Darla, DJ’s mother, worried why she was getting frantic calls throughout the night from his friends, asking how he was. After all, last time she checked, he was upstairs asleep in his bed. What she didn’t know was that he had been shot in a drug deal gone bad and was lying in his bed, wounded. The next morning she learned the truth about what had happened. Somehow DJ was OK despite the fact that a bullet had gone clear through his shoulder, missing his skull by inches. There was even evidence in the way of a bullet hole in her truck. DJ was lucky this time, but she knew that it was only a matter of time before his luck would run out. In fact, there were times she felt so hopeless about DJ’s drug addiction that she had selected which songs to be played at his funeral.
For years, it had been the same pattern. DJ would disappear for long periods of time – periods when his mother didn’t even know if he was alive or dead. Finally she got a tracking device placed on his phone so that even if he didn’t call, she could track if he was moving and where he was moving to. She figured that if the tracking device was still working, he was still alive.
“I cried myself to sleep almost every night, and I prayed and prayed. One time I located him via the GPS a block from our house. I drove all around the neighborhood but couldn’t find him. I pulled over to a church parking lot, crying and praying at the same time. I called him and begged him to call me back. When he finally answered he said he would meet me at our house. What I didn’t know is that one of his connections lived a few blocks from the house and that is where he had been – getting drugs.
From time to time, he tried to clean himself up. He would come home, stay a few days and get some sleep. But he always left again, sometimes for months.”
But, after he got shot, even DJ knew that it was time to do something. He had seen so many of his friends go to 30 day rehabs, only to return home and use drugs the very next day. He had told his mother through the years, “Don’t waste your money.”
However, there was one person DJ knew who had stayed clean after drug treatment, his friend John. All DJ knew is that his friend went to a drug rehab somewhere around Atlanta, stayed for four months, came back home clean and never used drugs again. DJ wanted to go to this place if they could find it. DJ’s mother knew John and knew that he had had a severe drug problem. “I thought that if this place could help John, as bad off as he had been, then it could certainly help my son.”
Darla searched through the internet to find this magical place. But the only clue she had was that it was a four month program. She thought she had found it, packed DJ in the car and headed for Atlanta. But once they arrived at the rehab and DJ received his intake interview he told his mother “This is not the right place – I know it’s not and I’m not staying here.” Determined to get the treatment that he wanted, DJ called John and put his mother on the phone. When she asked John for the name of the treatment center that had helped him so much, he started crying.
“John started crying – he was so happy that DJ was going to get help. He told me the name of the place. It was Narconon . Amazingly, we were right down the road from it and we drove right there.
DJ was responsive from the beginning. He learned how the sauna and life skills programs worked. This made sense to him and he checked in. He completed the program and has been clean ever since.”
That was three years ago and a lot has changed for DJ.
He has custody of 2 of his sons ages 5 and 3 and they live with him full time. His mother reports that he is a great single dad. On top of being a single full time parent he runs a successful business.
After he completed the program, DJ finally completed a project that he had been working on for years, when he was on methamphetamine.
He built a car that won first prize in a huge car show.
This was a car that he worked and worked on while he was on methamphetamines, but could never complete.
His mother recalls the car lying in pieces. “While he was on meth DJ would tear his car up over and over. When he left for rehab, the car was sitting in pieces. Within the first year of being out of rehab he put the car together and won top prize at a huge car show. In three years he has opened a body shop and he does the car shows for his hobby.”
Just recently Darla sent another person to the same treatment center. She learned that the fiancé of one of her relatives was addicted to crack. Though Darla did not know the girl or the family well, she knew what she had to do. “I knew I had to offer this help to this girl and I did. It was as though God put this message in my heart and I couldn’t’ ignore it. I felt I had a direct line to God and I was being told to help her. After she graduated and I knew she is going to make it, I couldn’t have been happier.”
Darla has helped to save the lives of two individuals, but doesn’t want to take all the credit “I want to give thanks for the remarkable change in DJ’s life and Kate’s life to God. I truly believe that through the power of prayer, God guided us to the wonderful people at Narconon who helped DJ professionally once he got there. There really are angels on this earth and several of them work at Narconon.”
What would Darla say to other families facing the same tragic situation she was in three years ago? “If I can know that I have just helped even one family by telling you this story, I would be repaid. I want them to know that there is hope – there really is.”