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Note: This article was written by Norvel Hayes' daughter, Zona Cornelison.

I guess I always wanted a lot of attention because I was from a broken home. My dad gave me as much attention as he could, but still I longed for a mother's love.

All of my life I had wanted to be the center of attention, to be in the middle of everything. And I was happy-go-lucky.

I got married at an early age, even though my dad told me that the Lord had warned him that I was making a mistake. I didn't listen. Bobby and I got married anyway. When he was sent to Vietnam, people started telling me that he was probably being unfaithful to me. That is when the trouble started.

Bobby never explained to me where he was or what he was doing. People said that he would probably find a Vietnamese girl and be with her. I believed that nobody is ever faithful to anybody.

Everyone I knew had been untrue to me, except for my father and a few close relatives. I felt that Bobby had slipped away from me, because I hadn't heard from him in months. I didn't understand what it meant to be on the front lines in Vietnam.

Deep within my heart, I knew Bobby loved me, and I knew he would never do me wrong, but I listened to my new "friends." This is an example of why it is so important for parents to watch the company their children keep.

I went to work in a restaurant where I met people who later influenced me to start taking drugs. They really seemed to like me. I wanted their attention so badly. Their acceptance of me drew me to them and consequently pulled me away from church.

They were doing all the "fun" things, like skiing at the lake on Saturday and Sunday. I couldn't go with them on Saturday because I had to work, so I went after work on Sunday. Gradually, I started doing more and more things with them. Then we started going to night clubs together.

I remember the first night I took drugs. It was the most awful feeling I had ever experienced. I felt as though I had killed somebody, because I had not been raised to do things like that.

At first I was miserable. By the time I got home that first night, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I begged God not to let my father find out what I was doing, "because if he does, he will kill me!"

I was busy with my job all week, and my "friends" didn't bother me again until Friday. Then they came to the restaurant where I worked and hounded me to go out with them again.

"I can't go! I can't go!" I insisted, but they kept saying, "Yes, you can! Come on!"

I tried to find an excuse not to go. I persuaded the people I worked for to assign me to clean-up duties. It was a big job, because I worked at a restaurant where there were ice cream machines, grills, and other equipment that had to be cleaned after hours.

I wanted that cleaning job to take all night. But when I finished, the group was waiting for me.

I wound up going out with them again.

And that's how I started living a wild life in my teens. After that night, the group even helped me clean up so I could go out with them.

In the beginning, I was miserable the entire time I was with them because I was afraid someone would see me and tell my dad.

The third time I went with the group, one of the girls brought me home afterwards. I went in and lay on the floor and cried. The next morning, I didn't want to see anyone. I was so ashamed! I was from a nice family. My dad always liked people and was friendly to everyone, and I had not been brought up to party all night.

However, it became easier and easier to go out with my new friends. I liked them because they were giving me the attention I craved, and they were paying my way. Going out with them started to be fun, and I loved it. After I became comfortable with this crowd, I would head straight for the dance floor as soon as we got to a club.

I loved the attention I was receiving. My mother and Bobby had rejected me, I thought, but these people accepted me. I believed they really cared about me. When I was on the dance floor, I would "get into" the music, and all of the hurt from my mother's rejection would be blotted out. I told myself that I was having a great time.

Sin is fun for a season. That's how people get hooked on it, but Romans 6:23 says, "...The wages of sin is death...." I know this is true, because of what I saw sin do to me and my friends.

Eventually, I ended up "doing speed" every day for almost three years, and worked my way up to 12 pills a day. I worked 16 to 18 hours daily managing a restaurant in town and could not be without my constant dosages of "speed."

By then, I had become thoroughly convinced that Bobby had been untrue to me in Vietnam. Someone who knew me wrote him about the kind of wild lifestyle I was leading. He got an emergency leave to come home and see for himself.

The marriage disintegrated. Although Bobby assured me that he loved me and that he had been faithful to me, I couldn't believe that he wasn't untrue. Finally, he filed for divorce. And I kept right on partying.

There were lots of "friends" who gave me "speed."

Nearly every one of them is dead now.

I'm alive only because my dad prayed for me and stood in the gap for me. I believe many of my friends are dead because no one prayed and interceded for them.

Source: Stand In The Gap For Your Children
by Norvel Hayes & Zona Cornelison
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Norvel Hayes
Web site: Norvel Hayes Ministries
Norvel Hayes is a successful businessman, internationally renowned Bible teacher, and founder of several Christian ministries in the United States and abroad.

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