Listen to James May as he tells the story of his life as a heroin and cocaine addict, and how he went from consistent run-ins with the wrong side of the law and a near-miss with a violent death, to accepting the truth of his situation and starting a...
Listen to James May as he tells the story of his life as a heroin and cocaine addict, and how he went from consistent run-ins with the wrong side of the law and a near-miss with a violent death, to accepting the truth of his situation and starting a treatment program for people in recovery.
- James is coming up on seven years in recovery from a crippling heroin and cocaine addiction. James grew up in a poor family in a wealthy neighborhood, and that mismatch had a profound impact on his life.
- His first run-in with the authorities was in 3rd grade after James set some toilet paper on fire in his school’s bathroom. As a child, James tried to find the approval of the wrong crowd and found himself stealing and vandalizing.
- James’ first memory of pain was from 2nd or 3rd grade, where he was humiliated and traumatized after being rejected from the girl he liked and deceived by who he thought he was a friend.
- The kids who made fun of James when he was younger became the target of his rage as he grew older, and one of the underlying reasons he began selling drugs was to try to ruin their lives.
- James’ grandfather was his first real teacher who showed him how to live well. No matter what happened in his life, James’ grandfather still showed up every day of his life. James’ grandparents were as much parents to him as his real mother and father.
- James started smoking marijuana in 8th grade, and that quickly escalated to oxycontin and other harder drugs in high school. He sold a considerable amount of drugs at that time and eventually went to jail for dealing drugs.
- James got arrested in 2008 and charged with a violation of the Georgia RICO Act. He was part of an operation that was selling marijuana and Xanax through the mail.
- After that incident was James’ first attempt to get sober. Unfortunately for him, James burned every bridge in his life and life became very dark. He developed a resentment towards God and ultimately was hoping to die from his drug use. This whole time was a three year period of despair.
- The biggest thing holding James back was accepting the truth of who he was and what was happening in his life. James believed that it was everyone else’s fault and wanted to prove everybody wrong. He was at odds with the world, and it wasn’t until he came to grips with the fact that he was molested as a child did James start the path to recovery.
- James’ lowest point was right before he got sober. He remembers a crazy interaction where his drug dealer got into a shootout, and shortly afterward James got pulled over and finally asked for help. After being in jail for two weeks and the withdrawal symptoms passed, James finally felt free.
- The reality was that James needed to change his pattern. The path of reconstruction and healing his wounds was the only way James could achieve peace in his life. Just stopping the drugs and alcohol wasn’t enough.
- None of us can do this alone. Even a star athlete has a support system around them that allows them to perform at that level.
- James’ life is now completely different. When he finally got sober James lived at a homeless shelter where he got the passion he has now to help others. He has made it his mission to help other people and started a sober living program for men. The program started slow but now it’s serving 50 to 60 people at a time.
- Service work is now the most important aspect of James’ life at the moment. The work is what gives James’ life meaning.
- James is most grateful for the guy or girl that wants to get sober. He has found a renewed belief in God and being able to help others recover is the fuel in James’ tank.
- If James could send a message back to himself it would be to keep going and not lose the drive. Stay humble, put your principles into practice, keep growing, and don’t put a limit on what God can do in your life.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The biggest thing that holds people back is the judgment of the world. Addiction doesn’t define you, it’s just a journey to go through. Connection is a powerful piece of the recovery process.
- James’ comeback story shoutout is Spencer Stein, the person who went through the recovery process with James the first time and who is now James’ business partner in helping people.