As a member of the upcoming Reflectors Of Holiness Session of cadets, Micah Gallagher’s countenance now reflects the redeeming love of God.
The Man In The Mirror
By: Major Frank Duracher
As Micah Gallagher once peered into his mirror at the height of his addiction to crack cocaine, he did not recognize the man in his reflection. Today, the image he sees is quite the opposite — through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, Micah has become a reflector of holiness.
Micah grew up one of four boys, with two older brothers and one twin. But his home life in those early years was anything but happy. His addict father abandoned the family early on. In fact, Micah has little memory of him.
“I had no male role model to trust,” Micah says. “My house was loud and chaotic and I learned a lot of bad habits and experienced a lot of things no kid should endure.”
They moved often, adding to young Micah’s growing instability. By age ten, he began smoking and by age 13 he was a regular marijuana user. By age 19, Micah reached two “graduations” — one from high school, but the second to cocaine.
“I was hiding my addictions very well,” he said. “If I could be around people, I wanted to be the life of the party. I was usually on my own and when people took me in, I would do whatever it was they were doing,” he says.
Conversely, when he was alone, he became introverted, preferring to be by himself in his thoughts and growing depression.
By the time Micah turned 30, he was a full-blown meth and crack addict. His appearance was reflecting his destructive lifestyle.
“One day I looked in the mirror and broke down crying,” said Micah. “I had no clue who that was in the mirror. It was an eye-opening moment. I saw that I could no longer hide the effects of my addictions.”
Some years before this point, Micah’s mother married Mike Gallagher, today a well-known radio talk show personality. Mike tried to fill the fatherly role Micah so desperately needed — even adopting the four boys and giving them his surname.
“My dad came to visit me and when he saw me, he dropped everything and sobbed, ‘Son, what has happened to you?’”
A few enrollments to rehab centers in Texas and South Carolina followed, but Micah would either drop out or, if he managed to graduate, soon relapse. Each relapse left Micah “worse off than before” in his addictions, he says. On one occasion, he ended up in jail.
“But even in those days, I can now see that God was already working in my life!”
Micah landed a job in a Greenville, South Carolina restaurant. A coworker there befriended him.
“Ross often talked to me about his faith, and always it seems at the right time,” Micah explains. “He told me about a friend of his who came through The Salvation Army’s ARC (Adult Rehabilitation Center) in Washington. Ross began urging me to enter a similar program the Army operates in Greenville.”
Micah eventually entered the program but at first it did nothing to help him address his anger; mostly at himself for the messed he had made of his life. He hit bottom when news came that his mentor, Ross, was killed in a robbery attempt at the restaurant.
During a chapel service at the Army’s Greenville 614 Corps, Micah listened to the sermon from then-Lieutenant Rob Dolby. The Holy Spirit spoke to Micah: there is more for you — give God a real chance.
“A weird peace came over me and I thought of where Ross was, in Heaven with Jesus,” Micah says. “I went to the altar, and told God, ‘I do not know You. I do not trust You. But I will give you a little bit by bit if You change me!’”
With each passing day, God is showing Micah that He is faithful to keep His promises.
“I’m not the wretched person I thought I was. I learned to love myself. I learned accountability and how to apologize. I realized I am not the center of the universe, and that who my dad is does not give me privilege.
“Dealing with myself was the hard part—that’s true for anybody dealing with addiction. Every addict I know also has a traumatic past.”
Micah admits he used to question where God was during all those hard times in his life — “But I can see now that God was there all along working toward my reclamation. God has transformed me now to where I do not see that reflection of an old creature without Christ any longer. I want to help others see a reflection of the holiness God is revealing to me — and I love it!”