Brian Jones: Drunken Past Bright Future
By Audra Smith
The 700 Club
“Here I was with all this talent and I just threw it all away,” Brian said.
Playing professional baseball was Brian Jones’ dream. Prison was Brian’s reality.
As a child, the little league field was Brian’s playground.
“I started playing ball when I was five and I was always better than the other kids. My dad and my mom, they knew that and they saw that in me. So we played sports all year round. We lived at the ballpark,” Brian said.
Brian grew up in a tight-knit family of avid sports fans. Yet as he got older he spent more and more time away from home, with a rowdy, rebellious crowd.
“At the age of 13, I began to rebel against my parents, against authority, teachers in school. I was the kind of guy that if you offended me or told me to quit doing something, I would go totally opposite,” Brian said.
He became even more reckless during high school.
“I started smoking cigarettes, drinking beer, smoking pot and just hanging around the wrong people. Through everything I was trying - the parties, the women, the sex, the drugs - I was just always looking for something,” Brian said.
Ultimately, Brian’s lifestyle cost him what he wanted the most, a chance to play college baseball.
“I won state when I was 15-years-old and I hit two homeruns in the game too. Cumberland University wanted me to play with them. The coach had been watching me since I was 15-years-old. I went to a club the night before tryouts,” Brian said.
The next day, a hangover hindered Brian’s performance. He didn’t make the team. With his dream dashed, Brian’s substance abuse increased with devastating consequences.
“By the age of 23, I wasn’t working. I was just partying all the time. I partied all night and went to the clubs all weekend. I thought I was invincible,” Brian said.
One night, Brian left a sports bar, with an alcohol level of .25.
“All I remember is that I woke up in the hospital and my dad was standing over me, and there was a cop in the room. I didn’t know what happened. I was, like, ‘Dad, what happened?’ He said that I killed somebody. I couldn’t believe it,” Brian said.
“The guy had pulled out in front of me and I hit him. Since I had been drinking and driving, they charged me. They convicted me of vehicular homicide by intoxication. They gave me an eight year sentence,” Brian said.
“I don’t even know how to describe the feeling. I felt that the whole world was crashing down. Everything was coming down on me. You can’t imagine the guilt, frustration, and anger,” Brian said.
Brian faced eight years behind bars. He was desperate to turn his life around.
“I began to search. I remember I had a cellmate that had been shot seven or eight times and he almost died. He gave his life to Christ. At night, I would read his literature. I would read all of his stuff. I prayed a prayer and it came from my heart,” Brian said.
“I said, ‘Jesus, if you are real, I will serve you and I will follow you for the rest of my life.’ At the time, I didn’t know what was going on, but as I began to seek God and draw near to God, He drew near to me. A peace that passes all understanding came over me,” Brian said.
“I told my mom to buy me a Bible. She sent me a Bible when I was on lock down 24 hours a day. I would read it day and night. As I began to search the scriptures, I found life and I found healing. I got delivered from drugs, I got delivered from cigarettes. I began to mend my relationships. I found restoration. I was in prison smiling everyday,” Brian said.
“Prison probably saved my life. When I got to a place that nobody could get me out but God, I learned to trust him and learn to rely on him,” Brian said.
Brian was released from prison in 2005, five years into his sentence. Today, he makes his living through a trade he learned in prison.
“I got my barber’s license. I stayed in school and passed the test. It was the first test I had passed since high school, so I was really proud of that. I thought, ‘Man, this is great,’God just started rebuilding my life,” Brian said.
His life now includes his wife Meleah and their two children.
“I just knew as soon as I met him. I just knew he was from God. He was the first person I met that was flat out in love with Jesus. He just kept saying, ‘I love Jesus.’ I just knew he was for me,” Meleah said.
“If you look to Jesus - He is the living water that will heal you and restore you. You are never hopeless. As long as you have a breath to take, nothing is hopeless. I would encourage you to taste and see that God is good. There is nothing like Him, there is nothing like Jesus,” Brian said.Can God change your life?
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