The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Mom Set Free from Addiction

By Shannon Woodland
The 700 Club“I couldn’t get enough. I would do them any way I could. I would eat them. I would chop them up and snort them, whatever I could do to get more and more and more.”

At 16 years old Jessi Paris found that her mother’s anxiety pills and alcohol took the edge off of life. “I didn't want to have to deal with anything. I didn't want to have to deal with life. I didn't want to have to have responsibilities or do anything. I just wanted to be messed up all the time.”

As a young girl Jessi was physically abused by her stepfather. He also abused her mother, who was helpless in stopping the nightmare. “My stepdad would come home on drugs and beat us and hold guns to my mom's head while we watched.”

They divorced when Jessi was in her early teens. The abuse had stopped, but Jessi still had to deal with the pain. Alcohol would bring some comfort, but it also brought out the rage she had been suppressing. “If I felt like somebody showed me disrespect I fought.  It was what I wanted and how I wanted it; and if you didn’t like it, then too bad.”

For a while, her mother’s Xanax and alcohol gave her the buzz she was looking for.  Then at 18, it was crystal meth. “(I) loved it. It was an addiction all the way. That's what I wanted all the time. I didn't care about anything else.”

She spent two years partying and staying high. But when she got pregnant at 20, Jessi felt a sudden sense of responsibility. She quit partying all together, and married the father of her child. “And I thought that's what I wanted at that time. (I) had a baby, and I thought, ‘here's my chance to do what my mom didn't do or couldn't do.’ It was my shot to show everybody, and myself, that I could do it."

But the joy of having a son and her sense of responsibility quickly faded. “It came back. I started drinking and whenever I started drinking, that led – the first thing I want whenever I start drinking is to go get high.”

Within a year Jessi was pregnant with her second son. Again she tried to clean up her life, but couldn’t. “(I) didn't care about getting busted; didn't care about nothing and the whole time I had two little boys.”

Jessi’s addiction to meth consumed her life. She got divorced and lost custody of her children to their father. She started feeling the pangs of guilt. “I’d look around and think, ‘Do I really want this for the rest of my life?’ Then the thought would be gone and then, another one would pop in. ‘I want more than this.’ Little thoughts like that started popping in my head."  

Meanwhile, her mother had become a Christian. She convinced Jessi to go to church with her. “She actually had said, ‘I'm praying for you. I’m asking God to do whatever's necessary to you to change you.’  And it scared me to death. I don't know why, but it did. And I would go to church high.”

But the drugs couldn’t silence her deep dissatisfaction with her life or the guilt that kept rising to the surface. “Then my boyfriend at the time had left me, and I was sitting at home alone with no kids, no boyfriend, no nothing, and I pretty much just broke, and was bawling and come down off of a high, after two weeks and told God that if He thought He could do any better, He could do it. I told Him I didn't care if I lived or died. Didn't care if I went to jail, didn't care about nothing. Then if He could do, then He could do it.”

One night Jessi finally realized what she really wanted in life, but she says judging by the way she’d been living; it would take a miracle to make it happen. “I wanted everybody to leave me alone. I just wanted to be normal, and be a mom and do what I was supposed to do, which is shocking, I hadn't wanted that.”

She cried out to God and asked for help. “By gosh I asked Him if He could do any better, and He did. He was just waiting on me that whole time. That next morning I woke up. I had no addiction. I had peace. I had feelings I had never even felt before. It was just love and the world was set right. I could hear. I could see. It was amazing.”

Jessi gave her heart to Jesus. “When you come from an addiction and you wake up as a brand new person with feelings I can't even explain, you know! You know Jesus is Lord. You know it. There's no denying it. He put it in me. I had a whole new personality.”
The first thing Jessi did was call her boyfriend, Scott. Even though their relationship had been off and on for some time, they always wanted it to work. “And I said, ‘if we're going to be together, we're going to have God in our life every day.’ He said, ‘okay.’ We've been with Jesus ever since; never looked back. (He) changed our lives completely.”

A couple of months later, Jessi and Scott married. They got custody of Jessi’s two boys. Today, their family of five includes a daughter. Jessi gives God all the glory for what He has done in her life. “He just changed my heart. People don't understand that He's still doing miracles today and if this isn't a miracle, I don't know what is. I couldn't have changed myself like that.”

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