Commentary: Life-changing experience gives man second chance

Commentary: Life-changing experience gives man second chance
February 04
00:00 2016
Above: Leroy Cannady

By Leroy Cannady

I grew up in a home that sold bootleg whiskey. My mother and father were alcoholic and I witnessed the stabbing of my father at the age of 13. I got involved with drugs, alcohol, and prostitution at an early age. I stole money from my church to support my drug problem, and they discharged me from the Army after only eight weeks because of my drug problems.

When I got back on the street, I started working with Joe Frazier. Joe tried to convince me to leave the drugs and get into the gym, but I did not listen! Joe went on to win the Gold Medal in the Olympics and later Heavyweight Champ of the World. I continued my life of drugs, alcohol, and prostitution.

I got married, had three children, but my wife kicked me out after I spent all my kids’ Christmas money on drugs and I ended up in a homeless shelter. I met a woman who was doing volunteer counseling and after 18 months of marriage and one kid, she kicked me out.

At the age of 30, I was on my third marriage. My wife came to know Jesus as her Lord and Savior and she began having Bible study in our home. I did not like her Christian friends coming over so I invited my drug and alcoholic friends over the same night.

My wife would tell me that Jesus could change my life. I said, “NO ONE CAN CHANGE ME!”

After a few weeks, she noticed that I was not making any effort to change life, so she moved back to southern Illinois.

That following morning I got up early, rolled me a joint, tooted some coke, and took a hit of blotted acid. I was stoned out of my mind. I went for a walk to a park occupied by the homeless.

These thoughts were going through my mind as I sat on that park bench;


I concluded that I would be better off if I was dead!

I was on my way home to commit suicide when a man came up to me with a Bible. He told me that Jesus loves me; I knocked the Bible out of his hand. When I reached down to pick it up. My eyes were glued to the page of Isaiah. 1:18-19.

“Come now, and let us reason together says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red as crimson, they shall be as wool, if ye be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good from the land.”

Those words did surgery on my soul.

I’ve written a book and shared my story with inmates, businessmen on Wall Street, ministerial and pastor’s banquets, churches, Christian TV, homeless shelters, and Winston-Salem Street School. I am a retired Walmart store manager and district supervisor. I moved to N.C. to open the first Walmart Super Center in the state in Aberdeen, and the first one in Fayetteville.

Here I am a drug addict, an alcoholic from the streets of North Philadelphia, a reject from the military, but the Lord gave me a promise, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good from the land!”

Leroy Cannady is with Gideons International. For more information, visit his website at

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