Jon rebuilds himself with God in order to tackle his addition
A couple years ago, Jon had an accident that easily could have resulted in his death. He calls the incident his “rock bottom” and is now accepting it as the wakeup call he needed.
“I got to the point where, when I put drugs in my body, I’d be up for days and then I’d start to hallucinate,” he said. “You don’t know what’s real and what’s not. I was hearing things, seeing things, and I drove up to mountains. I pulled over to the side of the road where this cliff was. In my delusion, I ended up falling off this cliff trying to get away from these voices.”
Jon fell 150 feet, broke a bone in his back and tore multiple ligaments in his shoulders. “I laid in this ravine for four hours before a hiker found me,” he said. “It was bad. I had staples all over my body, my head. It was miraculous. I should’ve been dead.”
Jon’s story doesn’t immediately get better at this point, however. “I was high, delusional, almost killed myself, destroyed my body,” he said. “I couldn’t work for like two years. It was a very hard time in my life. Looking down this difficult path, I thought, ‘This is rock bottom. I’ll never use drugs again. Surely I’ll stay sober.’ Two months later I got high again.”
Jon was a quiet child—he had a speech issue the first five or six years of school. “I got made fun of a lot for it, so I didn’t like to talk a lot,” he said. “I was already a shy little kid. I developed this need to fit in and feel accepted.”
Jon started drinking with a friend when he was 12. “I liked it right away. I felt an ease and comfort I had never felt before. It allowed me to connect with my friends and be comfortable in my own skin for the first time I can remember.”
At 14, Jon started using crack cocaine. “As soon as I took one hit, I immediately became addicted to that,” he said. “I would obsess about it all the time. When I smoked crack, I wouldn’t worry about anything or anyone. It made me content with myself.”
During his teenage years, Jon tried “everything under the sun,” including acid, opiates and cocaine. He also gained a significant amount of weight and struggled with cystic acne. “I was already a very unconfident individual. It made me feel more unaccepted, more unwanted and different.”
After high school, Jon took some community college classes, worked, and tried to quit using off and on. “I tried to hold it together, but every month or so I’d have a crack binge,” he said. “I was just sad. I had an obsession beyond my mental control. I knew something was different about the way I used drug and alcohol compared to my friends. I didn’t understand I was an addict.”
Jon was in and out of rehabs, and couldn’t stay sober. But in 2014, after being introduced to Christ, he saw some success. “I had 22 months of sobriety,” he said. “I came to believe in Christ, and it’s the only time I’ve ever been sober for a long period of time. I had some stability in my life. I have two children and I was in their lives at the time, and I was with their mom. Because I believed in God, I surrendered control of my life. And that allowed me to not obsess about drugs and alcohol. It gave me freedom for the first time.”
Jon said after a while, he started drifting from the church. “A storm came along, and I relapsed. It was horrible. I fell away from my faith and I came up with my own ideas and it led me down a dark path. It got me to the point that I was spiritually, physically, financially and emotionally bankrupt in every sense of humanity. I was just a selfish, self-centered person.”
Jon entered the Renewed Hope program and immediately saw differences. “This is my first experience at a program that’s not insurance based,” he said. “I’m used to there being an agenda. You meet with people and they’re basically making up a story for you to tell the insurance company so they can keep you.
“Here, it’s different. It’s very genuine. They aren’t telling me how I’m doing—I’m telling them how I’m doing. I don’t have to feel that I should be at this point or that point or I’ll lose my bed here. It allows me to be honest, and that might be the most necessary element to sobriety—and God.”
Jon worked at The Gas Co. and the Post Office for many years, but lost both jobs due to his addiction. “I was at this place where I didn’t know what I was going to do,” he said. After talking with staff at Renewed Hope, and sharing his love for the gym, which had been sidelined because of his injuries, Jon slowly started testing the waters.
“The doctor said I’d never bench press again. I didn’t accept that. I feel like, in my life, I haven’t had too many things that have made me feel alive, to have that drive.”
The process of building himself back up has inspired him to look into physical therapy for work. “I think I can help people to have faith,” he said. “Your life moving forward, physically, might look a little different. But you’ll navigate it with God.”