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RESCUED FROM KILLING MY PAIN — and myself
Justin lay dying in the ICU. For six days his failing kidneys clung to life. “There were demons all around me,” he says. “I was on my way to the fiery pits of hell.” At just 32 years old, Justin’s addiction had destroyed his body. And he knew he had to change.
Justin’s life began in a turbulent home. He was 7 years old when a loud fight between his parents ended in divorce. By the time he was seventeen, he’d moved nineteen times. During his senior year of high school, he lived in his car until his grandparents took him in until he graduated and started working.
It started with a prescription. When he was twenty-one, Justin injured his back playing basketball and was introduced to Oxycontin, a commonly prescribed, yet highly addictive painkiller. His young body was quickly hooked. The tragic and shocking suicide of his best friend left Justin with a new pain that overwhelmed him.
How does a young man move on in life when his friend dies in his arms? It was too much . . . but the drugs helped him forget. And soon alcohol did, too. After another tragic death in his family, Justin fell into heavy drug use and could not get out. The drugs and drinking nearly killed him. On that hospital bed, looking into the mouth of hell, he knew he was headed for destruction.
Justin’s struggle with addiction didn’t end there.
He was given methadone, a replacement drug, to pacify his addicted body, but it wasn’t enough. When he forged signatures to get medication, his doctor cut him off. But then Justin learned he could get heroin for a fraction of the cost of prescription drugs. The first time he tried it, he overdosed and nearly died. In spite of the danger and his poor health, Justin kept using. But he was desperate now to get out. All through Justin’s troubled young life, his grandmother had loved him, prayed for him and never let go of hope. At the end of his rope, desperate to escape the nightmarish clutches of heroin, he reached out to his faithful grandmother for help.
“I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Justin says. “I knew I needed something. I’d been so self-righteous and selfish for so long.”
“In desperation, I started reading my grandma’s Bible,” he says. “And I broke down in tears and gave my life to Christ. ‘If you give me purpose,’ I said, ‘I will serve you. I’ve been doing my own thing for so long and I’ve always failed.’”
While Justin struggled to detox, Justin’s grandma heard about the program at the Orange County Rescue Mission. Two weeks after leaving the hospital, he walked through the gates of the Rescue Mission. Now, a year later, Justin is truly a new man. He is free from drugs, his health has been restored, and his heart overflows with love for God.
“God has given me so much,” says Justin. “The joy I have has to be shared. I want people who are addicted to prescription drugs to know that there is a hope and that they can get free from addiction. “And I want to say thank you to donors — it’s immeasurable, the amount of generosity that comes from them. God works through this place and the people here to transform lives.”