Most five-year old boys are out riding their bikes or playing with hot wheels, but not Jeff. Jeff was smoking. That’s where his story starts. After his dad left when he was only five years old, his mother was forced to work multiple low-paying jobs, leaving his older siblings responsible for his care. After seeing the older kids smoking mom’s cigarette butts, he decided to give it a try himself. At the age of seven, his mom left some marijuana in the ashtray, and not realizing it, he smoked part of a joint instead, and that began his addiction to marijuana.
Because he was from a single-parent household, where his mother struggled to support her four children, food was scarce, money was tight, and clothing left much to be desired. He was constantly teased in school, made fun of, and bullied because his clothes weren’t name brand, and often weren’t in the best of shape either. So how, he wondered, would he be able to get out from underneath the hurtful comments and shame of his status-quo?
That bullying set in motion a mindset that would change his life forever. If his mom couldn’t afford to buy the clothes he needed to fit in, he would just take them. He stole only what he needed to survive, new clothes, things he could sell to have money for food or bills, and eventually he started breaking into people’s houses. The high of the theft and marijuana no longer seemed to satisfy him, though, so at 17 he was introduced to meth, and that’s where things really got rough for Jeff.
Functioning addict is what he considered himself in the beginning. His mother had instilled a good work ethic in him, so he was a dedicated employee and very hard-working, eventually landing a great-paying job. But the more he earned, the more he spent on his addiction, until one day, the scale tipped, and the addiction overcame his strong work ethic. He was fired after an accident on the job site, and his spiral started spinning him out of control.
Then one day, after reflecting on the passing of his mother and father, and his brother’s recent suicide, he realized that his addiction was taking over, and he had to put an end to it. Out of sheer will power, the love for his three kids, and the support of his remaining family, he overcame and held 10 months of sobriety. However, even the strongest will can be tested, and he relapsed, turning back to the meth that drug him down to begin with.
On that fateful day, someone that had been with him hit him over the head with a metal pipe in an attempt to rob him but thought instead that he was dead. When Jeff came to, he was surrounded by thick foliage and woods, and it was then that he realized that someone near him was digging a large hole… in fact, a grave-sized hole. He gathered his strength, and said a prayer to God, whom he’d become very close to during his sobriety, and begged, “Lord, if I can make it out of this, I’ll never touch meth again.” And with all the energy he could muster, he jumped up and took off, barely escaping death, and made it to the roadside. A kind woman, no doubt an angel-in-disguise, stopped and offered him a ride to the Gospel Rescue Mission where, she assured him, he would find the help he needed.
So what are Jeff’s plans? He wants to own a preventative maintenance company in the restaurant industry. He has the skills, the know-how, the work ethic, and the faith in God that he was meant for more. After completing our program, there’s no doubt, Jeff is bound for great things!