Ryan S - Vancouver, WA
Hello, my name is Ryan. I am 18 years old and was born and raised in the Portland-Vancouver area being raised in a Christian family with both of my parents, a brother and a sister.  All three of us kids were home schooled until my mother decided to put us into public school because of our poor cooperation. I was a hand full!  My mother went out and got a job and all of us kids went to public school.

Both growing up in a Christian home and being home schooled made going to public school in the 6th grade a whole new experience for me.  I quickly learned what the worldly definition of “cool” was and gravitated in that direction. This inspired real rebellion in my teenage years.  Poor choices began with wrong friends, disobeying my parents, bad music, etc.  Soon I was smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol, and taking massive amounts of over-the-counter pills containing dextromethorphan HBr, also known as DXM.  After my first use, DXM became my drug of choice instantly.  Besides the common problems that all drug and alcohol abuse causes, there was a very serious downside to this medication.  You can overdose on DXM more easily than you can with “Ecstasy”.  Also, because DXM can be obtained over-the-counter in cold medications; it is so easy to get it in large amounts.  A lot of kids in the Northwest area began to overdose immediately after the discovery of this new drug and I began a history of life threatening overdoses as one of those kids. My first overdose incident resulted in getting kicked out of high school.  I then decided to just get my GED.  After I obtained it, I had nothing to do at all during daytime, school hours.  At sixteen, all of my friends were still in school while I was sitting at home alone. I decided to pass the time by getting high regularly.  In a matter of months, I jumped from taking three pills to as many as sixty pills.  As a result, I began ending up in the hospital almost every other weekend due to overdoses.  This was tearing my parents and family up.  Over time, I was put on probation for domestic crimes that I committed which were related to my drug abuse.   I was now being put into juvenile detention, drug rehabilitation programs, and psychological wards quite often.

By the time I was eighteen, I had been through over fifteen institutions of some kind.  I was so depressed  and life didn’t seem to matter at all.  I made many suicide attempts requiring hospitalization, all this being related to the wrong decisions and ignoring the Biblical truths that I grew up with.  One suicide attempt resulted in a deep coma in which I was given only a fifteen percent chance of life with the real possibility of a liver transplant and kidney dialysis in my future.  This prognosis was a result of the effects that were caused by a four-and-a-half hour long seizure. As you can see, my life was on the line. Yet, after all of this, I still wanted to get high.  So the cycle of juvenile detentions, rehabs, and hospitalizations continued until I got extremely drunk and high one day, covered my parents house and myself with gasoline, and fired rounds from a 380 semi-automatic pistol trying to ignite the house and myself.  This led to getting “tazered” by the police and then placed in one more psychological ward. At this point, I was finally broken.

I decided to do whatever it would take to get my mess of a life turned around.  There was a battle with discouragement because I had felt this way and made promises several times before, but that was always when I was high.  I had heard about Freedom House Ministries while going through my extensive series of secular rehabilitation centers. The fact that it was faith-based caught my attention, so I decided to try it.  During this time of brokenness, I was still in the mental health facility and some form of aftercare was required for release.  So I got information and made phone calls to get the ball rolling.  This plan satisfied both the psychiatrists and myself.  By God’s grace, I was released from the ward and admitted into the one-year program.  I made the decision to press in and get as much out of this program as I could possibly get while in Freedom House.  I accepted Christ into my life and was filled with a true passion for His name and His ways.  The more I grow in learning about Christ and Biblical principles the more complete I feel within.  I am hungry to learn about Him through His Word and walk in His will and ways.  This fulfillment has reached a place with the depths of my soul that no drug could ever reach.  God has also filled me with a passion to reach the lost and to help the hard cases, those who think that nothing can save them.  God’s grace and loving kindness are far bigger than the worst of problems we could ever experience.

My new goals for the future include: growing up into the purpose and plan for my life that the Lord has held in mind from the very beginning, --- working towards the restoration of broken relationships with my family, whose love and trust I have violated so many times in my past, --- and getting involved in some kind of ministry service that opens the door for broken-hearted men and women to have intimacy with God our Father.

I feel called to share the truth and bring the freedom of the gospel of Christ to broken people in their present condition.  I am so incredibly thankful for what God has done for me and what He continues to do while here in the care of this ministry.  He is bringing freedom to my life and the several other students here; people that the world thinks no one can save!  I am also extremely grateful for all the faithful ones who make this possible by donating, volunteering time and working towards one common goal of reaching the broken through the power of Christ.  Your caring generosity and support made it possible for me to be here and I want you to know that you are appreciated. Thank you all so much for helping me find a way out of my confusion and helping to bring spiritual, emotional, mental and physical freedom into my life. God bless you!
                                                                                                                                                             In Him, Ryan S
Ryan successfully completed his one-year commitment to the
Freedom House Ministries Program
on November 7, 2008 becoming Graduate #10