As a young man in my early twenties, I was significantly exposed to people who were addicted to pain killers and drugs like heroin and cocaine. I saw back then what kind of damage opiates and barbiturates, etc. can do to a person. They destroy dreams. They destroy families. They destroy fortunes and careers. They destroy people, good people. What is astonishing, truly astonishing, are the things that people will do for drugs once the monster of addiction has grabbed hold of them.
I spent my life loathing drug addicts. Felt the same way about alcoholics because they most often find the same end results. The monster of addiction eats everything that is good from their lives.
I spent years holding such people in complete contempt. I will go so far as to say, that I hated them. I wanted nothing to do with anyone who was addicted to such things. I suppose that we all have our own addictions, I just haven't had too many problems with people who are addicted to doughnuts, adrenaline, salt, or even sex. I find though that drug addicts often become someone they would not have otherwise been were it not for the seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to satisfy their outright craving for the drug or the drink. They will risk ANYTHING for that next one.
I am a family man. Married for nigh on twenty-five years as of this writing. Together, Leonora and I raised four children, two beautiful girls and two awesome boys. Our kids were well raised and highly regarded by peers, teachers, employers, anyone who has had a chance to get to know them. People count themselves lucky to be someone called a friend, by Marlaina, Shannon, David or Frank.
Today, our baby boy, Frank, is approaching his 23rd birthday. These things make a fella start feeling old.
This June our family will mark the third anniversary of the death of our son David. While in college, David began to explore the drug culture. He had smoked cannabis in high school but I had warned him. There was a rule. "If it ain't green, its mean" and it will destroy everything you love. We strongly discouraged the use of drugs and did everything we could to give David a life without worry so there would be no pressure to escape from, no hurdles to fear. We loved him to death.... literally.
The night before his 21st birthday, David overdosed on Opana, which is a pain killer prescribed often for late stage cancer patients. It was not his first overdose... but it was dreadfully his last. David was pronounced dead at Gateway Memorial Hospital on June 26th, 2013 at approximately 8:30PM. The linked video tells the story of the loss...
So the question instantly became, for my wife and I, how do we move forward? How do we ever cope with the tragedy to the point of being able to experience joy again, to know happiness. Together, on the night of David's 21st birthday, Leonora and I prayed together and we asked God to show us, day by day, as if we are children, what it is we are to do. We had no idea what to do the next morning, or the morning after that, ad nauseum.
The first instruction God gave to me, was that I was to love the very people I wanted most to hate, I was to love the addicts. I had every reason to hate drug addicts, more than ever before and yet God was telling me that I was to love them. I had no idea how.
In the days, weeks and months that followed, God revealed His plan in ways that can be described as nothing less than miraculous. In that plan, we are lead to build what we are calling the "Rivers and Ranches Restoration Program through what will be a 501c3 registered ministry called The House of David Restoration Ministry. We will be opening a farm, quite likely a peanut farm (more details on that in a later blog) as well as a lake based business venture, both of which will serve as residential safe houses where addicts can take the time to experience what faith-based restoration is about. There is one cure for addiction. His name is Jesus. At these residential safe houses, addicts will be given the opportunity to focus on Him as we enjoy front row seats to the kinds of miracles Jesus promised we would see. The restoration ministries will be completely supported by the profits of Brother Doc's Beef Jerky as well as other business interests owned by our family. The one year residential program will be made available to qualified applicants ABSOLUTELY FREE.
We prayed for God to rescue our son from the demons of drug addiction. He did what we asked, it just wasn't the way we had wanted it to be. Now it is our job, to rescue as many of His children from that same demon as we possibly can.
By purchasing Brother Doc's Beef Jerky, you aren't making anyone wealthy. You aren't supporting some corporate fat cat with a private jet. You are helping to save lives.
I don't want anyone to ever feel the darkness and pain of losing their child to drug addiction. I know that we can't stop it... but however many we can help, how ever many we can serve, then that is what we are all about.
So for the families that you have touched by being a Brother Doc's customer, for moms and dads who will escape such horrible tragedy because of your support, and for the addicts who without you, would not have a chance to know victory over the demons of addiction, I say THANK YOU.