He smokes his first cigarette at the age of ten. Three years later, alcohol and drugs were added to the mix. Kurt Bodenmann completes an apprenticeship, but has trouble getting a foothold in life. After two years in psychiatric treatment, he sees no other way out than to take his own life: "Combined with alcohol and drugs, I swallowed all the antidepressants I had saved up over the last two years." When he, then 22, goes to ask his mother for some tea, foam pours out of his mouth, and he collapses. The dose of poison could have killed six men, doctors say. Kurt Bodenmann falls into a coma.
What happened next, he will never forget: "I felt my spirit separating from my body. Suddenly I was hanging from the ceiling and looking down at my mortal shell. Panic gripped me. Through my activities in the Catholic Church as an altar boy and choir boy, I knew there was an eternity; in heaven - or hell. And I didn't want to end up in that awful place that was guaranteed to await me with my broken life. So many things I would have to clean up. I wanted to get back into my body as soon as possible." After three days and three nights that seem like a second to him, Kurt Bodenmann returns to life.
In the wake of addiction
With the fear of eternity still breathing down his neck, he sinks deeper and deeper into drugs. After an overdose of LSD, which triggers a religious psychosis in him, he resorts to heroin for the first time. He visibly falls into disrepair. Again and again, Christians cross his path and offer him help. He always refuses, for fear of losing his freedom. Four years after his suicide attempt, he is at the end of his rope. "I was homeless, jobless, hopeless, aimless - everything was pointless." Kurt Bodenmann visits his parents and confesses his addiction to them. They encourage him to enter long-term therapy.
Three days after his admission to the "Best Hope" therapy center in May 1988, a counselor again tells him about Jesus. He loves all people equally. Everyone is flawed, and no one can earn Jesus' forgiveness - and with it, eternal life. Jesus' love is an undeserved gift. The counselor quotes a verse from the Bible: "Do you not realize it? I am still standing at your door and knocking. Now whoever listens to my voice and opens the door to me, I will come in and have fellowship with him (Revelation, chapter 20, verse 3)." The words seem like dynamite: "Until now, I had always wondered how to get to Jesus. But the fact that he wants to come to me, that he is standing at my door and wants to enter my life, that was completely new to me and blew my mind," Kurt Bodenmann recalls.
Inspired by new hope, he prays: "Jesus, if You can set me free, then enter my life now. I am sorry for having lived without You and for having done such terrible things. I accept the gift of your love." Bodenmann's prayer is not without consequences. In one fell swoop, his craving for drugs goes out and has not awakened to this day. "It took a little longer with alcohol, but I've been free of that, too, for over 20 years," Kurt Bodenmann interjects. Much more important for him, however, is "that Jesus took away my fear of death. Deep within me I carry the certainty that a glorious future awaits me in heaven. With God there will be eternal joy, peace and abundance. I am free because I know my goal. And that is what I am living toward."
Author: Manuela Herzog