Our country is experiencing a drug epidemic. 100 people die a day from drug overdoses. Heroin is taking out entire cities. People are becoming hopelessly addicted to painkillers. Meth labs are everywhere.
But all’s not lost. There is hope. There is healing. Today we are sharing with you a story of one of our friends, a graduate and now pastor at Spring to Life, Josh.
Josh’s story is one of consequences and pain, but also hope and inspiration. This may mirror your life. This may mirror the life of your loved one. We want you to know that addiction can be treated and a fulfilling life can be had. Josh is proof. Read on.
What is your background? When did you start using?
A few things played into my addiction. First, I was born into a drug culture. My dad cooked meth – and later on, he was the one who showed me how to do it. Also, growing up I was picked on in school, and my parents were divorced by the time I was 8. Those two factors really made me strive towards the pursuit of love. I wanted to fit in and I wanted to be like my dad. I would say the combination of those things kick started my addiction.
What happened after that?
I was what you might call a “Good Ole Boy.” I went to church, and worked out houses. I got a girl pregnant and married her. That’s around the time I started taking pain pills. It became progressively worse each day.
How did your addiction progress?
About a year before my divorce, I started doing meth. For a while, no one knew. I was a closet addict. But I was losing weight and staying out all night.
One day, I stole jewelry from my mom for drug money. She called the police on me and I was arrested. Looking back, I’m so thankful that she did that.
How did you get into Spring to Life?
I’ve actually been to Spring to Life twice. The first time, was in 2010 – when I was only 18. I was young and hadn’t really hit the bottom. I didn’t have the “want to” yet.
The second time was in 2014, and I had a kid,a kid on the way and a wife. Life had gotten a lot more real. I had been living without any amenities like running water or anything. I had to get water out of the ditch to cook with.
My first night in jail, it really hit me. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to be a loser anymore.”
It came down to it and I was either going to get 30 days in jail or 28 days in rehab. Of course, I’d rather take the 28 days in rehab – so I got a ride out to the program at Spring to Life. I had planned to stay for the 28 days, but God had different plans. I stayed in the program for 6 months – and I’ve now been employed here for over a year.
What was it like when you went back to Spring to Life the second time?
It was just like I had never been there. I didn’t have a sense of pride or an ego to let go of – but it was like, the past didn’t matter anymore. I was really able to focus on the future.
What was the biggest thing you learned about yourself at Spring to Life?
The most important thing that I learned was that I’m loved by Someone. You can’t explain God. You can’t turn off His love. It’s going to be there. He loves you.
What would you tell someone who is frustrated by relapse?
Relapse is not the end of the world. You life is not supposed to be for addiction – your life was built for something else. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, you were made for more.
If you’ve relapsed, come back to the place that helps you. Go to the place where you might find love and acceptance.
If you’ve heard the Biblical story of the Prodigal son: A father has two sons, and the younger son asks for all of his inheritance before the father dies. The prodigal son goes out and parties and spends all of his fortune. He ends up living with hogs and eating the same food given to the hogs – unclean animals in Jewish culture. He finally goes back to his father to ask to be one of his servants. His father, though, is so happy to have him back he rips his clothes in joy and holds a feast to celebrate his return; His son was lost, but was found.
At Spring to Life, they welcomed me back with open arms – as another chance to help me. You don’t have to be afraid to go back.
What would you tell someone about Spring to Life?
Spring to Life will ruin drugs for you – you’re not going to enjoy them again.
At Spring to Life, you invest in a brotherhood. You have so much more to gain than just your sobriety – there’s freedom. You could gain eternity.
What would you tell someone who can identify with your story?
Some people have mental health issues. And to that person, I would say that I have PTSD and have been diagnosed with dissociative disorder. Now, I have a normal life. I’m not on any medication. Just because you have a mental health issue doesn’t mean you can’t get sober or can’t live a normal life.
How has your family healed?
My dad was on drugs. I don’t remember a lot from my childhood except for drugs and guns going off. I think that’s where some of the PTSD comes from. But after 22-23 years of using, my dad has stopped using drugs. He’s outlived it. He’s outlived cancer. He’s sober.
I also have the ability now to see my kids. I’ve gained more and more custody rights.
All of my family talks to me again. They are weary, and they don’t all completely trust me yet. After all, I stole from them. But it’s only been two years and we’re still working on it. But overall, they’re all very happy for me. I once was the black sheep of my family, but now, as a pastor – they actually come to me with their Biblical questions.
What keeps you going each day?
Everything. This is my purpose. If you use your purpose or your calling, you’ll find abundance. It’s freedom, it’s life. Like Paul said: “I choose life.”
Don’t be embarrassed to come to God with your addiction. Pray a lot. He’s going to be there for you.