I grew up in a good home with two loving parents who provided all that I needed. They taught me right from wrong, but I chose a road of slow destruction. After high school I got a job in Quincy, Illinois, and with this job came various forms of “fun” – money, alcohol, and drugs.
By the time I was 21, I was a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. The true deception was in the fact that since I was functioning normally, I thought I was still in control. Drowned in alcohol, my twenties were a blur of stupidity and decadence. My cocaine use led me into a meth addiction, which would soon lead to complete destruction. At 33 I lost my job and my truck, or more accurately stated, I gave them away thinking that meth and vodka were more important than work and responsibility.
Over the next four years I was in secular rehabilitation centers twice, in the emergency room more times than I can count, and twice in intensive care, but not once did I think about going to church. Early in December 2008, after another trip to the ER, I reached out to my brother, whom I had spoken to only twice in six years. I didn’t know it at the time but this call would change my life forever; he was living and working at a place called Heartland.
December 15, 2008, is a day I will never forget. It was the day I finally made the right decision – I came to Heartland. After 19 years of walking in circles, I had finally come to the end of myself. The thing that I remember most about that first day was fear mixed with a weird feeling of relief. It didn’t take long to realize what was missing in my life, a relationship with the Lord. Over the next three months I listened, I learned, and I prayed. Then, on March 12, 2009, I gave my life to the Lord. I finally realized there is joy and peace available; all you have to do is open your heart and invite God in. He is in the forgiveness business!
When I came to Heartland, my plan was to get sober and go home, but fortunately God has a greater plan. God brought a wonderful Christian woman into my life, giving me a new home. Today, I serve as the Director of the same program that helped me find my way to Jesus. I am a product of this program myself. I’ve been where a lot of these men are. While I never dreamed of serving in this position, I consider it an awesome privilege. Every day I have the opportunity to tell other men about this program and the decision that changed my life – the decision to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior!
The 18-month Heartland Men’s program is firmly rooted in Christian principles and built around the local church, cultivating change through the power of the Gospel. It is our goal to equip men with the life changing truths found in the Bible and then give them a structured environment to walk out and apply those same truths. Daily life includes attending church, Bible studies, prayer and chapel services, memorizing Scripture, serving in the community, learning what it means to have a good work ethic, and developing healthy relationships. John and his team are working together to lead by example, showing others that God really does redeem and restore when we put our trust in Him.