Roger "Pat" W - Salem, OR
My name is Roger.  I was born in Tillamook, OR, in September of 1960.  Though my mother endured a lifetime of rocky relationship, as I look back, I enjoyed a good childhood.  I didn't realize my mom had been married or remarried and knew nothing of any siblings when at 7 years of age I found out that I actually had other family members; my half brothers suddenly came into my life as they moved in with us.  It was hard for this to be my first contact with them because my parents seemed to pay much more attention to them, and I wasn't the oldest son anymore.  I tried really hard to fit in.  Since my dad paid more attention to them, I wanted to prove to everyone that I was just as good.

My brother Dan and I began to steal cigarettes from mom and dad and go hide somewhere to smoke them.  We would walk to school and hook up with some of Dan's friends; instead of going to class, we'd spend the day hanging out on the street corner.  It was fun handing out with these older guys and by 3rd grade I was smoking pot with them.  Somehow I was always the one getting busted for smoking, but I wanted to be cool so I never listened to my parents.  When I started 7th grade, I began missing school and would spend the day playing pool, foosball or pinball with my best friend Saul.  His older brother sold pot so Saul always had weed.  I was getting into trouble all the time and the more I got into trouble the more I rebelled against my parents.  At the end of 8th grade, my family moved to Colorado and that's when the real trouble began.

By the end of my senior year of high school I was loaded all the time, smoking pot regularly along with cigarettes, drinking beer, using drugs such as cross tops, cocaine, acid, and hallucinogenic mushrooms.  I lost my driver's license for the first time in my senior year of high school for driving under the influence (D.U.I.).  After losing my license I moved back to Oregon so I could get my license back by being in another state.  After getting a job and a place to live I began to think I really had a new start at life. By this time, both my older brothers had made the serious decision to give their lives to God.  They also got married and had kids. So here I was with really no one to hang out with.

It didn't take me long to find weed or beer so I practiced what I knew to cope.  Within the year I got my first D.U.I. in Oregon.  It seemed fortunate for me that it only resulted in a fine.  However, it wasn't long before I received two more D.U.I.'s and lost my license for a full year.  During this year I continued to drive and was caught driving drunk; I got busted and was facing a year in prison.  With the help of a court appointed attorney, I dodged that sentence and was instead given just 30 days in jail and a huge fine, and also lost my driving privileges for 10 years. Here I was with deeper consequences surrounding me and soon I just felt tired of I gave up.  I decided to live on my meager unemployment and move out into the forest.  I was convincing myself that by existing out in the woods alone, I was pulling out of "the system" and in simplicity I would learn to live a better life with better consequences.  All of these consequences and pain within made me contemplative and I began to study alternate religions which was a slippery slope leading me into witchcraft.

I decided I wanted to be a "white witch."  However, under conviction, (probably due in large part to my praying brothers), it dawned on me that my thinking was becoming twisted and I realized that I was on the wrong path.  Soon my unemployment money ran out and I was forced to move into my dad's place again.  Imagine what I looked like emerging from the wilderness!  Soon, I landed a job at Battle Creek Golf Course in the Salem area and worked there for about 10 years.  During that time I started attending church, but only on occasions because I still had a meth problem.  After eight years, my addictive behavior caught up with me again.  My employer, Mary, could no longer ignore the effects of my drug use and its affect on my health condition.  I was becoming a physical and mental wreck, unable to face anyone.  Kindly, Mary "suggested" that I seriously seek professional help. I did take her advice and tried several rehab programs, but only to fall right back into drug use again and again.  As I entered the last rehab program, I made a promise to my boss that if I failed again I would quit my job or accept being fired.  Subsequently I "slipped" once again and I knew that I needed to be honest with her, as she had been such a good supportive friend.  The night it happened I was scared because I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I knew I was going to lose my job, but I just couldn't lie.  I had been attending church more frequently with my older brother Scott.  At this point I knew that I seriously needed real help.  I desperately wanted to improve my life and knew that It would take God's grace and power as my only option.

I was sitting on my couch at 3 in the morning, still wired, wondering what I was going to do.  Was I going to lie and make it through yet one more day, or come clean and lose my job with nowhere to go and no one to turn to?  Then a memory just "popped" into my head (surely the work of the Holy Spirit) about a program that my brother Dan knew of in Portland.  He had mentioned it to my brother Scott.  It was a faith-based recovery program called Freedom House and it helped guys like me.  It was apparent to me at that moment that this was exactly what God wanted me to do.  I wrote a letter of resignation and taped it to my trailer door so I wouldn't have to face anyone.  Then I called Dan and told him of my situation.  We agreed that I needed to contact Freedom House.  I had an interview with Pastor Jim and committed to the program.  The first 3 months seemed to be intense and somewhat frantic after having so little structure in my life.  I now had to keep up with a scheduled routine.  I have adjusted somewhat, though I still struggle a bit in renewing my mind with scripture memory verses.  Overall I can say that I feel very blessed to be here.  I love all of my fellow students who are growing in character along with me, and I am grateful for the caring staff members who work with us daily.  I thank God for Pastor Jim and the leadership of this ministry.  Each one of them are working hard to help build character within each of us.  They know that we have struggled with drug addiction most of our lives and yet they look past all of that and teach us with such passion.  I still have a hard time believing that I am no longer living to get loaded, but loving life as a believer in Christ.  I thank the Lord for all of you who help this place to exist.  I am growing every day.  I really don't know where I'd be without your help. Praise God and thank you for caring!

Grateful to finally be free, Pat W
Roger Pat W successfully completed his one-year commitment to the 
Freedom House Ministries Program on Good Friday, March 21, 2008
becoming Graduate #7
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