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Jim Cherrier: Cave-dwelling Drug Addict Sees the Light

Jim chose a life of drug addiction and for 39 years he lived a literal cave-dwelling existence in Arizona. A Bible and a trip to jail helped Jim re-think his life and call out to God for change. Read Transcript


JIM CHERRIER KNOWS EVERY

NOOK AND CRANNY OF THE

FOOTHILLS SURROUNDING

PHOENIX, ARIZONA, BECAUSE

FOR 14 YEARS, THESE

HILLS WERE HIS HOME.

BEHIND THESE MOUNTAINS

HERE, IT'S LIKE A WHOLE BIG

CIRCLE OF MOUNTAINS OVER A

SQUARE 15 MILES OR SO.

AND IN THE MIDDLE IS A LARGE

BASIN.

AND IN THAT BASIN IS WHERE I

SPENT A LOT OF TIME BECAUSE

THERE IS NO ACCESS TO

VEHICLES IN THERE, AND YOU

RARELY SEE ANYBODY.

Reporter: THAT WAS

PERFECT FOR JIM WHO WAS A

HARD-CORE DRUG ADDICT.

HE ABUSED HEROIN SO MUCH HIS

VEINS COLLAPSED AND HE HAD

TO HAVE HIS ARM AMPUTATED.

EVEN IF NOBODY WAS

AROUND, I WOULD IMAGINE

PEOPLE WERE LISTENING TO ME

AND I WOULD HEAR VOICES.

Reporter: THERE WAS

ONLY ONE PLACE JIM FELT

SAFE.

IN HIS DARK, MUSTY MINE SHA.

SHAFT.

AND HIS ONLY FRIEND WAS A

WILD DONKEY THAT ATE OUT OF

HIS HAND.

IT WAS AN EXTREME

CONTRAST BETWEEN THE LIFE I

HAD LIVED AT CERTAIN TIMES,

MY OWN HOME, MY OWN CAR, MY

WIFE, MY CHILDREN, A JOB --

A STEADY JOB AS A FEDERAL

EMPLOYEE WORKING FOR THE

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY.

Reporter: JIM'S PARENTS

RAISED HIM TO SUCCEED.

HE GREW UP WITH FIVE

BROTHERS AND SISTERSS.

THEY TRAVELLED THE WORLD AND

EVEN LIVED OVERSEAS IN

SINGAPORE.

BUT AT 15, JIM WAS

INTRODUCED TO DRUGS.

AND AFTER HIGH SCHOOL, HE

HITCHHIKED AROUND THE WORLD,

EXPERIMENTING WITH ACID.

I WAS FAR FROM A BILL

BILL -- PILLAR OF SOCIETY,

BUT I PAID MY BILLS AND WENT

TO WORK.

BUT I DRANK A LOT OF BEER

AND SMOKED A LOT OF

MARIJUANA.

Reporter: HIS WIFE

LEFT, AND HE MET ANOTHER

WOMAN AND RESOLVED TO TRY

HARDER, BUT SHE LEFT, TOO.

I KNEW THAT I FAILED THEM

IN WAYS THEY NEEDED, BUT I

COULDN'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY

WOULD ACTUALLY LEAVE ME

BECAUSE I DIDN'T THINK I

FAILED THEM THAT BADMENT.

Reporter: JIM FELL IN

LOVE ONE MORE TIME.

THIS LADY DIDN'T LEAVE HIM.

SHE DIED IN A FIRE.

THAT'S WHEN I JUST DIDN'T

CARE ABOUT ANYTHING.

I JUST DIDN'T CARE ABOUT

MYSELF.

MY PROBLEM IS HEARTBREAK,

SERIOUS HEARTBREAK IN MY

LIFE, WHERE I PURPOSELY

DECIDED TO SMASH MY LIFE.

IF I HAD BEEN BRAVER, MAYBE,

I WOULD HAVE SHOT MYSELF.

Reporter: INSTEAD, JIM

TOOK AN EARLY RETIREMENT

FROM HIS JOB.

I PUT ALL OF MY MONEY

TOGETHER AND I HEADED OFF TO

BE THE BEST CRACKHEAD I

COULD BE.

Reporter: THREE DAYS A

WEEK, HE WAS A DEALER, AND

THE REST OF THE TIME HE

HEADED OUT TO THE HILLS AND

GOT HIGH.

MY GOAL WAS TO TAKE A HIT

OF CRACK EVERY THREE

MINUTES, 24/7.

HERE I AM, STUCK IN A CAVE.

WHO WOULD LIVE LIKE THIS WHO

WASN'T CRAZY.

I STARTED THINKING OF MY

FAMILY, MY KIDS, MY

GRANDKIDS, AND DEPRESSION

CREPT IN ON ME MORE AND

MORE.

Reporter: AROUND THIS

TIME, JIM MET A MAN BETWEEN

HIS TRAVELS BETWEEN HIS MINE

SHAFT AND THE DOPE HOUSE.

I COULDN'T WAIT TO GET

OUT OF THE DOPE HOUSE AND

GET BACK TO THE MINE SHAFT

SO I COULD READ THE BIBLE.

I FELT GOD COULD HEAR WHAT

WAS IN MY HEART.

I STARTED CALLING OUT TO

GOD, SAYING, I AM

BROKEN-HEARTED.

I'M CRUSHED IN SPIRIT.

I'M SORRY FOR WHAT I'VE DONE

TO MY LIFE.

HELP ME, GOD.

Reporter: ONE MORNING

AROUND 2:00 A.M., JIM SAYS

HE GOT AN ANSWER TO HIS

PRAYER.

I COULD SEE ALL OF THE

STARS IN THE SKY.

I SAW ONE STAR IN PARTICULAR

THAT LOOKED ODD, AND IT

LOOKED LIKE IT WAS GETTING

BIGGER AND BIGGER.

THE NEXT THING I KNEW, IT

GOT SO BIG AND BRIGHT, THE

ENTIRE FRONT OF THE MINE

SHAFT, ALL THE WAY BACK, WAS

LIT UP.

I REALIZED IT WAS A POLICE

HELICOPTER'S SPOTLIGHT.

ALL OF A SUDDEN ALL OF THESE

POLICE STARTED COMING IN

HERE, AND THEY DRAGGED ME

OUT BY MY ANKLES.

AND THEY SAID, YOU'RE GOING

TO PRISON, BUDDY.

WE'VE BEEN DOING A TWO-YEAR

INVESTIGATION ON YOU, AND

YOU'RE GOING TO PRISON.

AND I FELT A SENSE OF RELIEF

BECAUSE I FELT PRISON

COULDN'T BE ANY WORSE.

Reporter: THE CHANGE

CAME IN JAIL.

I COMPLETELY GAVE MY

HEART TO JESUS.

I REALIZED THAT I HAD BEEN

LIVING MY LIFE COMPLETELY

FOR MYSELF.

AND I REALIZED THAT

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING ABOUT

MY LIFE WAS WRONG.

Reporter: AFTER A YEAR

IN PRISON, JIM WAS RELEASED

TO A HALF-WAY HOUSE, WHERE

HIS DEPENDENCY ON JESUS

INCREASED, AND HIS DRUG

ADDICTION COMPLETELY

DISAPPEARED.

THE PROBLEMS ARE GONE.

MY PAST LIFE IS OVER.

I DIED TO IT, AND I KNOW IN

MY HEART THAT THAT HAS

HAPPENED.

AND I TRULY HAVE PEACE OF

MIND.

AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT PEACE

OF MIND WAS SOMETHING

IMPOSSIBLE TO ACHIEVE, THAT

IT WAS SOME IDEAL, BUT I DO

HAVE PEACE OF MIND BECAUSE I

TRUST IN THE LORD.

Reporter: TODAY JIM IS

AN OUTREACH COORDINATOR FOR

THE DREAM CENTER IN PHOENIX,

WHERE HE HELPS PEOPLE BREAK

FREE OF THEIR ADDICTIONS.

HE IS BACK IN CONTACT WITH

HIS GROWN CHILDREN AND IS ON

GOOD TERMS WITH HIS

EX-WIFE.

EVERYTHING IN THE PAST

HAS CHANGED.

I TRULY HAVE BEEN RENEWED,

AND I TRULY AM A NEW

CREATION IN CHRIST.

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