and as the thorns punctured his head, the blood dripped onto my sins and covered them forever. (Matthew 27:27-50)
This world often produces problems too big for us to handle. No doubt, we need to accept responsibility and pull our part, but there’s gratifying relief in knowing that if we lose grip, God’s big hands are there to take hold. He can lift the overwhelming weight of addiction too. For me the Lord has taken away the appetite for my vices and replaced them with the hunger to help others. There’s no greater fulfillment than love. Love for your family, love for your neighbors, and in loving others, you’ll find love in yourself.
Stop your dependency for dope and start to depend on God. Allow him to ignite the strength that I know lives inside you. Let the Holy Spirit come alive and bang on your heart like a gong! The reverberations will echo deep into your soul and allow your spirit to strum alive with the life God breathed into you. You will feel the essence of God more powerfully than any drug. Your pulse will quicken. Your pupils will dilate. You will be high! Believe me, I know. Just let the love of the Lord flow through your veins. Your choices will be the right ones. It will give you the tools to repair the relationships that your addiction has damaged. You won’t have to talk because your walk will say it all. Family will trust you. Most of all, God can mend the pain that I know cries out from your heart every day.
Redemption Road. I won’t lie and say it’s an easy road to travel. There’re slippery spots, loose gravel and blind curves. Keep your eyes on Jesus and your foot on the brake just in case you have to turn around from a tempting situation. Remember there are detours and help that you can turn to. You have to accept it and stop making excuses. You are a new creature in Christ, old things are passed away. (2Corinthians 5:17) The old man and old feelings are gone. You don’t want any mood altering substance. Just because a doctor prescribes it doesn’t mean you can take it. Ask him to write you a get out of jail free card too and some disappointment-free pills. You can give them to everyone your relapse lets down along the way. Channel your addiction and direct it into something positive. Put the same energy you put into getting high into staying clean. Find hobbies to fill the void; Church, recovery groups, spiritual healing classes, hunting, fishing, dance, music collecting, bike riding, rafting, swimming, skating, taking nature walks with Jesus, go to storytelling, food tastings, yoga, the gym, and there is so much more. Look for it like you looked for dope and you’ll definitely find it. Turn to being a parent. There’re a million things to do with your kids. Go find the fun. Working is a must. It builds self-confidence, self-worth and shuts down the devil’s workshop: which is idled time. Find a job you enjoy. If you regret it you’ll quit it. Keep a job while you look for one though. If you made it through withdraw, I’m pretty sure a cruddy job won’t knock you down. It won’t take long to find what you’re looking for. When you’re clean, you’re responsible. When you’re responsible people will hire you.
The last direction I can give you is to pray. Not just before a meal. Not just before bed. I’m talking all in, all the time, one on one, you and God. So I say to you, “ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him that knocks it will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10) One of my favorite scriptures. Ask for strength, seek wisdom, and the door of sobriety will be opened. This appetite for freedom is not just for me. It is for everyone that wants it. To the addict that suffers, there is hope. To the family that’s hurting, there is help. God has called Recovery Soldiers Ministries to the battlefield of addiction. Through him we can end the struggle. Take this blessing and opportunity. Call us if you or your loved one is in the pit falls of addiction. Sponsor and support us if God has placed a burden on your heart to help. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
Hello, my name is Lincoln Shelton. I am 44 years old. I am married to my wonderful wife Denna, of 20 years. We live in Jonesborough, Tennessee where we are members of Nolichucky Baptist Church. Where at Nolichucky Baptist I teach discipleship and a Thrive class for Sunday school. I have been involved in ministry for over 20 years. I accepted Christ at the age of 20 and was called to preach a year later. Shortly after my call to ministry I began to serve as a youth minister. After serving at that church for two years I felt led to continue my education. I attended Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where I earned an Associate Degree in Religion/Church Ministries in 2003.
After graduation, I worked at the Hendersonville Rescue Mission. I was employed there for seven years. During this time, I saw a great need for Christian-based counseling for those who are bound by addiction and for the mentally ill. While at the Rescue Mission I also pastored a bilingual (Spanish/English) church. During this pastorate I counseled numerous couples who were having marriage difficulties which furthered my desire to become more competent in counseling. During this time, we also baptized over 25 new converts.
My wife and I moved back to Tennessee in 2010, as we felt led to return to this region. Shortly after we moved, I began pastoring Community Church of Bristol. I served there for over four years. It was at that time I felt as though I needed once again to further my education. After working with juvenile justice youth, serving as a hospice chaplain, and counseling in the secular field, I felt called to create a ministry in the field of Christian coaching and counseling known as Thrive, Life Advancement Ministries INC (thrivelam.com). I received my license as a professional counselor (LPC, MHSP) 7-29-20.
I am ordained as a SB minister. I have my Associate Degree in Religion/Church Ministries (Fruitland Baptist Bible Collage), Bachelor of Science in Psychology/Christian Counseling and MA in Professional Counseling through (Liberty University).
In His service
Rev. Lincoln Shelton
Praise & Worship Team
Praise & Worship
Praise & Worship
My name is Stacy and I’m a Ex Alcoholic and Drug Addict. I spent almost 9 years in the Military once I graduated H.S. That is when Alcohol became my best friend, at least I thought so but it Got me 2 DUI charges and time behind Bars. After exiting the Military in 1999, I got into Bodybuilding and became a Bouncer on the Weekends. Once again, My Life took a Spin and I became addicted to Cocaine. Also had many encounters with the drug Ecstasy. I did Cocaine almost everyday for a year straight and that’s When God Spoke to Me on a Friday night at my Apartment in Kingsport. He said, THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO ACCEPT ME AS YOUR LORD AND SAVIOR. I asked God to Come into my Heart that night and I had much Family Support so I didn’t have to do any Recovery Program. With that being said, I Highly and Strongly Encourage Anyone who Has a Alcohol or Drug Problem to Seek God first but also RSM because they’re a Caring, Loving, and Humble Group of People who Love You and Just want the very best for You… Last, I’m now part of the Praise Team at RSM and I’m getting to Share my Testimony with the Guys coming through the Program.