Chaplain Steve Bradley has recently published a new book. Christ’s Healing Touch for Addictions is his third self-published title, in a series of books inspired by his life and ministry. This follows his first two books, Connection to Freedom and Youth at Risk .
Recently, BCCN heard from Bradley about his journey and his published works.
“These three books evolved from a suicide note which I wrote in 1987, while an inmate at Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (VIRCC),” said Bradley.
“As I penned that which was to be the record of the end of my life, Jesus Christ intervened – and called me to ‘help these men’ – meaning other addicts and inmates, such as myself.”
Bradley described where he found himself at the time of this intervention. “I had spent 18 wasted years in heroin addiction, and nine years more addicted to alcohol and nicotine. I was serving a year and a half for attempted drug store robbery.
“I had no idea how to answer God’s call on my life, other than to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. He guided me to establish a support group, and write the beginnings of what has now become three published books.”
Connection to Freedom , he said, “is a Bible-based workbook for men and women, to help them find the road to recovery.” Though he also intended the book to be used as a correspondence program for prisoners, he struggled to attract interest – until Hope Farm’s Healing Centre invited him to facilitate a program.
“I used several lessons from the book, and found the experience to be an absolute blessing,” he said. The program was a success, but as for the workbook itself, “it pretty much sits gathering dust. However, in my thoughts, I have not given up on the workbook. I sense that God is still going to use it, in his time and for his purpose.”
Bradley’s Bible-based support group, which shares the name Connection to Freedom , is now in its 21st year. The group meets bi-weekly in downtown Victoria.
Regarding Youth at Risk, he said: “This book has its own website, and is a result of my work of 15years with high school students, and nine years with college students. This work I performed, more often than not, with assistance by Connection to Freedom group members. The book is formatted to motivate, make aware, and deter students from a life of addictions and criminal behaviours.”
He added: “Because secular venues do not allow anything to do with Jesus Christ, I sought the Lord’s wisdom in this book’s creation.”
He formatted the book using the concepts of right and wrong, and the consequences of poor choices. Through interactive workshops, Bradley writes, the workbook tackles myriad topics, including: “expressing feelings; importance of education; sports and steroids; youth suicide attempts; consequences of crystal meth, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, cigarettes and marijuana; sex abuse and healing; addiction to dieting; pain caused by racism; impaired driving causing death; youth detention and adult prison; the street and prostitution; home invasions and growing pot; molestation and chat rooms; bullying and the truth; youth gangs and the truth; addiction to violence.”
The book, he said, is based on information “taken from the personal stories of prisoners and ex-prisoners, struggling and recovering addicts . . . The written exercises are intended to teach youth how to choose the right path in life. My heart cries, when I think of the young people whose lives could be saved by this book – and yet this work, too, is doing nothing but gathering dust. Nonetheless, God’s will be done.”
Which brings us to Christ’s Healing Touch for Addictions. “As was my experience,” said Bradley, “many addicts find it impossible to express their true feelings. This book is an excellent resource, as it provides my testimony, teachings, and lined pages for the reader’s personal testimony. My personal addiction and recovery struggles, incarceration at VIRCC, and victory through healing, lift the reader from despair to hope – and guide the way to Christ, if the reader so chooses.”
Bradley described some of the experiences he shares in his book. “Through faith, I learned how to forgive a corrections officer whom I deeply resented. A druggist and I were reconciled, 14 years after I had attempted to rob him. The healing took place at Emmanuel Baptist Church in 2000, after I had shared my testimony. Unbeknown to me, the pharmacist was a part of the congregation.”
Bradley has also seen how his testimony affects others. “When I shared at Centennial United Church in 2001, my message was ‘Christ’s forgiveness and the need to forgive one another.’ With tears in his eyes, a man approached me and thanked me for my message, and told me: ‘I know the Lord wanted me to hear your message today. I’m an airline pilot from Seattle, and I believe God brought me here to listen to you. Thank you sir!'”
According to Bradley, his third book is receiving a positive response. “I sense success in the Lord. Who but Christ could transform a suicide note into three published works?”
Contact: Janelle Visser youthatriskprogram.com