I`m Daniel Banić, 26 years old. I was born in Austria. My twin brother, younger sister and I lived with our mother and stepfather in Innsbruck.

I remember my childhood by both nice and sad moments. My parents worked hard to provide our family with everything. I didn`t miss anything except for love which they were buying with money and presents. My parents fought a lot because my father was an alcoholic and, therefore, very aggressive. My mother couldn`t put up with that and decided to divorce him. It was extremely hard for me to endure the divorce. I felt hurt, sad, I was aggressive and very depressed. We lost everything we had. My mom and we, the children had to move toward a new life.

I dropped out of school and didn`t obey anyone. There was no authority for me. Soon I met a company of criminals and I started using drugs. Smoking weed made me laugh and forget my problems. Then I met a girl for whom I was ready to do anything. She made me leave my family and go to an orphanage. When I was 17 I took subotex. I thought I was going to die, but I took it again the following day in order to kill the pain I felt inside myself. After some time in the institution they found out we were using drugs so we were thrown out. We lived in the streets, in abandoned wagons and elsewhere. After a year my girlfriend inherited a great sum of money and it was when everything went downhill. We started using cocaine, and we spent everything on drugs, so soon I had to search for more money. I robbed a betting shop and was sentenced to 15 months in jail. My mom visited me and suggested that I go to Serbia. However, when I arrived there, at a parking lot I was awaited by a priest with an entourage of guards, a meeting that was agreed with my mother. They put me in a Jeep and took me to a mountain. There I found out that I was in Crna Reka, monastery – commune that practiced curing drug addicts. Their only treatment was beating the inmates. For the first few days I couldn`t believe what was happening, but I had to stay there because I didn`t know where else to go. 18 months after I got there, the priest killed one of the inmates, the commune was closed down and I returned home. Unfortunately, I started taking cocaine again. Since I didn`t want to get back to stealing, I decided to put myself to state official therapy. However, I didn`t manage to stay away from troubles, so I ended up in jail again. There I was taking everything I could: methadone, subotex, morphine, prescription drugs. When I went out I asked my mom for help. She sent me to a hospital to detox and then to the Crossroads.

There I saw the staff and for the first time I really thought that I had a chance to succeed like they did. I decided to give it a try. They talked about God and worshiped him. I couldn`t believe it. Physically I started changing but I stayed the same on the inside. I was still depressed, sad, aggressive, and mad. One day during Bible lessons someone said that we should try God, so I decided to give God a chance. Only a week of my life could be lost, so I started praying, reading, worshipping and the change began happening. I started laughing. Inside I felt indescribable love and peace. Depression left me, and love for other came in my heart. Having realized that God is alive, no one could persuade me that God doesn`t exist. I continued walking with God through the program. It wasn`t easy, but I know that he helped me finish the race there. He answered many prayers. He freed me from cigarettes, drugs, he healed my family relationships. When I`m back to Austria, I`ll keep walking with him for he saved me and gave me the new life.



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