My name is Michael Bowen and I am originally from Dallas, TX where I was born and raised as the only son of a very successful businessman dad who had one of the fastest growing companies in the United States in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. My family came into wealth and my parents always provided me with the best. During this time I came into my own as a football player and in 1986 was one of the Top High School Running Backs in the State of Texas. Once I graduated, I decided to play for Southern Methodist University and as a true freshman made the starting team. That year was the year of the death penalty where they shut down the football program at the university for 2 years so I left the school for another opportunity. In 1987 I transferred to the University of Georgia were once again I found success and was named the most outstanding walk-on athlete at UGA that year for a team that finished 13th in the nation and Liberty Bowl Champion. I was homesick and loved SMU and decided to go back in 1988 and help resurrect the team from the ashes of the death penalty that was one of the top sports story of the decade and one of the most talked about events ever to happen in the history of college football. I finished my college career at SMU in 1990 as one of the top receivers in the country and was named All Southwest Conference – Honorable Mention Receiver, Team Captain and Offensive MVP for the Mustangs and drafted into the Canadian Football League in 1991. I did not catch on with the Edmonton Eskimos and came back to the states dejected and defeated and began drinking and using cocaine.
During my high school and college years I began experimenting with alcohol and marijuana which opened the door for the harder drugs of ecstasy (MDMA), cocaine and methamphetamine. Football always came first in my life and as long as I was playing, I never let my alcohol and drug use get too far out of hand. I would drink and do drugs during the off season but as soon as it was time to train or play football I would put the substances on the back burner until the next off season rolled around. During my college years I began using cocaine more frequently and soon discovered what would become my drug of choice, crack cocaine. I would leave my college campus or my family’s beautiful house in an affluent North Dallas suburb and sneak away by myself into the projects of the inner city where crack was flowing like water. I was totally out of place and completely out of my mind as I would find a crack house to hold up in for the evening and usually stay until the sun would come up. I did this with a great amount of control in the early years because I did not want it to interfere with my greatest love which was the game of football. Man did I love this game! After my failure to catch on with the Edmonton Eskimos, addiction quickly set its hooks into me as I found myself lost and overcome by the violent and unpredictable crack cocaine epidemic raging across our country during that time.
The next 25 years I fought my addiction with everything I had going to dozens of treatment centers, numerous 12 step programs, a few mental hospitals, and countless incarcerations and everything my family could think of to throw at the problem and nothing ever worked. During this time I was able to get married and have three children but my addiction was always there to ruin any success I would have in my life. Along the way I gave myself to the Lord but never completely surrendered to Him and always fell back into addiction under my own strength. My life was a broken record playing the same lopsided song of rebuilding my life after my last fall only to disappear once again without a trace into the very dangerous and unpredictable world of crack cocaine, getting high, getting stuck, completely wiping myself out, losing my job, abandoning my loved-ones and later my children, emptying my bank accounts, losing my vehicles and ending up on the streets as a homeless vagabond hoping from crack house to crack house, stealing anything I could get my hands on to pay for the drugs that I could not stop using This pattern plagued me all through my 20’s and 30’s and finally in 2006 I was arrested for stealing a car and taking the police on a high speed car chase and then wrecking the car into a van and then taking off through the neighborhood only to be captured by the helicopter and a bunch of very angry Phoenix police. I was arrested and sentenced to 14 months in county jail and then put on intense probation. I made it through a year of intense probation and then moved to regular probation but could not handle the freedom and relapsed and was on the run from the law. I knew that I was going to get prison this time for absconding, so I ran hard with an “I don’t care” attitude and was running wild through the Tucson streets trying to keep from getting caught. One night I was walking down the street and a guy in a truck pulled up to me and asked me if I knew where I could get some crack and I said sure and jumped in and headed to the dope spot. I bought the crack and took it back to the truck and broke a piece off and gave the rest to the guy and began smoking in the truck. The guy happened to be an undercover police officer and as I began to smoke a police car pulled up behind us with their lights on and they pulled me out of the car and I was arrested. I received a 2 year sentence for narcotics sales and was taken to the Florence Unit in the Arizona Department of Corrections.
I did my time in Arizona and released on parole to Texas in December 2009 and believed that the experience of prison was enough to keep me from ever going back! I truly believed that I was done with my addiction and going to jail and prison. It worked for a little while as I settled into my new drug-free life in Austin, Texas. In 2010, I was featured on the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Pony Excess” about the death penalty that happened back during my college years and it was shown prime-time on ESPN all over the world. . That same year I started my own real estate development company and began building a subdivision in Dallas and found great success. I also began coaching youth football in my community and ended up becoming the league’s football commissioner and coached my son’s team to 3 back to back championships and a 21-0 record over the last two seasons. We were poised and ready to make a run at a Pop Warner National Title in 2013 with one of the best teams in our region. Unfortunately, I did not make it to the 2013 season. In March 2013, I went to the bar for some drinks and never came home. I disappeared once again into the world of crack cocaine and now this time its evil twin, Meth!
During what would be my final decent into my addiction, I went to the deepest darkest place I had ever been before and I thought there was no way out. At one point I was convinced that I had died and I was in hell and this addicted life and crack house was my eternal torment. I was convinced that I had died and began gnashing my teeth and panicking, looking all over my body for bullet holes trying to figure out how I had died. That moment passed and I settled into my new reality that I was too far gone to ever return to a normal life again. The enemy had me convinced that I had fallen so far and disappointed so many people that I could never return to them again and that I was hated by all. I had abandoned my career, responsibilities, children and all my friends and nobody knew where I was for 3 months. During this time I was smoking crack, selling crack and had started shooting methamphetamine intravenously because I did not care anymore about my life and I was going to run it as far and as fast and get as high as I could before my certain end. I believed that I was going to die and that it was the only way that I would ever stop using drugs. Finally, on May 19, 2013, I was arrested which I refer to now as “Captured by God” for felony theft. In 2012 my real estate development company had $1.7 Million in sales revenue and now I was reduced to stealing items from stores to pay for my crack and meth habit that had consumed my life. I was living out of my car stealing anything I could get my hands on to keep the drugs flowing because I could not face the reality of my broken life!
Praise Jesus! He brought me to the Travis Unit in Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a one year flat sentence and I was able to finally surrender all to Jesus Christ and now I am changed. Jesus delivered me, healed me and showed me the Truth that there is no addiction in Christ Jesus that His rest is the cure! The Holy Spirit burned my addiction away and brought me into the understanding, truth, knowledge and wisdom of who I am in Christ Jesus as his precious child and a Son of God. He showed me that through Him, I have victory, absolute authority and dominion over all addictions, demonic spirits, principalities and over my own flesh that was totally out of control and where my addiction set its hooks into me at any early age seeding in me the wickedness of the darkness of this evil fallen world. I was blind and now I see. I was released from prison on May 27, 2014 into a Christian Sober-Living Program and joined a Holy Spirit filled church where the Lord began to teach me His ways. I put all my hope in Jesus and He had to be who I was hoping He would be or I was finished. He was my only Hope after trying everything in this world and nothing ever working except the same old failure and back into addiction and then prison. I am here to tell everyone that Jesus is far more than I could have ever imagined and has certainly over delivered all that I believed I was promised. I just cannot put into words the life He has provided for me and how amazing it is!!! My life is full! I serve in several ministries one of which takes me out into the Austin streets praying for the lost and blind and those suffering in addictions and showing them first-hand the love of Jesus Christ. Shortly after being released from prison I enrolled at Life Christian University and earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Theology in two years and have been ordained into the office of evangelist in the 5-fold ministry. Now I am headed back into the Texas Prison System to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and share my testimony. Every day I have the opportunity to work with addicts and those that are incarcerated or just being released from jail or prison and I am currently mentoring several young men. I have a ministry called Sons and Daughters of Thunder that preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ to those that are living in defeat of Addiction and Habitual Incarceration and showing them that there is Victory over all things in Jesus Christ. The ministry is growing and will someday facilitate a Christian Sober-Living Program called Thunder House where we will give men and women who are being released from prison who have given their life to Jesus Christ a place to live, a sanctuary and stronghold where we can teach them to become disciples of Jesus and build them up in the Lord until they are ready to stand in Christ on their own. I am also writing a book called The Poetry of Addiction, One Man’s Journey into the Captivity, Darkness and hell of Addiction and Deliverance Back to His God and should be ready to print sometime in 2016. My life is full!
The Lord has called me out of this world, addiction and habitual incarceration into Him and into the Spirit of Truth commissioning me to spread His Word to those still lost and living in defeat and showing them there is Victory in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is my charge! Praise God for He is my “Everything” and I am His precious child who He saved from the captivity, darkness and hell of addiction by His Mighty Right Hand! My God is an Awesome God and I want to share Him with others who are in bondage to addiction, prisons or anything keeping them from living their purpose in God. I found true freedom in the most unlikely place, in prison when I surrendered all to Jesus! You too can find freedom from whatever has you bound by surrendering your life to Jesus as I have done and have found true success. John 8:36 ~ Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. Brothers and sisters…I pray for your deliverance now in the name of Jesus! Amen.
~ All my Love in Christ Jesus
Sons & Daughters of Thunder Ministries