As part of our ongoing project to feature stories of addiction, we want to share with you a story about a local man who found his way out of the that tragic wasteland. In this particular case, the man crawled out of that hole by not only finding salvation from the drug fueled dark place his life, but also found salvation for his soul through a spiritual awakening.

As we move forward, we would like to share more stories with you about your friends and neighbors who have battled and overcome addictions, or may currently be waging the daunting war to break free from that devil with deep claws. We'll have feature stories with experts on addiction, how law enforcement fights this community plague, and, like today, by sharing personal stories from victims in their own words. Our goal is to make this about the issue, rather than the person who is the subject of the story or who wrote the letter. Names will be withheld of those who share their stories. This is not only to keep the focus on the subject, but also to avoid unnecessary public scrutiny and possible harassment of the individual. If you have or had an addiction, or are a family member or friend that has been affected by someone with an addiction, reach out to me at jjackson@thesuntimes.com or call at 501-362-2425 and we'll help you get your message out to the community. Only by humanizing this devastating disease can we foster understanding and fight back against this killer of families and community.

With that in mind, we hope you find hope in the following story of salvation from addiction that was sent to us:

"Not many people know my true story. I'm fixing to turn 51 on December 27. Out of my 50 years I've used drugs and alcohol for 42 of those years. From diet pills and weed to crack and heroin.

I've been in trouble with the law in some form since I was 9. I've been on some sort of criminal paper 35 plus years. I've over dosed and died 3 times. I've been beaten, shot once and stabbed. I've done extremely horrible things in my life. I probably should have been locked up for life. But 2 years ago this Thanksgiving Day I finally hit my 'Rock Bottom'! Finally with nothing but a demonic addiction I was tired of being tired.

Alone and tired and no place to go I drove out to the woods to end this suffering. I didn't know God or the Bible. I sat saying, 'God I have nothing or no one, I'm tired. If you really exist you better show me something somehow.' But nothing! I chambered a round put it in my mouth and it just clicked. I thought that figures! I re-chambered a round and again nothing! I went from heart broken and sick to angry. I just asked' 'Why God, why me'! I raised my hands up and the gun went off. Out the window. It was then God spoke to my heart even though I did not understand it but with His loving words placed in my heart said "I have a plan for you and this is not it! I've been waiting for this moment! For you to be broken so your heart will allow me to come in and not only lift you up but later show out in your life.'

The next day something told me to get up and drive. That drive took me 7 blocks to the very front door of FreedomWay Ministries which I've never heard of before. Five times that day that voice told me to get up and drive and every time it was to His house. Since then by His Grace, His Mercy and Love! I've not looked back. I work hard every day to go out of my way so I can be His Loyal and Humble Servant! 

I'm no special case. There are millions of me’s out there. They're all over this world, our country our state, our counties, cities, towns, neighborhoods and homes. This is what drives me to do God's work and carry out His commission to go out and be fishermen of men. Be my brother’s keeper. To love my neighbor as myself. To care for those who cannot care for themselves and teach them God's word, to be His mouth piece. To train others to become fishers-of-men.

Not all can do ministry work full time but you can make a difference in someone else's life. We can only change this world one person at a time but it starts with ourselves and God. He will use you if you allow Him into your hearts and minds. Please help me, help us at Freedom Way Ministry to keep progressing forward in doing the Lords work by providing shelter for the homeless. They may not have a tomorrow. We also provide help with food and clothing, Dr. Visits, parole visits, mental health appointments and so on. May God bless you and yours, every day, every moment. I'll be praying for you all."