A Cocaine Addict In My Family And
How It Can Destroy
A Story with a happy ending! (You might read this and conclude it is an unhappy ending. But God is on the throne. He is not finished with me yet)
Wow, a little baby born into our home on October 23,
1965. Just a little over two years before on June 28, 1963, when Jim and Dee
tied the knot in Jacksonville, Florida, we never envisioned the ride that God
had in store for us with our firstborn.
Wow, were we excited, as a young
Air Force couple stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base, in Montgomery, Alabama,
and our first baby was about to be born. Early on the morning of October 23,
1965, I got up early to go hunting. As I was ready to slip out the door, my wife
told me it was time to go to the hospital.
Hurrying her into the old car
we owned, we rushed to the Air Force Hospital. As she rode up the elevator to
the Obstetrical Ward, she almost had the baby in the elevator. She was rushed to
the delivery room, and out popped our firstborn, Jim Jr.
Wow, was I ever
excited, as a new first time Dad at age 26, I was shocked as the doctor came in
the room and told me there were complications with the birth. It seems that Jim
Jr. was having trouble breathing, and they had to put him in an incubator, even
though he weighed in at 8 pounds.
Our anxiety was high, as the doctor
told us he had a hole in his diaphragm, called a Bockdalek hernia. As x-rays
were taken, it was discovered that his intestines and spleen had grown through
the hole in the diaphragm, and pushed the heart over against the lung, and
collapsed it, and he was breathing out of half of a lung.
He was rushed
to surgery at 6 hours old, and the repair of the hole was made. He came out of
the operation, with tubes all over him, and we viewed him in an incubator
isolette, and our hearts were very heavy as the doctors' did not give him much
of a chance to live. When he was about 24 hours old, he choked on some mucous in
his throat and expired. They were able to revive him, but had to do a
tracheotomy, which is a small hole cut in his windpipe to allow him to breathe.
This surgery was even more traumatic than the stomach surgery, due to his age of
one day old, and the smallness of the trachea.
We watched and prayed as
the doctors gave us little hope that he would survive. Our friends and relatives
upheld him in prayer, as he struggled to live.
He made it through the
first ten days, and was starting to improve, when he was set back with a
duodenal ulcer, which was caused by all the stress of the two previous
Then they had to take him back to surgery, and open up his
belly again, and fix the duodenal ulcer. Our hearts were broken, as we watched
them put drainage tubes, feeding tubes, and several other IV's and tubes as well
as the trachea tube in his throat.
Wow, I didn't sign up for this course
in faith. But God sustained us, and since I worked at the hospital, I was able
to spend a lot of time with him, holding him through the isolette incubator, and
eventually we were able to hold him in our arms like normal babies. I will never
forget that day 34 years ago, as I held that small child, with tubes coming out
everywhere. I wondered what God had in store for this firstborn son, and asked
the usual "why" questions to God Almighty.
I was reminded of the story
of Job, where in the midst of all his trials and losses, he stated, "Though
He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
Well we struggled with the
"Trachea tube" and the doctors told us he never learned to breathe on his own,
so we might have to have that in for the first two years of his life. After
consulting with the doctors, they told me that as I held him I could place my
finger over the breathing tube, and force him to breathe out of his mouth and
nose. I sat there for many hours and watched him as I placed my finger over his
breathing tube, and saw him gasp for breath. My heart broke, as he struggled for
air, and I would release my finger off the breathing hole in his trachea, and he
would relax. Time and again, I forced him to learn to breathe and about 7 weeks
into his life, we were able to remove the tracheotomy, and he could breathe on
Wow, December 23rd, 1965, two days before Christmas, we were
able to bring him home. Two months to the day since he was born. We wrapped him
up, tied a big red bow around him, and put him under the Christmas tree. Took a
picture, and if I can find it in my old files, I will put it on this web page.
Well, fast forward a couple of years. The doctors told us we could treat
him like a normal boy, except that his stomach muscles had not developed around
his normal stomach cavity, and he would need surgery when he was about three
years old to repair that. God did a miracle there, because by that time, we had
been transferred to Wiesbaden Germany with the U.S. Air Force, and God also had
transferred there Dr. Hagood, who had done the earlier surgery on Jimmy Jr. Wow,
God really does work in many ways.
Well life goes on, and as we fast
forward to Jim Jr, as a budding teenager, we had the usual joys and sorrows as
most parents had in raising their children. Another son was born in 1969 and a
daughter was born in 1972. So throw a busy father and mother into raising three
kids, who were about three years apart, and knowing that we struggled like any
parent in making the right decisions for our children.
One of the things
I remember telling all my kids, is that you become like the people you associate
with. My younger son, heeded my advice, and chose good friends. Jimmy Jr, did
not heed my advice and chose to hang around with boys who were always getting
into trouble. Of course we had our confrontations over this for several years.
I read him the passage in Proverbs Chapter One, in the Living Bible
Paraphrase many times. I suggest you look up a copy of that and read it. I even
memorized it as a parent because I knew how true it was.
I also read my
kids a verse in Romans 6:16 out of the Living Bible. It reads, "Don't you
realize you can choose your own master. You can choose sin with death, or else
obedience with acquittal. The one to whom you offer yourself, he will take you,
and make you his master, and you will be his slave."
With all my
persuasive ideas, and encouragement, I could not change Jimmy's mind. I referred
him over and over again to the truth of God's word in Proverbs Chapter
In part it reads, "When a storm of terror surrounds you, and when
you are engulfed by anguish and distress, then I will not answer your cry for
help." And again it says, "Don't do it son, stay far from men like
Now at age 34 in October 1999, Jimmy is in jail. He and his
friends started smoking cigarettes as a young teen. Then on to Marijuana, then
involved with Ouija boards, and seances, and demon worship, then into hard drugs
such as Cocaine, and Crack Cocaine. Most experts agree that folks heavily
involved with drugs are also involved with Demon possession or oppression. As a
parent we watched our kids closely, but did not find out about these things till
many years later. One thing about drug addicts, is that they become very good
liars and manipulators.
And the turmoil on the family is unreal. Usually
in most families the Dad is the strong "mean" one, who lays down the law, and
does the "tough love" thing. That was me. In many other families the roles are
reversed. In our case, Mom, was Mom, and as most mothers are in the world,
wanted to give him a second chance. And a third, and a fourth, and on and on it
goes. Now over 20 years after his foray into the drug world, he sits in jail,
caught by his "mean old Dad" who chased him down a few weeks ago, and called the
police, and had him arrested.
Let me tell you about this exciting story
of how he came into police custody. Some days before the day of his capture, God
had impressed upon my heart, the need to kneel before Him, and pray for Jimmy
and for his protection and that he would soon be stopped from his drug rampage.
He had been using crack cocaine at an alarming rate for over sixty days, and had
been hiding from his family. I found him about a week before, and told him I had
a bed for him in a drug treatment program, and all he had to do was go down and
enroll. His parole officer had agreed to let him do it. His only offense so far
was not reporting to his parole officer, when he was notified to do so. Well he
made an excuse that he needed to go to the hospital and told me he would call
the drug program in the morning.
Well he disappeared again, and I
continued to pray for him and ask God to allow him to be caught. I had asked
local police to assist me in finding him, but that was not working. Well early
in September of this year, one of the men who worked for me in the drywall
business called me and told me he had seen him at a Burger King in Newport News,
Va, near the "drug hotels" that he frequents in buying cocaine. I called my
wife, and told her I was going to search for him, and was not quitting until I
found him and stopped his rampage.
Well after 2 hours of looking for his
truck, I found it, and called the local police, since a warrant was out by now
for parole violation. They sent about four officers to assist in locating him.
His truck was parked near 3 local hotels, and accompanied by the four policemen,
we went to all of them, with his picture. No luck.
We went back to the
truck, and one of the policemen knew that a construction crew lived in the small
apartment home right in front of the truck. They showed his picture and they
said he had been parking there for a week, and was staying at a house down the
The police surrounded the house, with me in the front yard. With
drawn pistols and shotguns they knocked on the door. A young woman answered the
door, and they asked her to come outside. She admitted Jimmy was in the house,
and hollered for him to come out. He barricaded himself in the kitchen and would
not budge. I screamed from the yard for him to give himself up, and we would
help him. He had so much cocaine in him, and so much fear, that he armed himself
with a knife and threatened to harm himself if they approached.
whole scene went on for over two hours. Two more officers arrived with dogs and
shotguns. They explained that the shotguns were loaded with beanbags which were
used to stun people and not injure them. Never the less, my anxiety level was
high as 16 police, two dogs, mace, shot guns and drawn pistols surrounded the
home where he had barricaded himself.
During all of this turmoil, I knelt
in the front yard several times and prayed for the God of the Universe to
protect my son from harm. After one such prayer, I looked across the street and
saw this tall commanding figure approaching with gleaming gold bars. It was a
Lieutenant in the Newport News police force, who had been a good friend for
years, and he had heard the police call, and recognized that it was my son, and
came to become the negotiator, as he talked him down and urged him to come out
of the house. I remember thinking as I saw this tall gleaming warrior approach,
that God had sent him to help. It was almost as if Jesus himself was intervening
in my life, coming to the rescue.
Well several police entered the home
with drawn pistols and loaded shotguns, and as they approached Jimmy, they were
afraid he would hurt himself with the knife, so they shot him in the leg with
the bean bag shotgun, and sprayed mace all over him. A few minutes later they
dragged him from the house, and placed him on the ground. It was a sight I will
never forget. Handcuffed and wincing from the Mace all over his face and head,
and still in a drug-crazed state, they placed him on the stretcher and put him
in the ambulance to carry to the hospital. I hugged him on the stretcher, and
told him I loved him. My heart was broken, yet relieved that he was alive and
not injured and since he had not threatened anyone, no additional charges were
placed upon him.
The police Lieutenant walked over to me and said he was
certain their were demons in the house, and it only proved to me again, that
demons and drugs go hand in hand in most cases like this.
When we open up
our lives to the enemy, he comes in like a flood and ruins our lives. Well, all
of this time, my wife had been at a meeting at church, and I kept her filled in
on the cell phone. Many were praying during that time, and God does indeed
Now after several days in the hospital, he was
transported to the local jail to await court proceedings. The drug program is
still available if the court will allow him to attend that. The sad thing about
drugs in America is that our prison systems for the most part have no treatment
programs, and most who go to jail for drugs, end up back in jail within a short
The solution is not incarceration in many cases, but an infusion
of the Spirit of God into a person's life, so that a life changing experience
will take place. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ can save a man from
drugs. As far as jail, you can almost be assured that once they are out, they
will return to the drug scene.
Several years ago, we had a similar
scenario and I had to have him arrested. After some months, Jimmy said to me,
"Thanks Dad, I was so out of control on drugs, that if you had not stopped me
I would have ended up dead."
I am sure that is how he feels today.
With drug addiction, the pattern in families is repeated over and over again.
One thing my wife and I have learned, is that the Bible is very clear on one
thing. "How can two walk together except they be agreed."
archenemy, Satan, uses this wedge between parents to break up the family. I have
dealt with many folks in my life with similar problems. So I believe the
solution for folks with kids in trouble, is to get down on your knees together
before the throne of God, and plead your case, and ask God to knit your hearts
together. In this I have failed. When I write a page like this,
baring my soul, I preach to myself. As the Bible says, "Physician, heal
I do not write this as one who has arrived, but I am
on a journey with the Master, and learning as I go. The Christian life was never
promised to be a life that is "lived happily ever after." Struggles and
pain make us grow closer to God, as we realize how insufficient we are in
ourselves, to accomplish anything without His help.
So, as I reflect on
thirty years of a son in and out of the drug world, and my "police" actions in
chasing him down through the streets of Newport News, Virginia, what will be my
advice to those around the world with similar problems.
***Added note on Aug 31, 2003. Several years have passed since I wrote this. Jimmy got out of jail and went into three drug treatment programs. He did real good for a time, but the lure of the cocaine has recently landed him back in jail again. My wife and I have broken hearts, that only Jesus can heal. Perhaps you will pray for us today and for Jimmy and the rest of my family.
Update November 24, 2003>>>Today Jimmy is walking with God. He has been clean for several weeks now and is attending church and Bible Study on a regular basis. He is also attending 12 step meetings almost daily. Day by day we pray for him and encourage him. Would you pray for him today? Thanks.
Update February 28, 2003. Jimmy has been clean for six months now, and we are rejoicing in the Lord. I asked him what he was doing to make this work. "God and a lot of other people telling me what to do! I still have a long way to go." (Don't we all)
Update March 19, 2005. Jimmy has remained clean since late 2003, and we continue to pray for him. Each day is a new challenge to him, as he plans his future. He is involved now with a good local church, and has been appointed a position to help other drug users through the local City Counsel authorities. Would you pray for him and my family today. Many hurts still remain to be healed.
Update May 15, 2006. Jimmy fell back into drugs again this last year, and is now incarcerated at the local jail, awaiting trial in July 2006. We visit him every week, and he is doing well. He told me yesterday that he is glad that he got caught by the authorities, and that he was tired of living the criminal lifestyle of the last year. About a week before he was arrested, I asked him a question. "Jimmy, what are the two things that are going to last for eternity?" Without hesitation he said to me. "The Word of God and people!" My heart jumped within me, as I realized that I had taught this to him many years earlier, and although he knew the right answer, he had chosen these last several years to invest his life in cocaine.
We talked about the future and his time that he would spend in jail and the impact he could have on many lives. His comments to me the last two weeks have shown that he has a desire to help people and spend time in the Word of God. Only time will tell if he does this. My job is to encourage him and support him. I could take the other road and blame him for all the trauma he caused to me and my family with his romp through the drug world. But whenever I think about doing that, God reminds me that I have done a little "romping" myself through the world of sin, and He has not abandoned me. He has said "I will never leave you or forsake you!" Hebrews 13:5.
I think that many times when this has happened to many people that they have just given up on a wayward child, a renegade brother or sister, an angry husband (that was me), or a contentious wife. My wife left me and filed for divorce in 2004. My anger had caused much of these separation problems, and I have had to deal with that many times. I was wrong and although I have apologized many times, the deep scars have remained. My wife was patient with me, and I deserve what I am getting. I fight bitterness each day, and ask God to keep my heart in the right place during this long trip down the divorce lane. I know 50% of the people in America have gone down this road, so perhaps I can help a fellow struggler in their trip down this road.
But I do know that if I self destruct and act like a total idiot, then that help will not be available, and I will be branded an angry and stupid man, who did not practice what he preaches. The big word is hypocrite. Webster's dictionary defines it this way. "a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion."
Well God has put His finger right in the middle of my chest and poked me many times the last three years. I have been a hyprocrite and a know-it-all for a long time.
"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts." John Wooden.
God has ripped open my heart these last few weeks with this revelation. This old "know-it-all" has been a stupid man as I tried to fool God and those around me. Three years of walking down the divorce road, has shown me that I don't know very much at all. I have tried to manipulate the situation and failed miserably. God told me with one of His "Holy Pokes" in my chest, "Hey buddy, I am in control, not you Jim Young." Wow, that hurts. But it is the truth. How I choose to react to God's chastening will determine my destiny for the rest of my life.
Would you pray that I choose the right path?
Update Sep 1, 2007- Jimmy gets out of jail later on this month.(Sep 2007) He says he has learned his lesson, and we shall see. I will keep this site updated as to his progress. If you are reading this right now pray for my family and the trauma that we face in the weeks and months ahead, as we try and get him back on the right path again.
Update Mar 15, 2008. Jimmy is doing great. He has entered back into a productive life now, and is interacting with his family in a positive way. He has resumed his excellent business relationships and has been faithful in all his dealings with customers and friends alike. He is attending church on a regular basis and also attending 12 step meetings several times a week. Praise God for giving me my son back.
March 17, 2009***Today Jimmy went back to jail again. He failed a drug test. He slipped back several weeks ago as he fell back into the same pattern of stealing from his family. He had been living with his Mom for the last year, and had many medical problems. He was put on pain killers and progressed from there back to cocaine. He now faces incarceration for God knows how long, putting himself back into the court system. Keep him in your prayers.
Update May 20, 2009. Jimmy was released today. The judge let him out because he had turned himself in for using drugs, and they let him out for "time served". He is living with his Mom again, trying to walk with God. Pray for him as you read this.
Update Sep 20, 2009. Today is my seventieth birthday, and praise God Jimmy is still doing O.K. People who are addicts to Cocaine, Meth and Heroin, always have the lure of the great high that they first experienced during their first journey into the drug world of "hard drugs". Jimmy explained to me what had happened to him. He told me that the very first cocaine high brought his mind and body up to a certain level. He had raised his hand to the top of his head. Then he described what happened each time he used. The high dimeninished a little bit at a time. Each time he used, the "standard" dropped a little. So for the rest of his life, he is chasing that first high. (Only Jesus can fix this---He is the Highest of them all) It can never be attained, but the brain continues to tell you that it can. So that is why most addicts go on "binges" trying to get back to the first high. He has been so out of control in his life, that he has lost all reason and destroyed much of his life. Today he is very productive in the business world, and my job is to continue to love him and support him. His Mom and I are finally over our long battle with the property dispute from our divorce a few years ago. It took five years, six months and 8 days after she left me. Thousands of dollars in attorney's fees and much heartache has taken place in our family I am remarried now and writing a book about my experiences in this time of trouble, and the lessons God has taught me during that time. I became an angry man over the invasion of drugs into our family. I only blame myself, and not my ex-wife. I hope one day to publish this book and help others not to make the same mistakes I have made over the years. Part of the title of the book will be "The Anatomy of a Failed Christian Marriage."
Update Feb 1, 2011. So back to jail again for the umpteenth time. He had been messing around with cocaine for several months, and became alienated from his Mom and his brother and sister. Started stealing to support his habit, and got caught on video surveillance tape from a retailer. He is awaiting sentencing in a local jail and will be sentenced July 19, 2011. Very discouraging to our family.
Update Sep 28, 2011. Jimmy was finally sentenced for stealing $200.00 from Home Depot. Our family hoped that he would get off for "time served", but it did not happen. With prior time hanging over his head, the judge reviewed his record and sentenced him to ten years in prison. He suspended 8 years, but it looks like now he will be incarcerated until Feb 2013. This seemed like a harsh sentence and surprised us all. But I hope someone reads this article who is contemplating stealing something to feed their drug habit.
Update April 16, 2012. Jimmy is due to get out of prison in October of this year. I hope you would pray for him that he would start his life all over again, and stay away from the drugs.
Update Aug 1, 2016. Well the nightmare on Elm Street continues. Jimmy is back in jail, having graduated from Cocaine to Heroin. In the aftermath, his best friend, Kevin, died of a heroin overdose in his trailer. They found him on the kitchen floor, after shooting up the lethal dose. I thought that this would wake Jimmy up. No way. Several months later his girl friend Stephanie, and live in wife, got him involved in stealing from an elderly gentleman to support their drug habit. She went back to jail for parole violation. Meanwhile Jimmy deceived his family into thinking he was clean, and bilked them out of thousands of dollars for a vehicle and a nice trailer to live in courtesy of his close family member. So while Stephanie was in jail, his secret life of Heroin continued. He was in a drug treatment program for addicts, and failed to continue. So in the meantime, he stole from three different localities and was in jail faced with three different counts of stealing and drug possession.
So while he was in jail, Stephanie got out and conspired with her brother to steal from another family member. They used the money to buy heroin. Of course they denied the theft and then purchased some Heroin from a local dealer. She and her brother "shot up" at her Mom's house. He went down first, and the ambulance was called. She did not tell them what happened, and he was transported to the local hospital in critical conditin. While he was enroute, she used the lethal drug. She died on the bathroom floor. 911 call ensued and she ended up in the local hospital, hooked up to life support. The families involved were devastated and realized that she was not going to make it. I will never forget holding her hand as she lay all hooked up to the machine. Met with the family shortly afterwards as they gathered to unhook her. So sad. Now Jimmy awaits sentencing from three different places. Many broken hearts in our family and Stephanies family. How long will this go on Lord? I do not know. But He wants us to trust Him. That is all I can do.
Update May 29, 2017. Visited Jimmy in jail yesterday. He has completed his sentencing for the past things and will get out of jail around February 2019. He has a job working in the kitchen at the jail an seems to enjoy it, as it helps him pass the time. He shared with me, that he has read his Bible every day that he has be in jail, and also reads the devotional book, "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswold Chambers. I told him that I had forgiven him, and I really mean it. It is easy to become bitter over this adventure in my life. But last time I checked, God was in control. How long will this go on Lord? Until God decides.
In the words of King Solomon, in Proverbs one in the Living Bible, "10. If young toughs tell you, “Come and join us”—turn your back on them!
11. “We’ll hide and rob and kill,” they say;
12. “Good or bad, we’ll treat them all alike!
13. And the loot we’ll get! All kinds of stuff!
14. Come on, throw in your lot with us; we’ll split with you in equal shares.”
15. Don’t do it son! Stay far from men like that,
16. For crime is their way of life, and murder is their specialty.
17. When a bird sees a trap being set, it stays away,
18. But not these men; they trap themselves!. They lay a booby trap for their own lives.
19. Such is the fate of all who live by violence and murder. They will die a violent death.
Don't do it son. Stay away from it." .
As I reflect on my own life, I am reminded to ask myself a question. "Jim, what are you going to do with the rest of your life."
I want to talk about things that matter with people who care.
Here are my plans
for my family.
1. Get on my knees on a regular basis and
intercede for my children before the throne of God. Anger over his situation
turned me into an angry man. My wife filed for divorce due to my anger, and
even though I have asked for forgiveness many times, she does not wish to reconcile.
Two attorneys are raking me over the coals these last five years, and I hope it will
soon be over. But God is teaching me many valuable lessons during this time.
(Note: It was finally over Sept 8, 2009. Five years, six months and 8 days after our separation.)
2. Continue the tough
love, of not giving in to him, but doing whatever is necessary to bring him to
his knees before the God of the universe. Drug addicts are manipulators and
liars, and will tell you anything in order to obtain more drugs.
Realize that Satan is out to destroy my testimony, and my family, causing me
much anger and discouragement, and bringing hate into my life, and disagreement
with my ex-wife over how to handle him. Pain caused by past hurts, has to be
dealt with. Forgiveness for him, is mandated by the Bible. Most of us memorized
it. "Forgive us...as we forgive.". Wow, that is hard to do. "But Lord,
you don't know what he did to me, and how he stole from me, and lied to me."
And the reply comes from the Master of the Universe, "I came to seek and to
save those who are lost."
4. Realize that God protected my son at
birth, and brought him through some tough times. I can reject him, or believe
that God has a wonderful plan for him, and will use the jail time, as a testing
time for all of our family, and I know the God of the universe will use this
horrible story to bring praise to Him. If you find yourself discouraged through
a painful family relationship, lay it at the feet of the One who cares for
He will comfort you, and care for you, and walk with you through
those tough times. Spend much time in the Word of God. It is our comfort, our
hope, and our food. When you and I neglect it, we suffer immeasurably.
would close with one of my favorite verses in the Bible. James 1:2-4, out of the
Williams translation which reads, "When all kinds of trials and
temptations crowd into your lives my brothers and sisters, don't resent them as
intruders, but welcome them as friends. Realize that they come to test your
faith, and to produce in you a quality of endurance. But let the process go on,
until your endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men
of mature character, with the right sort of
I wrote this article in 2005, during the midst of my troubles. Perhaps you would want to read it. Here is an excerpt from "Unconditional Love"
He operates on Unconditional Love.
“I love you, Jim, and I do not care what you have done.”
“I do not understand Lord? How can you accept me for what I have done. I tried to do the right thing, and I am just like Paul in Romans 7:19. He said, ‘For what I do is not the good I want to do, no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing’”
I hate myself for the evil things I have done, and I cannot even fathom how you could still love me. After all, I have been raised to a PBA standard, and cannot grasp how you can still love me.
And gently he whispered to me, “ Turn your Bible to 1 Corinthians 12:31.”
I opened my Bible and there it was in plain language.
And now I will show you the most excellent way. Click here for the complete article.