Experiencing the Rock of Ages
By Christine McWorter
The 700 Club
CBN.com -Bobby Hayden always knew he’d be a rock star. When he was just 8 years old, he was featured on the Ted Mack amateur hour, one of the first star search shows. As a teen, he played with bands like Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, and Paul Revere and the Raiders. The rush he felt when he was on stage was incredible, which meant school was dull in comparison. So, when he was just 16, he ran away from home.
“It’s quite a euphoric feeling to be on stage and having people pat you on the back and tell you how good you are all the time, Bobby says. “I read from the ‘book of self’ a lot. And it was all about the fame, the money, and the women. I was just very self absorbed with myself. I remember in the 80’s they used the term ‘Rock Gods.’”
All the while, he was oblivious that his occasional cocaine habit had become an addiction. “I’d wake up from the night before, and I’d be impaired most of the night and then I’d have to just start it over again and do a little something to wake up, and do a little something to go to bed.”
Bobby started his own group, called the Bobby Hayden Band. They toured the country and even appeared on MTV. Over the next 20 years, he immersed himself into the rock lifestyle-more drugs, more parties, more music, more women. His life began to collapse when he began using heroine. Before long, he found he couldn’t function without the drugs.
“I was one sick puppy. I needed the drugs every single day. All day, all afternoon, and all night. And that’s what led to the spiral down.”
Every penny he earned from gigs went to heroin. He became unstable, neglecting his bills in favor of his next high. Eventually Bobby lost his home and ended up living on skid row. The dream was over, and he was all alone.
“By the time the 90’s got here, I was so sick of Bobby Hayden, I wanted to be anybody- anybody else but Bobby Hayden,” Bobby said. “I was one of the worst down there. I injected heroin probably five to fifteen times a day. I absolutely remember going a year without a bath. I knew that I was down there to die. I really felt I was down there to die. Because in skid row, that’s why a lot of people go there - it’s your last hurrah.”
For seven years, Bobby lived on skid row panhandling for drug money. One day, another homeless man had a message for him. “’Bobby, your body is full of poison. Your legs are all chewed up with injections. You go no veins left. You’ve blown out your neck. You’re not going to be with us much longer,’”
Bobby remembers, “And I’m laying there without a chance in the world, clothes I’ve had on for a year, and my skin was darkened with dirt and soot and toxins from the air. And he said that I had to maybe start praying in the name of Jesus.”
With nothing to lose, Bobby took his advice and started to pray and read the Bible. “When I was walking the streets homeless, I had a little light on in the back of my head that somehow I was going to walk away from itz’
Bobby was right - his life was about to change. One of his old friends sent him a bus ticket to Phoenix and some methadone- a drug that helps addicts quit by stopping withdrawal symptoms. “Then it kinda hit me that I had been praying in Jesus’ name and all of a sudden I got a way out,” said Bobby. “So by this time I know that something is really leading me down that road and I knew this Jesus thing had to be for real.”
To get on his feet in Phoenix, he still needed a driver’s license, a social security card and a place to live. And to make matters worse, he was running out of methadone. So Bobby prayed to God one more time. “I fell to the floor and that’s where I just said, ‘In Jesus name, I give my life to You, if You help me get out of this.’ Because I needed methadone real bad when I hit Phoenix, or I was going to be one sick person.”
When he got to Phoenix, his prayers had already been answered. His friends had already made arrangements for Bobby. “They said, ‘We got you an appointment for their DMV to get your driver's license and the social security cards coming through and they’re going to hold the door open at the methadone clinic. And this morning, the guy at the clinic said he had a six bedroom house out in the middle of the desert, if you feed his dogs, he’ll let you stay there.’ And man, right then, I looked up and said, ‘You got to slow this down a little bit, Jesus.’ And that’s where the faith took hold. And I went to the desert for a year in Phoenix.”
Bobby weaned himself off methadone. After about a year, he didn’t need it or any other drug. When a family member invited him to church, he was happy to attend. Soon, he began building a relationship with God.
“Jesus is everything. He’s just- He’s virtually everything - or I would still be in that cardboard box or probably not on this earth. So once I got out of the way and realized that Someone Else was calling the shots, that’s when it really started. I started to tick on all 8 again.”
Bobby has been free from drugs for over 3 years. He is a worship leader at his church, and is able to do what he loves - write and perform music. He says Jesus helped him see that a life in Christ is the best life possible.
He says, “I am so thankful to be a human being again and be in touch with Jesus, because now I really understand that Jesus lives inside of me.”
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