Claims Of Painless Withdrawal From Heroin Addiction Through The Use Of The Gift Of Tongues

The information here isn't self-help advice. For anyone who needs help overcoming any kind of addiction, the best thing you could probably do would be to seek medical help. Also you could visit the self-help article on this website: Conquering Any Kind of Addiction or Craving.

Skip to articles About scientific and other studies of speaking in tongues.

The apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Christians in Corinth in the New Testament:

1 Corinthians chapter 12 (NLT)

8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice;
to another he gives the gift of special knowledge.
9 The Spirit gives special faith to another,
and to someone else he gives the power to heal the sick.
10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles,
and to another the ability to prophesy.
He gives someone else the ability to know whether it is really the Spirit of God or another spirit that is speaking.
Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,
and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.

In the book Chasing The Dragon, Jackie Pullinger describes her missionary work in Hong Kong from when she went there in the late 1960s to the mid '70s. She says that she grew up in Croydon, (in England), and then she worked among Triad gangsters in Hong Kong, who lived violent lives, making money from the results of dealing in drugs and forcing girls into prostitution. She says that many of their lives were completely changed when they received God's Holy Spirit and the gifts of his Spirit. They came off drugs almost painlessly, and gave up the crime they'd been involved in.

In chapter 10 of the book Chasing The Dragon, Jackie Pullinger describes the events surrounding the conversion of one of the gangsters, Ah Kei, and his later virtually painless withdrawal from heroin addiction.

She met the influential gangster called Ah Kei one night by a street stall. It was just after midnight. He came out of the shadows in a combative mood. He jeered at her that if she could convert him to Christianity he'd give her a thousand disciples.

She replied that she wouldn't be able to convert him; if he believed in Jesus it would be his own decision.

Eating a meal

He sat down at their table and ordered dishes and dishes of expensive food and drink for everyone, inviting everyone around him to join in, as if he wanted people to be impressed with the amount of money he had the ability to spend and how generous he was.

Jackie showed him a picture of another young man, who was looking fat and healthy now he was off drugs. Ah Kei knew him well, since they used to sell drugs together. He became thoughtful, and after the meal, he invited her to go with him on her own to a secret destination where he had something to show her.

They began to walk towards the shanty town area where he controlled the vice.

Suddenly he turned to her and asked, "Do you look down on drug addicts?"

She thought that might be a difficult question for anyone to answer without seeming condescending, apart from a Christian.

She said she didn't look down on them, because they're the people Jesus came into the world for.

He asked if she was willing to be friends with one, And they both knew which one he meant.

She said that actually, some people criticised her because she was more willing to be friends with a drug addict than with someone who thought his life was allright.

By that time, they'd come to an unlit path that led through the shanty shacks. They walked on in silence till Ah Kei stopped by the side of a tin hut. From the darkness outside, someone would never guess that the inside was brilliantly lit. Ah Kei pushed through the material blackout curtain and Jackie Pullinger found herself staring at dozens of surprised gamblers. The door watchers came up to them. This was one of Ah Kei's own gambling dens, but still they were obviously worried by the appearance of a strange Western woman at 3 in the morning.

Ah Kei held up his hand for silence, and everyone was quiet.

He said to the people in the hut, "Don't be afraid. She does not look down on us, she's a Christian and she's come to tell us about Jesus."

Then he invited her to preach to them all.

Feeling sick

After that, he took her to his opium den next door. It was a horrible sight. She says there were "little grey and yellow old men lying on a low platform covered with grime and slime. There were half empty cups of green tea and large spittoons filled with sordid saliva and sediment. The men lay like giant stick insects, more limbs than body, and half of them were insensible."

She says all those who were actually conscious listened carefully to what she said, and when she went out, she left a pile of Chinese Bibles with them.

She was amazed at having ended up speaking about Jesus in two vice dens, but then Ah Kei began to behave much like a determined evangelist; he insisted they visit more of his empire of drug, gambling and vice dens. Each time he introduced her as a Christian, and each time the people listened with respect.

In one of the dens the people brought her a man who was doubled up with pain. They flooded her with questions: "Are you a doctor, Are you a nurse, Do you have any money, Can you take him to hospital? He is in agony."

She said she wasn't a nurse or a doctor and she didn't have the money to take him to hospital, but she would pray for him. They sniggered at that, but they did find them a little room at the back where it would be quiet. Then they stood around curiously to see what would happen.


She said she'd pray for the man on one condition, that no one was to laugh, because she was talking to the "living God". There was total silence.

She laid her hands on him and prayed for him in Jesus' name. His stomach immediately relaxed and he got up looking surprised. He'd been completely healed. Everyone else looked a bit surprised as well. One of them asked, "Is this the living God, the one you've been telling us about?" They began to believe what she was saying about Jesus then, because they'd seen his power in action.

It was nearly morning when they finished the tour of the dens. Jackie gave Ah Kei a Bible before they parted. That was a strange thing to do really, since men like that usually hated to read. He had no intention of reading it then.

Jackie followed Ah Kei around for the next few months. He had a wife and family, but often didn't go home to them; he used to sleep wherever he ended up late at night, usually on a staircase. Sometimes he'd sleep for three days in a row, and at other times he wouldn't sleep at all for days. During the times when he was awake all the time, he'd go through a huge amount of money; he was being brought drugs all the time by his gang members.

She'd asked lots and lots of Christians all around Hong Kong to pray for him. She was sure it was bound to have an effect. Now she believes it did.


One day, Ah Kei met her and told her God had been talking to him. She thought he was joking at first so she was a bit cross with him, asking what he meant. But he said it was true; he said he'd been reading that Bible she'd given him, and in it, it says God would give special grace to people like him. She asked him what he meant.

He said it says if you've sinned the most you get forgiven the most. He sounded so privileged she almost felt jealous. But he was being absolutely serious and was ready to ask for the special grace. They were in a hut next door to the gambling den he'd originally taken her to.

Ah Kei sat down on the floor, and she sat down in the darkness as well, hoping she wasn't sitting on any of the cockroaches. They prayed together for the first time, and asked Jesus to take his life and make him a new person. He believed Jesus had died for him; but at that time he had very little sense of sin and was still quite proud of his past.

But Jackie was very pleased he'd become a Christian, and enthusiastically went with him across the harbour to where her Christian friends Rick and Jean Willans were living. She knew they'd be delighted to meet Ah Kei after praying for him for so long, and really pleased he'd become a Christian.


They had a party to celebrate. The Willans' Australian friend Sarah was there, and so was their daughter Suzy. They were all pleased about what had happened.

They usually prayed at parties, and since Ah Kei hadn't yet received the gift of the Spirit, they told him God gives this power to people who follow him. They all started praying in tongues, and when he heard them, Ah Kei "fell forward onto his knees with a terrible thump".

Afterwards, he said that when he heard the tongues, he was "knocked down by the awareness of his past life of robbery, drug pushing, and selling girls into prostitution". As he felt the terrible sense of his own sin, he felt he could no longer sit in front of God; he had to kneel; and he began to pray in tongues. Jackie says it was a "near-impossible sight of a Triad boss on his knees; in Chinese culture it is the most servile of positions and a gang leader lowered himself to no one".

Later in the evening they took a taxi to a beach where Rick baptised Ah Kei in the sea.

In the weeks before Ah Kei's conversion, when Jackie was getting to know him, she'd sometimes settled down to talk with him about the Bible at 3 AM or thereabouts in a little wooden shack. He said he didn't want to become a Christian in a hurry, because if he made a commitment without really weighing up the costs of being committed and being prepared for them, he might lose his commitment just as quickly. But that night, he began to change his life straightaway. He went back to his wife, who he hadn't seen in months. She looked as if she'd like to believe he'd changed, but she had such a deep distrust of him that she was worried that if she did, she'd just be disappointed.


Being a Christian did involve a great cost for Ah Kei. At first, it seemed as if it was going to be too big. He not only had to give up his huge illegal income and control over the gangsters and vice he'd controlled, with no alternative source of income to care for his family, but he also had to come off opium and heroin.

He couldn't come off drugs, and Jackie didn't know what to do about it. She'd found that some gangsters who went on to be converted to Christianity found they could come off drugs immediately. Others went to a certain pastor's centre for drug withdrawal where there was more after-care. Ah Kei applied to go there and to other ones, but they all said there were no places available, so he couldn't go.

Jackie didn't know what to do. She wondered what on earth to say to him for the best. Telling him to pray and God would help him get off drugs miraculously would sound unconvincing, since he hadn't got off them yet. She had seen people come off them instantly and didn't understand why it hadn't happened for Ah Kei. She wondered if she should tell him God might help him cut down gradually, but she felt sure God didn't deal in half-measures. She wondered if she should advise him to pray for God to somehow provide money for his heroin, but she felt sure God wouldn't support drug habits.

She couldn't take Ah Kei into the house she'd set up, because it was already full of boys who were supposed to have come off heroin or had come out of prison "officially" drug-free. Some of the boys behaved rather strangely sometimes, and she didn't want an open drug taker mixing with them. All she felt able to do was encourage him with a weak, "God will work it out", and hope he'd get a place in a drug withdrawal centre sometime.

As it was coming up to Christmas she was woken up at 4:30 AM one day by a telephone call. She thought people who called her always seemed to choose the middle of the night. She didn't want to sound as if she'd just woken up, so she would practice saying 'Good morning' in a bright-sounding voice as she went to the phone.

But the person on the other end that morning certainly wasn't in a mood to be bright and breezy. Ah Kei had rung to say goodbye.

He thanked her for all she'd done for him, but said it was no good, he couldn't be a Christian after all. His fellow gang members had doubted he'd be able to keep it up, and now he said they were right; he couldn't afford to be a Christian any more. He'd given up running the gangs, the girls, the drugs and the gambling. Now he had no money left. He thanked Jackie for all she'd done but said he wouldn't be seeing her again.

She protested and tried to encourage him to keep going with God's help, but she knew what she said sounded weak. She started desperately trying to reason with him, using every argument she could think of, but his voice became harder and harder and he began to speak cruelly and bitterly. He was far colder than he'd been before he'd become a Christian. She could hear him carrying on another argument with someone else at the same time, and then he said he was going out to find a young man called Ah Chuen to kill him.

She protested that he couldn't kill people now; he was a Christian. But she thought it sounded like a lame protest and he was in no mood to listen. He was high on heroin, and furiously told her he'd soon be forced to do a couple of robberies to get more money for drugs, before ringing off.

She stared at the phone in disbelief, not wanting to accept that someone who'd accepted Christ could now be planning to murder someone. She quickly phoned up her friends the Willans and asked them to pray about it.


She desperately prayed all through the Christmas celebrations. She cried all through the Christmas carols. "Joy to the world?" It certainly didn't seem like it. Because she was upset about Ah Kei, she was also a bit angry with God. She said,

"Lord, I really believed you were the answer. How can it be that he knew you and then didn't want you? You didn't do everything you were supposed to either, Lord, did you? I mean, Ah Kei believed in you and others did too and look at them now. There are a load of addicts and spiritual cripples lying around the streets being a reproach to Christ. People look at them and mock, "What a god - he started a miracle but it didn't last; it was something that came and went. ..."

Several days later, Ah Kei turned up on the doorstep. He said he didn't know why he'd come, but was passing so he thought he'd say goodbye. She told him to hang on and asked him about the robberies. He looked a bit sheepish and said he hadn't done them in the end. The first time, his wife had got pillow cases all ready for them to put over their heads so they couldn't be recognised, with slits in so they could see out of them, but the first time they got together for the robbery, they discovered that one of their own gang had let slip what they were planning to do, so they couldn't go ahead with it. The next time they got together, they were all ready with knives, sitting in the car about to drive off, but he just didn't feel like doing the robbery that day, so they didn't go.

He said he hadn't done the murder either, because he hadn't been able to find the man he wanted to murder when he went out to look.

Jackie decided it was about time they did something positive about Ah Kei's future.

She said, "Right, we're now going to see the Willans. You've got to talk to them. It's time someone was firm with you."

While they were on the way, Ah Kei bought the Willans a gift of oranges wrapped in pink paper. They had dinner with the Willans, and Jean was very hospitable, though Jackie could tell she was becoming a bit annoyed at a situation where a true believer wasn't coming off drugs.

She asked Ah Kei whether he had any problems, Jackie translating for her.

He said he didn't, apart from being on heroin.

Jean told him that if he was really serious about Jesus, Jesus would give him anything he needed, and she was sure about that because when she and her husband had been in Indonesia and had no money, they prayed and some turned up.

Then she asked if he'd like to stay at her house and withdraw from Heroin. Jackie was amazed. She'd longed and hoped for Jean to make such an offer, but she'd never dared suggest it, since she knew how precious the peace of her home was to Jean. Jean had never expected to make the offer either, but it seemed concern for Ah Kei's future and the Spirit of God had worked in her to prompt her to make an offer that actually surprised her.

Ah Kei accepted the offer. Then he took out some packets of heroin from his jacket and flushed them down the lavatory.

Then he made some dramatic gestures of faith. He went back to his resettlement home and tore down the idols his mother kept and threw them out of the room. There was a box under his bed containing several weeks' supply of heroin, and he threw it all down the lavatory as they watched. Then they took him back to the Willans' flat, and he climbed into bed.

Jean called a Christian doctor and asked what kind of withdrawal symptoms they could expect from someone who'd been taking heroin for ten years whose habit cost him $100 a day. He said without medication, "Ah Kei would suffer agonies, accompanied by chills, fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, and intense stomach cramps. He might roll on the floor with pain and become violent to the point of attacking his helpers." The doctor didn't advise them to try it, but said that if they really wanted to, he'd come round and give him a substitute drug, methadone.

Jean declined his offer, saying they'd try Jesus instead. So began the experiment.

For most of the next three days, Ah Kei slept peacefully. Jackie was up near his bedside all the time worrying that the nasty withdrawal effects were going to appear. At the end of the three days, she looked exhausted, but he looked wonderful. If at any time he did wake up and feel any twinge of pain, they quickly advised him to pray in tongues, and when he did, the pain miraculously disappeared. So they became convinced that "praying in the Spirit" is the answer for painless withdrawal from heroin.

Ah Kei was able to eat well too and asked for cheese sandwiches which he ate with a healthy appetite.

On the fourth day, Ah Kei's wife came round and tried to persuade him to go home since he was cured. Jackie and the Willans firmly opposed the idea; he still needed care and a drug-free environment. So they weren't sorry when suddenly some severe withdrawal effects came on, feelings of terrible cold followed by sensations of intense heat. He'd once tried unsuccessfully to withdraw from heroin in China, so he knew how terrible the pains could be.

They all went back to "praying in the Spirit" to get him some relief, and as they worshiped God, the horrible withdrawal symptoms disappeared.

On the fifth day, Ah Kei knew he was free from heroin addiction, but he still badly wanted to smoke; he didn't want to give up cigarettes. Rick told him that if he didn't free himself from tobacco addiction, he wasn't really free. Ah Kei was very unhappy about that, and on the seventh day, he persuaded the Willans' Buddhist maid to give him a couple of filter-tips. Almost immediately he felt the pains he should have felt during his heroin withdrawal. All of them started praying earnestly again, and as soon as Ah Kei was willing to agree to Rick's demand, his pains disappeared.

For the next few months after that, Jackie was commuting between her house and the Willans', because the "miracle" of Ah Kei's healing was being repeated with several of his drug addict friends.

One day, Jean took Ah Kei to get his hair cut, and they met one of Ah Kei's old friends, Wahchai, whom he'd introduced into the crime rackets years earlier. He persuaded him to come back to the Willans' flat, and they decided there and then to have a worship meeting.

During the meeting, Jackie gave a message in tongues. They waited and waited for someone to give an interpretation of what it said, since the apostle Paul said there will have to be one, but no one spoke. At last, Wahchai admitted he had one but had been afraid to speak. He couldn't believe that God would use him because he was still on drugs, even though he'd recently been converted and had been given the gift of the Spirit.

While he told them the interpretation of the message, he began to weep uncontrollably. After that it was only a matter of sitting with him while he had a painless withdrawal from heroin; just as with Ah Kei, whenever he had pains, he began to "pray in the Spirit" and felt better.

Listen to Jackie Pullinger sermons and talks about her life.

Read reviews of the book Chasing the Dragon on Amazon.

The true story of how one woman's faith resulted in the conversion of hundreds of drug addicts, prostitutes and hardened criminals in Hong Kong's infamous Walled City.

Caution Against Believing All Speaking in Tongues is Supernatural

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