Wade Hunt had a reputation as one of Sale’s worst ice addicts. Years of addiction, drug running, crime and homelessness ended with a six month jail sentence. There, in his cell, Wade turned his heart to Jesus and transformation began to take place.
I was 13-years-old when I first tried drugs. I had suffered severe depression and social anxiety ever since I could remember and marijuana was my way out. My drug use escalated at the age of 14 when I lost four mates within three months. Marijuana was the only way I knew how to cope emotionally.
Using led to dealing, which led to meeting people who were taking a lot more than marijuana. By the age of 15, I had progressed to speed and ecstasy. It wasn’t long before I was using every weekend.
Despite my addiction, I did well at school and was offered academic scholarships. But as my drug dependency grew, I dropped out of school and lost every scholarship I won, including to one of the most prestigious colleges in Victoria.
Despite coming from a great family, I left home and sunk further into the drug lifestyle. Selling drugs was a way of making money. As I sold more, I used more, experimented more, and eventually turned to ice. The decline was rapid.
In 2012 I was a complete addict. I was smoking $1500 worth a day. I also found myself at City Builders Church. I had met a few people from the church and decided to come along.
The first sermon I heard from Pastor Brian was about how Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted. Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice of His life to cleanse us. I remember thinking someone had been speaking to him about me and everything I had done.
The precision of the message was confronting; so was the amount of genuine love people had for me from the moment I walked in. I wasn’t expecting it and I didn’t understand it, so it was easier for me to pass it off as fake.
After this, my life took a very bad turn. I started selling more and got involved with guns and robberies. I was raided by police and charged with trafficking cannabis and methamphetamines, as well as weapons charges. Yet the reality still didn’t hit me. I even sold drugs outside the courthouse while waiting for my charge.
My rock bottom came when I broke up with my girlfriend. I gave up on life. I stopped selling, my income dried up and I became homeless. For the next 12 to 18 months I was squatting in abandoned buildings and committing robberies so I could eat.
During this time I was charged by police for a myriad of crimes. The charges mounted up and ended with me being imprisoned for 6 months.
That was my turning point.
Halfway through my prison sentence I picked up a Bible. The seed planted by Ps Brian five years previous still resonated with me.
Every time I was locked alone in my cell, I would get my Bible out. I was looking for answers, and even though I wasn’t sure, I felt like that was the place answers could be found.
Approaching the end of my sentence, a prison buddy propositioned me to take over his drug business on my release. It was a highly lucrative opportunity. I was conflicted about what course of action I should take. I knew if I did what I had always done I might make a lot of money, but I would end up back in jail or dead within 12 months. Or I could change. I knew the only way to help me change and connect with God was to get back to church.
As it came time to leave prison, I became more nervous about how I would be received at church and what people would think of me.
But my first Sunday out of prison I walked through the doors and it was like coming home.
Everyone was so loving and encouraging. It allowed me to feel comfortable to open my heart to Jesus.
Over a short period my anxiety dropped away, as did my depression. I had no withdrawals coming off drugs and was the happiest I had been in my life. Finally I was at peace.
God sent His only Son to die for us and with that blood we are washed clean. Any sin, any mistake, no matter how far gone you are – God loves you and has a place for you. All we have to do is allow Him to come in.