Donnie Martinez – The Healing Conference, Grand Junction, CO 2023

Okay, so our next speaker is Donnie Martinez. Let me tell you a little story about how I met him in our town on a Friday night. I discovered a group called “420 Fire” that meets at the local coffee shop. They met on a Friday night, and then on Sunday, I attended a fabulous potluck at his mother’s house. I adore his mother, Rita, this petite and amazing woman. It was there that I got to meet her son, Donnie.

At the December conference I organized, a couple showed up, and it was Donnie and his wife. By the end of the conference, I felt that there were two people who needed to share their stories, and Donnie was one of them. He also spoke at another conference held by a friend of mine at the end of April. It’s amazing what opportunities God opens for us.

As a speaker, Donnie is in recovery. He leads young men, encourages them, and shows them their potential. So, please give a round of applause to Donnie Martinez.

“Hello! I’m Donnie. I’m usually the only guy speaking about recovery at these events, and I’m really thankful. We have a few more of you this time. Do we have anyone else here in recovery? A couple of you, fantastic, that’s good. I work with a group called Faith Over Fear. You’ll often see me wearing their gear. We also collaborate with another group called The Society of the Sacred Stone. This group supports people in recovery who are battling depression or mental illness, something I personally struggle with. Public speaking is new to me. I never thought I’d be able to do it.

God gave me a testimony when he called me to do this – and my wife suggested I should work on my speech. However, I usually get up there, and God just guides me. That’s kind of the whole theme, anyway. Today, you guys have been talking about suicide. It’s been mentioned multiple times, and it struck me. We don’t really discuss it much, even at healing conferences. It’s a darker subject. I recently lost a friend to suicide just a week ago. Six months ago, another friend took their own life, and eight years ago, my best friend committed suicide. I just want to say it’s a difficult topic. People struggle with this in the dark, as was mentioned earlier today.”

“We care about how you’re doing. The people in this room care and the people around you care. The effects of suicide will be felt for years and years. There will be people you touched 30 years ago that you’ll know come up in a suicide situation, and you’ll say, ‘Oh man, I wish they wouldn’t have done that; they made an impact on my life.’ So if anybody’s struggling with that, please seek some resources.

I am a high-functioning alcoholic. That’s what I was told, and really all that means is I liked drugs and alcohol enough that I always made it a point to go to work, do drugs, and drink alcohol while at work. I could keep affording drugs and alcohol. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a cruel cycle, and some of these guys have already expressed what that will do to you in the end.

With that said, the grace of God saved me through the trenches, and he gave me three gifts that I want to share with you guys. I want to simplify this as much as I can. The gifts are humility, surrender, and gratitude. That was given to me through my testimony, and that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m here today, to share with all of you the simplest way I could recover. I share this with everybody else in recovery to try and get them to a new place because I was in a bad place myself.

I’m a carpenter with 30 years of experience. With that, it should be an easy job. For me, I got to where I couldn’t really do my job. I’d wake up in the morning so hungover, so shaken that I’d have to take a hit of alcohol right away. The next thing I knew, I couldn’t control the shakes, so I took some Xanax. That took the shakes away. The next thing you know, I was taking alcohol and Xanax every morning until it became such a pattern and a habit that eventually, I could quit the alcohol. I could quit the Xanax but still couldn’t function at work. That is the inevitable end for high-functioning alcoholics. Whether your boss catches you doing cocaine in the bathroom because that’s your day-to-day, or it’s Xanax alcohol shaking. We usually all go through that myriad of drugs, right? You expressed yourself; there’s a list of them. We go through a list of them all, searching for something better, for something higher, and that’s what we eventually have to tap into. So I got to the point where I just couldn’t function.

I was actively walking away from God, and there’s that poem ‘Footprints in the Sand.’ We know that everybody knows it, and it goes something to the effect of: ‘You know during your times of trial when you look back – and you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.’ But I found that when I looked back, there was only one set of footprints because I had walked so far away from God that it was just me. I had created a situation where I thought it was just me, but that wasn’t the case, that wasn’t the case at all. I was on a bender, a really bad one, six months in or so, doing drugs, drinking alcohol, just barely getting through. I was detached from my family at the time, which seems to be the pattern of all of us alcoholics and addicts. Eventually, we get that detachment. I couldn’t legally see my wife or my two kids. I am what I thought was a high-functioning alcoholic because people will tell you that all your buddies are there for the ride. I couldn’t do my job. I couldn’t see my family. I was in the depths of it all, and God came for me.”


I went to bed one night, as I usually would, high on drugs and alcohol. I went to bed around 10:30 and woke up in the middle of the night, around two o’clock. I felt swaddled by God Himself. When I woke up, I felt surrounded by God. I think He knew that through all my trials, my repeated failures, and my active disengagement from Him, He had to show up for me. He is that great. Even though I was trying to push away my faith, He showed up for me. When He showed up, I started receiving a prophecy directly from God’s message, from God Himself. He started talking to me, and it wasn’t the booming voice I expected. It was a clear, quiet, perfect thought, so much so that no other thought existed. All the thoughts I would normally have made way for the voice of the Lord. He said, “I know what you’re going through, and I can take that away from you. I can be the one that takes it away from you if you’ll just come to me, my child, and do as I tell you.”

At that point, I was feeling at rock bottom. I was at my wit’s end, so I said, “Yeah, you know what, I’ll make that deal.” Plus, if you’ve ever been in the presence of God, God bless you if you haven’t, but it’s such an experience that you find yourself agreeing to do whatever He asks. He offered me the most beautiful thing I could imagine—a walk with God. So, I agreed, “Yes, I’ll do what you say,” He asked me to give my will up to Him. It sounded easy and perfect. We spoke back and forth for a while. He explained how He could take my burdens away, make life much easier, and help me turn things around.

I drifted off into a beautiful sleep after that meditative state. I hadn’t slept like that in decades. I woke up the next morning right away thinking, “That is cool. I must be cured. God said He was going to cure me.” Then the voice came back and said, “Alright, you’re in. Today is the day you decide to go to rehab.” I said, “No, oh no! No! No! No, I’m not a junkie! I’m above that.” My ego was still pushing me to resist. God said, “Okay, I guess that’s how it is. We had an agreement last night, and the first thing I ask of you, you’re going to say no. I guess we’re done here.” I’ve never been so scared in my life. I had the opportunity to walk with God, and here I was, telling Him I wasn’t willing to do something simple for Him. So, that was the day I decided I was going to walk with God and go to rehab. He said, “I have three things that you have to do moving forward. The first one is I need you to humble yourself. I need you to get up every single day and humble yourself to my will. In doing that, you need to surrender your whole will to me. Then, at the end of the day, I just want you to be grateful for the path that I’m going to put in front of you every day from here on out. Simple, that’s the easy part—humility, surrender, gratitude. That’s the whole formula.”

I’m a big fan of the 12 Steps and all the programs. I love them. I’ve never done them. God distilled this down to me. The formula He gave me is those three things: if you can do those three things, a hundred percent, He said, “I will put a path right in front of you like you’ve never seen before.” So, I’m going to share some of the details of that with you all here today.

Humility is a big struggle for me. Like these other addicts, I’ve accomplished a lot in life. We’ve all done things athletically, business-wise. It is a struggle because of our earthly accomplishments, we think they are ours. “I’ve done this. I’ve done that,” and in the end, we all ended up fumbling them. He puts these beautiful paths in front of us, and we do pretty well for a while, and then we’re off over here missing deadlines because we’re popping Fentanyl or whatever it might be at the time. We all go through those same cycles. Our stories are really about the same. So what I do is I wake up every day now and say, “What do you have for me today, God? What do you want me to do for you today, God?” Same formula, right? What do you want from me? What do you want me to do for you today?

What that does is it cultivates a mentality of blessings, and it takes the things that I would normally look at as a bad day and the things that went wrong, and now I’m able to see the blessings through it all. Who would like to see more blessings in their life? Everybody, right? It’s great. A lot of it is just our mentality. Things go sideways when we get to the job because the co-workers have a bad attitude. We see that as “I’m going to have to deal with so-and-so here today. He’s having a horrible day. Why do I have to put up with his attitude?” The difference is when we look to God on that, we can now say, “I have a co-worker who’s struggling. I’ve been through that struggle. I can share my experiences through those similar struggles to help another human being, another child of God, that’s loved, walk into a new place, walk into an easier place, instead of them having to fall down and hit their head over and over as we did.”

Now, onto the surrender piece. This is one where partial credit doesn’t count. God calls us to surrender, and He’s not asking for just 90%. I used to think I was a great Catholic, a good Christian man. I sat in the second row with my mom, who would read at the lectern. I thought I had this thing, but He was asking for my heart, all of my heart. The way I look at this, I think about tithing, right? God asks us to give 10%. It doesn’t sound like much. I’ve got a buddy, though, going through the struggle right now, and he says, “You know what, sometimes it’s easier to just write a check instead of going to church.” I thought that’s where his poor heart was. This guy thinks it’s about the money. He thinks 10% – that’s good. The church goes on, but God’s asking for a hundred percent of your heart. He wants you to surrender to His will. He wants you to surrender to His will and take on what He has for you. Absolute surrender is a hundred percent, and I think of Solomon. Somebody mentioned Solomon earlier, and Solomon writes in Proverbs: ‘Trust in the Lord, with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge Him, the Father, and He will make straight your paths.’ James, the Apostle, writes: ‘Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you, cleanse your hands and purify your hearts. You double-minded.’ That’s a reminder that we can’t live in our earthly will and God’s will at the same time. Then Jesus Christ says in Matthew: ‘Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.’

Gratitude is a big piece. Gratitude is a surefire way to double-check the day that we get through. Sometimes the days beat us up. If nothing else, we can thank God for what He’s done for us that day. In my walk with God through addiction, I’ve had a handful of bad days, really bad days. It’s usually when I check back upon that day, and I’m trying to figure out what I should be grateful for. I think, “Whoa, I didn’t bother to check in at the beginning of the day. I didn’t surrender to God. This is the first time I’m talking to God today.” So if nothing else, it is your safety net. I have learned that as an addict because there were days I was caught up in the addiction so badly that all I could do was hope I had a pill left at night that I didn’t use. I would break my day into pieces if I could get to noon and somehow not use it. If God can give me the strength to get to noon, that’s a success. If I can get to four o’clock after work stops and not go the usual route to the wine store and get some shots, that’s a success. It gives me a double-check, and I think we can all put this in place – be grateful at the end of the day. And again, it’ll change your mentality. It’ll take the things you might have thought were hardships when you were going through them, and you’ll start seeing the gems in that. You’ll start seeing the blessings throughout your days. So I say to God, “Thanks for letting me walk this path with you today.”

One of the biggest lessons in humility that God gave me is I thought I knew the word. God convinced me to restart the Bible. I arrogantly thought I knew His word, and I think most of us do, and He said, “So you think you know the major stories of the Bible, right?” Most of us do, right? There are the big ones, especially in Genesis and the crucifixion, and all those. And He said, “I want you to start at the beginning of the Bible and, for once, don’t read through the Bible. I want you to be in it and be in My word and take it in your heart.” I found myself skipping through as I did this, and then I got to the story of Noah’s Ark. We all know that story well, right? We colored the pictures when we were little kids. There are even books about this stuff, and we absorb it. We know that story, and I got through, and I’m reading that, and I get to the part where He’s talking about how many animals of each kind to put on the Ark. I’m like, “Yeah, it’s two, right? It’s two. Everybody knows it’s two, right?” It’s the obvious answer, and as I’m reading the Bible, suddenly, I figure out it’s not really two. He tells me, “Alright, if you’re wrong about that one, start over again.” Then I got to the story of Adam and Eve, and I thought the details I knew were in there, and it’s not what I thought it was. It’s not the myth and lore that I thought it was. He said, “Start over again,” and I got to the first section of Genesis. He says, “Well, where’s the water?” I figured out where the water was, and I learned something. I wasn’t reading the Bible the right way my entire life. I wasn’t humble enough to take in His word because I went, “Oh yeah, I know where the water’s at. Yeah, yeah, I know how many animals get on the ark,” I was wrong. I challenge each of you to start over at the beginning and look at it in a new light. Because you’ll find it’s not two of each kind that gets on the ark, and it blew my mind. So it reformed the way that I read the entire Bible, and I started taking His word to heart properly, and it became a fantastic thing that I could walk in with every day. He will heal you of the things that currently drag you down. I love you all. Thanks for coming. Thank you.

Join us next time at The Healing Conference!