Dustin B - Boring, OR
I finished off the last two years of middle school in a Christian private school, which caused me to feel separated and restricted from the “real world.”  This resulted in rebellion against authority throughout high school, feeding intrigue and curiosity within about the very same lifestyle my parents once lived.  My defiant heart condition manifested itself as I began dating a girl named Dayna. I soon got her pregnant and had a daughter with her during my senior year of high school. Doing this was a major let down to Dayna’s family, my own family and myself. I resolved to try my best to make good out of a very bad situation. I sure wasn’t ready for a child by any means.

I graduated high school filled with worry as to what my future would entail. Because of this nightmare, my once healthy relationship with Dayna’s mother was severely damaged. My only hope to foster restoration was to faithfully meet the needs of our newborn child. This was exceptionally challenging because Dayna’s mother wanted absolutely no association with me whatsoever. She would lock me out of their apartment on a regular basis, trying to limit all contact with Dayna and the child. She eventually managed to get me kicked off the property for good. My hopes were dashed to pieces and I was incredibly torn apart, wanting to be, but unable to be a good dad. Everything really seemed hopeless.

At this time I desperately needed the comfort and support of my parents. My father suggested that I move to Oregon, where he and my mother had relocated.  During the fall of 1996, I made the transition to live with my parents in Boring, Oregon. Within a year, I managed to get a job, move out and become independent. Things were starting to clear up.  I met a girl named Bonnie and we began dating during the summer of ’98 and we moved in together shortly after. Our relationship was rather rocky at times but we always managed to work out our frustrations. Less than a year after we began this relationship, I repeated the same behavior I displayed in Hawaii, as if once wasn’t enough... triggering a massive downhill spiral. She got pregnant and on August 24, 2000 “My Little Angel” Chelsea was born.  During this time I began to use methamphetamines to medicate my extreme worry about all of our future. Living loaded kept me disillusioned to the harsh reality of my situation.  I thought this spun out life style would make these seemingly immense problems smaller and more bearable.  I was so wrong.

Meth took me down a dark and dreary road, one that was personally unknown to me but not completely unfamiliar. This life I was now getting deeply involved in, reminded me of what I saw in the lives of my parents as they battled with addiction; however, I never thought I’d be in the same shoes one day, experiencing for myself the heartache that once separated my family.  I decided it was best to keep this hidden from those I loved. It was “my little secret.”

After a short while, due to my actions and behaviors, this secretive lifestyle became evident to those who cared for me. My addiction was exposed for what it was and my life began to fall apart quickly. I could no longer hold a full-time job and Bonnie broke up with me.  Now I needed to find another adequate job to support not only myself but my obsession with meth. I decided to venture into the Oregon forests on an occasional basis to disassociate myself with my mistakes and to chop firewood illegally for spending money. This type of work seemed to go hand in hand with my addiction. I continued this secluded lifestyle for about four years until the law finally caught up with me.

A forest ranger spotted me hauling a load of wood, became suspicious and stopped me. Through investigation he found out that I’d been driving without a license, without insurance and had been cutting wood illegally for profit. He also discovered that this wasn’t my first time. Somehow this officer heard that I had a meth addiction as well and he became compassionate, caring for my well being. He wanted to do whatever he could to help me. The odds were stacked against me and he knew that. I was facing two major fines which I had no way of paying and I had an addiction that was much too strong for me. The officer influenced the judge and district attorney to allow me an alternative sentence that included being prohibited from the any NW forests for a year, 50 hours of community service, and completion of a recovery program of my choice. The district attorney had a heart for my situation as well and gathered information for me on some potential programs. This is how I heard about Freedom House. I agreed that it was time to make some serious changes in my life. I chose to come to Freedom House because it was faith-based and I knew undoubtedly it would take God to change someone like me. I entered Freedom House on April 2nd of 2008.

Since being here, I have come to know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. He has begun to transform me from within, not only in my outward actions, but deep in my heart. I’m getting far more here than I ever anticipated.  I’ve discovered that God has held a specific plan for my life from the very beginning of time. What a revelation! Now I’m starting to walk in this divine purpose and my life is beginning to have deeper meaning and purpose.

Pastor Jim is an anointed teacher and has been such a positive influence by instructing and guiding me in my daily walk. He consistently offers sound wisdom and sets a godly example for all of us here. The day to day structure has really helped teach me to obey and follow guidelines even when my flesh wants to go the other way. In other words, I’m learning a lot of self-control. Our other class time is great as well. The homework is really insightful and helps me to think deeply on ways that I can improve my character. Overall, the studying and activities here have helped me come to know God more intimately and is progressively working to renew my mind according to God’s word.  Now, this is not to say that I haven’t had some real challenges here too. The level of accountability required here caught me off guard as I first got acquainted with the program. It stretched me beyond my comfort zone.  Getting God’s Word inside through scripture memorization also challenged me to discipline myself to study hard, which I wasn’t very accustomed to doing before I came in.  

Giving up control was probably the biggest challenge I’ve faced since I’ve been here. This meant that I couldn’t talk to or see my daughter as much as I would like to. God desires obedience from the heart as well as surrender and I know that He has used these challenges to bring me to a place of humility in which I’m able to give up my own will for the sake of His perfect will.

Some of my successes beyond memorizing scripture, have been in becoming sensitive to the Holy Spirit and allowing God to continually work on my heart. My prayer life is growing and so has my personal close relationship with Jesus. Though I know I have a long way to go, my family have been here over the months and as they evaluate, they see some changes in me.

In the future, I expectantly look forward to what God is going to do in and through my life. I anticipate being a good role model and a godly father to my daughter as I grow and mature in the Lord. I have a strong sense that the relationships damaged by addiction and heartache will one day be healed and fully restored to the capacity God intended!

I’m very grateful for Pastor Jim, Lynn, Gordon and other staff as well as my family’s unconditional love and even the officer who showed true concern which eventually led me here. Their genuine care and support have been such a blessing!  I’m also greatly thankful to all those who’ve made this possible by supporting and sponsoring the operation of Freedom House.  Such generosity has gone further to change my life and heart than can be measured in dollars and cents. Ultimately, I have the utmost gratitude to God for pulling me out of my drug induced stupor and despair to ultimately revealing to me what genuine life and freedom is all about. He is worthy of all thanksgiving and praise. Glory to our Lord and Savior, Jesus.  Praise God!

                                                                                                                                                 Free at last,  Dustin B
  Dustin successfully completed is one-year commitment to
 Freedom House Ministries Program on May 10, 2009
becoming Graduate # 13

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