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When it comes to physical challenge and excitement, professional skateboarding pushes the extremes. For years, celebrity athlete Jay Haizlip rode his sport to new heights of success. But it was more than the rush of adrenaline that kept him soaring. David Kithcart follows Jay's dangerous journey into drugs.
Jay Haizlip's intention was to rip his arm open with a razor blade and end his miserable life. He had maxed-out on drugs; he had gotten all he could from it and didn't want it anymore. Life was dealing him a shoddy deal full of misery, pain and torment.
Jay lived from one crack-cocaine high to the next. In between hits, he planned when and how he would be able to do the drug again. But he never would have imagined that he would end up doing some of the things he did. He was so driven and tormented to do drugs that he took his son into violent neighborhoods, crack houses where people were shot outside the front door, places the police would raid.
Jay was exposed to the drug culture by his own single teen-age mother when she left him at a party with friends when Jay was only 5-years-old.
He recalls, "People were getting me drunk. They were blowing pot in my face. They thought it was cute and cool. I remember bouncing off the walls of this hotel and then going out into the parking lot and falling on my face, throwing up, and then my mother coming back. That was the first experience with alcohol and drugs that I remember."
The things Jay had witnessed others doing at parties became normal to him. When he went to parties, he hung around with people who gave him joints and alcohol. And by age 11, Jay carried a bag of marijuana every day, getting high regularly.
During this time, skateboarding gained popularity with teens. Jay was a natural. He never had ambition to be a famous skateboarder even though he excelled. He was right at the top. But his life was so driven and controlled by drugs that skateboarding wasn't a sport for him, but merely an expression of what was going on inside him.
As Jay rode the wave of pro skateboarding celebrity, his need for harder drugs increased.
"I took that first line of cocaine and then a 12-year cycle of becoming a junkie, strung out. I ended up on crack and that led me to prison and in and out of drug treatment centers."
Jay married, had two sons and even a steady job selling cars. But none of it could stop him from doing drugs.
"I remember when my son was just a little baby in diapers, I had a homemade pipe out of a can and I had thrown this rock on it. I was sitting there shaking, trying to get in this hit, and my son comes around and he's standing there looking up at me. I'm shaking, taking this hit and at the same time I'm feeling so guilty because my baby's sitting there watching me because I'm so tormented. My life was just being ripped apart."
Alone at home one night, Jay had a bad reaction to the cocaine he was snorting.
"I started freaking out," Jay recalls. "I had all this cocaine, and I thought somebody was at my back door, somebody was at my front door. I don't know who I thought it was, but I just thought people were trying to get in to get me. I ran to the tree and nobody was there. Then I ran around my house. It was like a voice saying, 'Oh, they're running around your house.' I had already determined that I was going to take a butcher knife and was going to ram it into whomever was standing there.
"The scary thing is that if one of my neighbors had been out walking their dog or something like that, an innocent person just out there for whatever reason at 6:00 in the morning, I would have killed them because I'd snapped."
Jay sat on the edge of his bed and began crying. He didn't want to live anymore because his life was so terrible. He didn't want to be a drug addict any longer. He looked up to the ceiling and said, "God, if you're real, why won't you help me because you know I don't want to be like this?"
God was about to answer that prayer. Jay had to pick up a car from a customer for repair. The owner began to tell Jay about how God had changed his life, about how he was an alcoholic that used to go into rages of violence and how he had been in car wrecks and fights, but his 13-year-old son led him to Jesus.
The next day when Jay was feeling depressed and coming down off of drugs, all he could think about was how God had changed this man's life. When he delivered the repaired car, he was invited to stay for pizza. Jay sat and listened as the man talked about God and Jesus Christ in a way he had never heard any one talk.
"It really was blowing me away. He was acting like Jesus was his best friend and Jesus was right there with us. I was almost looking around the room because I thought, 'Where is this guy? You're acting like he's right here.' "
Jay heard himself ask the man how to get saved. He thought to himself, "If this is what I have to do to go to heaven, I'll do it and then run around the corner to meet someone to get some crack."
The man opened his Bible to Romans 10: 9-10. He read the two verses aloud and led Jay in the sinner's prayer.
The man and his wife had sensed other things in Jay's life such as witchcraft. (Jay's mother had been involved in Wicca and similar things growing up.) Through prayer, they broke the powers of everything that had ever worked in Jay's life.
"I didn't have any wild, demonic manifestations or anything like that, but I just felt all the hurt leaving, all the pain leaving, all that junk. And then as they were kneeling there praying for me, they asked God to fill me with the Holy Spirit. I didn't even know who Jesus was, much less the Holy Spirit, and then all of a sudden Jesus just baptized me in the Holy Spirit while I was sitting there, right then. Man, I knew that I was changed. When I stood up I told them, 'Whoa, man, something's happened to me.' "
Jay drove out of the driveway and got about 50 yards. He let go of the steering wheel and felt higher then than he had ever felt before -- only this time, he was high on the presence of God, instead of on drugs.
"It was real, it was pure, and it was from heaven. I threw my hands up and I just started screaming, 'I'm saved! I'm saved! I'm saved!' I felt so good."
Jay spends his time now ministering to youth in a way that they can relate to. The "Get a Grip With Jay Haizlip" public school assembly program is used to invite teens to an alternative party. Once out of the school setting, Jay is able to speak plainly about how he was delivered from drug addiction.
"They have pain from abandonment. They have pain from abuse, neglect or bad things that have happened to them. When they drink alcohol or get involved in drugs, it medicates that hurt. I try to prevent them from going down the same road that I went down because, unfortunately, most people that go down the road that I went down, they don't make it back. I want to see people saved. I want to see people change. I want to see kids that have been delivered from drugs and pursuing God with their whole heart."
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