Destroyed by Addiction, Redeemed by Affection
By Robert Hull
The 700 Club
CBN.com - “I was so –I was so junked up with chemicals, man, that I didn’t know what feelings was.” Says Houston Jared, “Dope told me when to go to sleep. Alcohol told me when to go to bed. Alcohol told me when to wake up. Drugs told me when to steal, when to lie, when to cheat, when to fight. It was my master. And I obeyed it, faithfully.”
Houston Jared grew up in a Christian home, but rejected his parents’ faith for the sense of identity he found with drugs, alcohol and gambling. He made fast cash manufacturing and selling meth and before long he was using his own product.
“I liked the way I feel.” He says, “I can gamble now, instead of for 12 hours and having to go to sleep, I can gamble for, you know, three days if I want to. I can sit at a blackjack table for two days if I want to. All I got to do is just snort a little line of this and then that just become more and more. Then it just consumed me, man. It consumed everything around me and infected me and everyone around me. It just became contagious. And I happened to have, you know, the connection. So I was the man.”
His meth empire grew through connections with a biker gang. But bad company and drug use led to fear and paranoia.
Houston remembers, “(I was) toting pistols around a lot. I wasn’t so much afraid of the police as much as I was afraid of that person that was going to put that gun to my head and rob me. Cause I wasn’t going to allow them to take what I had. This was mine. So if it meant me killing you for it, then so be it. You know. So you’re not going to take my stuff.”
To Houston, time in jail or court ordered rehab was just a cost of doing business. But as the state’s war on drugs ramped up, so did Houston’s prison time.
“We was manufacturing meth that night, and about daylight that morning, right before we wrapped it up, the sheriff’s department kicked in the front door. And it wasn’t no small time jail anymore.”
“They was tired of the epidemic of methamphetamine in Arkansas and they were making examples of people. Never had a felony conviction in my life. The first felony I ever caught in my life I done 3 ½ years in prison.
“I was a macho guy, but inside I was a scared little punk. I’m mad because I’m in jail. I’m angry because I got busted. I’m just tormented on the inside, because my lawyer can’t get me out of this. And then on top of all of that, all the patches, all the motorcycle guys, they turned their back on me immediately. And now I’m in jail getting whooped just because I’m white. I’m 25 years old. And I was raised different and inside there was always something drew me, ‘no this ain’t what you’re supposed to be doing.’”
When he got out of prison he lived with his brother who also cooked meth. Houston felt powerless to escape the lifestyle and moved away hoping for a new start. His brother continued the business, until one day he vanished.
“And they found remnants of what they think was him, you know. “ Houston says, “The motorcycle gangs know how to dispose of things. And, you know, that’s something that lays on my mind ‘cause I introduced him to that. And no doubt in my mind that I introduced him to the person who killed him. I was angry, man. I was a mad young man. But now I’d lived through prison. So the fear –the fear of prison wasn’t enough to get me to stop at this point. Cause I lived through it already. The fear of OD’ing wasn’t enough to get me to stop because I’d already OD’d numerous times.”
Houston moved to Tennessee while on parole but failed several drug tests. After a high speed chase in a stolen car, he was sentenced to 7 years in prison. He tried every avenue to get the sentence suspended; even appealing to Teen Challenge, a Christian discipleship program, but he was denied acceptance. Houston was broken and ready for a change.
“And finally God got me in that small, still little place where I could hear His voice. And He said, ‘come to Me.’ He invited me to come to Him. I’ll never forget it. I cried out to God. I said God, help me. I was used up and washed up and stepped on. God put His arms around me, man. I felt the love of God. I was forgiven. I was stainless, I was forgiven. And I felt any kind of urges, of bondage, of drug addiction, or alcoholism or just any life controlling issue, I had so many of them. I was set free from it. It was just like a curtain lifted off of me; you know a 2000-lb elephant off my back. And I just praised God right there in that cell.”
He began fasting and spent hours in prayer and Bible reading. He says the love of God finally filled the empty hole in his life.
“I looked for love in the drugs and the gambling and it was all temporary. I looked for it in women and in alcohol. It’s all temporary. I looked for it in a motorcycle club or I looked for it in this white racial gang, it was all temporary, brother. I could only find some peace and joy for a little while. And then it was gone. Used up. Jim Beam let me down, cocaine let me down, Jesus Christ has never let me down, brother, ever.”
Miraculously, after nine months in jail he was accepted into a one-year Teen Challenge program and a new judge suspended his sentence. He says the time with Teen Challenge gave him a new vision for his life.
“It saved my life. Jesus delivered me. He got me in a place where I could be broken. He delivered me and He gave me a foundation that I can build on, that I have been building on. The freedom that the Bible talks about in Jesus Christ, I felt it. It wasn’t just some words on a paper or some preacher preaching to me. I felt that freedom.”
Houston now serves as a youth pastor at his church and is married to Lana the love of his life. He also works with Teen Challenge, sharing with others the true identity he found in Jesus Christ.
“I’m not a drug addict. I’m not an alcoholic. I’m not a convicted felon. I’m not a convict. I’m the son of the one true God. Instead of looking at Christianity as the things that I can’t do as a Christian, I look at the freedom that I have in it. As being a Christian and I walk in that freedom and I walk in that mercy and that grace. I want to tell everyone in the world about it.”
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