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Searching for Happiness Nearly Destroyed Him

“Worst thing a alcoholic and addict can have is plenty of time, plenty of money. I mean, when you're riding around on a brand-new Harley picking up $70,000 checks, it's real hard to admit you have a problem,” reflects Jay.

He struggled with alcoholism and addiction for over 30 years. Jay says the cycles of addiction and rebellion started early in his life. He was raised in a Christian home but saw other kids having more fun and felt like he was missing out.

Jay remembers, “You know, I say I fell in with the wrong crowd, I didn't. I searched them out. I found them. And immediately started, you know, smoking marijuana, I had met a girl we started dating and started cutting school. So our parents basically forbid us to see each other. So our solution was to … just run away and . . . do what I wanted to do.”

Away from home his substance abuse escalated and so did his criminal activity.

“We started, you know, uh stealing, breaking in houses to-to support our drug habit and have money,” says Jay.

His actions landed him in juvenile detention for 9 months. Jay soon realized this wasn’t the life he wanted.

“I was not cut out for prison. I did not want somebody turning off my lights. And, you know, that-that that was not what it looked like on TV. This ain't cool. This ain't fun. And I was determined to do whatever I had to do, which meant not break the law.”

For the next 30 years he worked hard and had a prosperous career as a contractor, but Jay still struggled to find satisfaction.

Thinking back Jay states, “As I was pursuing this stuff, - it didn't make me happy. So I would say, 'Ah, I need a bigger house. I need a little more land. I need a prettier wife. I need some more money,' you know, 'That's not my problem. This is my answer.' But when I would get that, you know, I would be happy for a day, a week, or whatever, and then it was like, you know, what next? What next?”

Despite his success Jay continued to feel empty.

“I did what I needed to during the day, and, you know, by three or four o'clock, man, I just wanted to escape. So I started abusing prescription drugs with alcohol to get me to just oblivion, you know,” Jay continues. “I just didn't want to - I didn't want to feel, I didn't want to think. I mean, I ain't gonna say I wanted to die, but I didn't care if I lived.”

He eventually became verbally abusive towards his wife. As the relationship unraveled, for the first time since he was a child, Jay cried out to God for help.

Jay said, "God, get my attention. Help me. Help me figure out what's wrong with me, and then help me do something about it."

Soon after that prayer, Jay’s wife had enough and left him.  He was devastated and tried to drink the pain away. Jay says that’s when God finally got his attention.

“I drank for a few days, got really drunk and then just a voice in my head, which I know is God, just simply laid it upon my heart is, 'Do you think drinking could be your problem? Do you think maybe you're drinking too much?' And so I decided, okay, this is what I'll do. I'll cut down. I'll just - I'll just drink beer. I'll just drink a couple beers. I only did that for like of night. There again, a voice, I know it was God, clear as day said, 'You're not going to be able to do it like that, Jay, you're not. You're - you will fail. You will go right back to it. If you want to quit, you gotta do it.' So, uh, I woke up that morning. I got rid of all the alcohol in the frigerator, dumped all the liquor down the sink.”

Even though the alcohol was gone, the pain wasn’t.

“I was just in mental distress. I mean, I felt like it was surreal, you know, not drinking and not knowing, and the fear. And I just, I needed some consoling, and something said, 'Hey man, turn on, you know, turn on CBN. The lady was-was praying and asked if you, you know, if you wanted to give your life back to God.' And I knew that was my only choice. I said a prayer, you know, right there on my - on my living room floor, and I asked God to uh, come in my life. And uh, and He did. And I ain't, you know, I ain't gonna say it was immediate peace and comfort, but I felt like I had a chance.”

After that day, Jay never returned to his old lifestyle. He began attending a recovery program, where he grew in his faith and understanding of God.

“He let me find out what was wrong with me as I was a godless alcoholic. And He gave me the solution. He helped - He showed me, He led me to the church. And through that, I got a fellowship of Christian people that are trying to live a different way, that support me, that I can go to, that have helped me heal.”

Now Jay can see clearly how God is working in his life.

“He's the only good in me. If I'm kind, loving, thoughtful, then I'm expressing God. If I'm mean, hateful, blaming, judging, arguing, retaliating, then that's the selfishness. That's - I'm not portraying God in me.”

Today, he serves in his church and leads a support group at a local prison.

“The lifestyle I lived, I could be - I should be dead. And a lot of people that lived it are. I'm so thankful God spoke to my heart and rescued me from the prison of self and alcoholism that I was in, you know. I'm-I'm thankful that He showed me a different way to live.“

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