Faith helps a local man overcome his addiction | Religion
NORTH CAPE MAY – Bullying, Anxiety, peer pressure and family dynamics have built up in Ricky Gentek’s soul over time. From his home, Gentek, 30, shared his story of addiction, faith and recovery via Zoom on October 8.
âIt’s a blessing to see how great God is and how small I am,â he said.
âI’ve lived here my whole life,â Gentek said, referring to Cape May County.
At 3, his parents divorced. Gentek LiveD with her mother, who moved to Middle Township.
âI saw my dad on the weekends,â he explained.
Learning difficulties also rocked his childhood. Gentek said he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) when he was in third grade.
âEverything was such a challenge,â he said.
“I hated how the drug made me feel, but I took it every day,” he added.
The biggest burden, according to Gentek, was realizing that he was not “like everyone else.”
Music has become a lifeline, according to Gentek. He attributes his passion for the guitar and orchestral playing to his father, but the music could not silence the noise in Gentek’s soul.
During his sophomore year of high school, Gentek began to “self-medicate” and experiment with drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, and LSD.
The “full-fledged party” also provided a temporary escape, according to Gentek.
By the time he reached his final year, Gentek knew something had to change. He described desire as a âmixed motivationâ: Wanting to quit without wanting to be sober.
âMy family was at their wit’s end,â he said.
After going to rehab, Gentek said his father invited him to a local Bible study in 2012.
“What the hell am I doing here?” Gentek said, remembering his thoughts at the time.
During the Bible study he met a man named Nick, who told Gentek about The American Keswick, in Whiting, a non-denominational Christian conference and retreat center based on the original, In Great Britain. Keswick also offers a drug recovery center for men and women.
Gentek applied but heroin overdose. He found refuge with his father, who helped him through withdrawals. However, Gentek was arrested and housed in the Cape May County Correctional Facility on the eve of Storm Sandy.
âI tried to pray,â Gentek said, noting that he felt âsafeâ in prison, away from the world, and his incarceration became a metaphor.
“I was not a believer at the time,” he said.
After two weeks in prison, Gentek left for Keswick and enrolled in the four-month program. He stayed for three more months.
âI gave my life to Christ,â he said.
Jesus’ intellectual understanding became personal when he asked Jesus to forgive and save him.
Gentek’s journey of recovery continued after leaving Keswick.
He couch-surfed for a while with friends while doing odd jobs.
He wants others to realize their need for a savior, and this restoration is not separate from faith.
Today Gentek works as a professional painter and attends Revolve Church. He still enjoys music and playing the guitar.
Gentek also speaks occasionally at Coastal Preparatory High School at Cape Assist, sharing his journey with students on the road to recovery.
âYou are more blessed than you think,â he concluded.
Faith Matters is an ongoing series exploring the connection between individuals and their faith, impacting their families, community and beyond. Those who have a history of faith inâ¯to shareâ¯shouldâ¯contactâ¯theâ¯writerâ¯Toâ¯[email protected].â¯