From Our Graduates
My name is Johnathan Layne and my darkness started very early. When I was 9 or 10 years, my dad gave me something, but it wasn’t a ball glove or a bicycle. It was a pain pill. Now he wasn’t a bad dad or even a bad man. I loved my dad. He was my world. I wanted to be just like him. That was the problem. So with that came growing up in the drug house or, some people might call it a trap house. Now we call it the world, but I just called it home. So growing up in that came drugs, and with drugs comes money, women, and popularity. I was addicted to being popular just as much as I was the drugs. I liked being able to control people and, in that life, when you have the money and drugs, you can control whoever you want. So time goes on and, just a bunch more darkness and drugs are in my life and, Satan is just giving me everything I want so that he can use it to destroy me later. I meet a girl and fall in love, and she gets pregnant. Just to give you an idea of where I was at in the world. I was not ready for a kid and, I knew it. The baby was a son and, he didn’t make it. He dies and, everyone is telling me how sorry they are. But I wasn’t upset I was relieved. I didn’t have to worry about buying diapers. I could buy dope. That’s how awful I was and how tight a grip Satan had on me. So more time passes and, I start to get tired of living this way. You know, I took pills and did dope to have fun and get high. That was all fun and good for a season, but eventually, I got to where I had to take pills and do dope just to get back to normal. For my body to function or just to be able to get out of bed, I had to do drugs first. No one wants to live like that. They just don’t know any other way to live yet. So Kara gets pregnant again with my daughter and, I decide I’m going to change. So I come up with all the wordly solutions. I move out of the drug house, get an apartment, and get myself a job. I am fixing everything on the outside and, I’m not doing a thing for the inside. That never works, I promise. I also get on something called suboxone. Suboxone is a drug they give you to get off drugs, which makes no sense. I will say this about suboxone even if you are the one percent of people that can take it the right way. It’s still not true freedom. I don’t have to have ANYTHING anymore. I don’t even drink coffee anymore. So with all this, I am just an awful person. I put my poor mama through hell, I neglect my kid and her mother, and I do not care about anything but me. That’s what addiction has to offer you. I finally end up in jail with drug and assault charges, and my preacher walks into the jail cell and asks me if I was tired. I said yes, I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. He told me he knew about this place called RSM that was changing people’s lives. I said, let’s do it. I came up here, and within two days of being here, I got saved and baptized and fixed everything on the inside this time. Ever since then, God has been blessing me to death. Not only is my four-year-old daughter waiting on her daddy, but God has also blessed me with another beautiful baby girl. My mama has never been more proud of her son. My kids’ mother has got saved and gave her life to the Lord since I have been at RSM because she saw how good God is working in my life. God has shown me my calling in life, which is to teach God’s word and help drug addicts who are just like I was. Luke chapter 2 says, ”I must be about my father’s business”. That’s what I am going to do. Whatever God wants me to because He saved my life. I should be in hell with my back broke right now. But I’m not because of His grace and mercy. I give Him all the honor, glory, and praise for it all. I thank Jesus every day, and I thank RSM for introducing me to Him!
My name is Josh McGhee I’m 32 years old and I’m from Gate City Va I was raised in a good Christian home, where I never needed or wanted for anything . My parents dragged me to church anytime the doors was open. But that didn’t stop the devil from getting in. When I turned 14 I started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and just like most addicts I know we all started out smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. By age 15 i was already using pain and nerve pills. Those type pills was easier to hide from everyone. By age 16 I was put in alternative ed school for 1 year for getting caught drinking alcohol on school grounds. I graduated in 2006 and was able to get a good job at Eastmen chemical but due to my staying out all night and getting high I quickly lost that job and every job I’ve ever had due to my addiction. Going through a bad break up in 2012 I was introduced to IV drug use. That’s when I lost all control of my life. It went continuously down hill. Meth and heroine completely destroyed my dreams. To keep my addiction up I started selling drugs and stealing from my family and friends. That quickly lead to being arrested numerous times. With the shame and the guilt that I carried I hated my life and I hated the person I had turned into, so I tried to take my life several times. However God Wasn’t done with me yet … and on January 23, 2020 the Holy Spirit working through a judge ended up sending me to RSM instead of four years in prison, and I thank God that he did! Since then God has taken my shame and guilt that I had carried and he’s replaced it with joy peace and happiness and he lets me know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Through RSM God is restoring the relationship with my loved ones . On June 6, 2020 I Rededicated my life and was Baptized. Since then Gods has been blessing me everyday. He has put good Godly counsel in my life That’s teaching me how to be the Godly man I was always intended to be, I thank God every day for RSM because without RSM I wouldn’t be here today. And I know as long as I keep my eyes on him he’s going to take care of everything I need!
My name is Titus. I’m 34 years old. I’ve struggled with addiction for 16 years. I started off just drinking at parties and smoking weed trying to fit in, because that’s what everyone else was doing or so I thought. But it didn’t stop there. I started taking pills and that lead to crystal meth. I was just using on the weekends, but then it started being a everyday process. I would lie, cheat, and steal just to feed my addiction which lead me in and out of jail. I had been in numerous drug rehabilitation centers. I would stay clean for a little while then I was right back to using again. Finally I was tired of living the way I was, so I prayed to God to please help me and give me strength to quit using. Then I was told about Recovery Soldiers Ministry. I went to RSM. It was very structured, a lot of rules, and 3 Bible studies a day. Within a month I was saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and baptized. That’s when it all started. God changed me from the inside out and set me free. I graduated from Recovery Soldiers May 4, 2019, and now I am 2 years clean. I give all the credit to God. I got my license back, and I now have a good job. I have a home church I go to every time the doors are open. I’m so thankful for Recovery Soldiers Ministry. They really showed me a new way to live, and that’s through Jesus Christ. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not own thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”-Titus Swafford
My name is Chad Race. I’m 36yrs old,I came into rsm completely broken with all my dreams shattered me and my wife had lost our for kids Due to are drug use. And our marriage was on the brink of divorce. I went through RSM and graduated within that time frame God restored our marriage allowed us to have our children back in our lives with full custody. It’s now been a year since I graduated God has given us a home God has given us too good running vehicles our bills are always on time and our marriage is totally focused on Christ Our Kids Now sing praise songs and we pray together daily God continues to do Miracles daily in our life I cannot thank God enough for the restoration he’s done and the great work recovery soldiers Ministries has done for us they planted seed in us that continually grows and I’m so grateful for the seeds that were sown to God be the glory.
I was in bondage with meth for about 8 years and had been in and out of jail, just from doing drugs and not caring about what happened just as long as I got high. I was in jail two years ago and I had had enough of it. I started reading my Bible everyday, praying for rehab, and waiting to go there. I was turned away three times because of my medication I was prescribed, I took a lot of medication for heart issues and mental health problems so I completed six month sentence and got out of jail just to get right back on drugs after two months. I ended up right back in jail. The jail chaplain told me about RSM after I had been in jail four months, I got accepted into RSM and I have been sober for 16 months. The jail chaplain David Berry and my family are proud of me. On October 3, 2020 I came home to help David Berry at Recover All, sequatchie valley community kitchen, and with anger management class. I have a class every night, I also attend church and help everyone I can do if anyone had a drug problem I’ll be there to tell them that there is hope. If I can do it, anyone can! I’m 55 years old and been doing drugs for 40 years and wanted to stop but couldn’t do anything about it, but after I went to RSM and got closer to the Lord, he gave me the power to overcome drugs and drinking and whatever I come into I know with God I can do anything so as long as I walk in Christ and help others. The blessings I get from helping is my blessing! I thank RSM for helping me turn my life around and I am so happy for being a doer of the word and not only a hearer.
Thank you, William Hulsey
My name is Tanner Lockhart and I am 21 years old. For 6 years I have lived in the bondage of addiction from pain meds addiction through IV use to methamphetamines addiction through IV use, you name it, I’ve been through it. It all started when my brother passed away, I started using drugs to cope with the loss of my brother. It was hard because he was the only father figure I ever had in my life. My dad was never around. He always said he would come around but never showed up. But my Heavenly Father says He will never leave nor forsake me and His Word is transforming me more and more every day. Jesus Christ has truly changed my life since I’ve been here at Recovery Soldiers Ministries. It hasn’t been easy but I can’t wait to see what all God has in store in my life. I thank God and RSM for all they have done for me.
My name is Hubert Hatfield I’m 24 years old and my story really begins at about the age of 14. I started off smoking cigarettes and drinking occasionally and it led me into doing harder drugs and by the time I was 18 years old I started using methamphetamine. I sold everything that I had to get this drug. I abandoned all of my friends and family just to continue getting high. At the age of 23 I had been through 9 rehab centers graduated and relapsed every time. what I was missing in my life was a relationship with Jesus Christ. all those times I would graduate the rehab centers I would just come out and addict without a fix. Jesus Christ was the game changer for me. on September 23, 2018 I came to RSM thinking that I was going to repeat the process that had already failed so many times but this was different. Around three months into my stay here at Recovery Soldiers Ministries. God started putting a new fire in my heart and instead of wanting to graduate I started wanting what all these pastors have that come and teach us I wanted to seek the face of God, I wanted to change my life. So I began working towards that goal. I am now one year and six months clean and the marketing director for the recovery soldiers ministries thanks to the grace of God. I’ve got my family back and God gave me a new set of friends but most of all I’ve got the love of Christ in my heart and I’m going to heaven. I am now ready to go out and share what God is done in my life and the miracle he performed in me. To God be all glory honor and praise.
My addiction started when I was 14 and my mother got sick with cancer. She didn’t die from it, but it was still hard to watch her go through it. I didn’t know how to deal with it, so I dealt with it with drugs then I dealt with the bondage of the needle for 10 years. I found myself walking down the road pushing my duffle bag of clothes on my skateboard and reality hit that my life was in shambles. BUT GOD!! Led me to Recovery Soldiers Ministries to meet my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, it was hard at first but when I finally gave myself to God fully it was easy, and I have had fun 90% of the time I’ve been here. With anything in life you’re going to have trials and tribulations but Proverbs 24:16 says, “for a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again, but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” I’ve been clean for a year now and I give all the glory to God! Don’t even clap for me. I’ve got a job waiting on me when I get out of R.S.M. I’ve also got a home church where my sister and stepdad go. They trust the Holy Spirit inside of me enough to let me live at their house and not bring chaos. Praise God! The best way I can serve God is to be obedient to what He says because He will open the doors He wants me to go through and I’ll have endless opportunities.
My name is Brandon Turner and I have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for 12 years are used to have a good life growing up I was raised in church my grandparents made sure that I was always in church but as I grew older and drifted away I started desiring the things of the world after high school I went on to pursue my career as a mechanic after going through technical school I came back to my hometown to work as a mechanic But it was onOctober the 30th of 2000 a night that my life changed I was getting ready for work one morning watch my dad foul and have a stroke they claimed his life which sent me into a downhill spiral I started experimenting with different drugs and partying to cope with the pain and suffering of losing my father but Over the next several years I managed to take and catch many different felony charges but I’ve kept noticing over the Several years did the same thing keep occurring over and over and over again so September 2017 I found myself in jail again this time I decided to try something different December 2017 I came to recovery soldiers Minastery’s where I was taught the word of God and where I built A relationship with God I never knew that the whole that I kept trying to fill with the things of the world was a God sized hole and I could only feel with the things of God I have now been graduated from RSM 16 months I was also blessed with the last seven months of my program with a job in Pooner‘s garage and recycling in Elizabethton where I have now been there working for almost 2Years I also go to church at heartland Fellowship also in Elizabethton where I take and run the soundboard at my church also on Wednesday nights I help teach a youth group on our youth out reach it we do I now have a relationship with my family again I now know that I have a purpose in life and it is for God to use me for his glory Bible says in second Corinthians 517 if any man be in Christ he is a new creation old things are passed away behold all things become new.
I was in the cruel bondage of addiction for over a decade, it began years ago when I was introduced to cocaine and prescription drugs that were not prescribed to me. After this my addiction progressed to anything and everything I could get my hands on to sell for a profit to feed my addiction. This eventually led me to destroy my life and all of those around me especially those who loved me the most. After years of the revolving door of the corrections system and hitting the rock at the bottom hard enough to finally look up and ask for HELP! The next thing I recall after crying out to Jesus is a jail house minister handing me a bible. The proverb in chapter 22 verse 6 now comes to mind “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will never depart from it. My aunts, uncles, and grandparents had taken me to church and told me about Jesus growing up and I recalled what to do Pray. On that cold jail house floor I had a change of heart as described in Ezekiel 36:26 and I drew close to god and He drew close to me as it is written in James 4:8. That night I asked for help and God provided it in the form of RSM (be careful what you pray for…) all jokes aside God showed up and showed out in a miraculous way and blessed me with the opportunity to come to RSM. This discipleship program gave me the combination of love and structure I needed to grow as a babe in Christ while saturating me with the word of God. I’ve now been clean for about a year now by His grace and with the help of His Holy Spirit I am confidante that I will be successful in my recovery. RSM has helped me write Gods word on my heart so that I may not sin against him and I am thankful for the lifelong friends I have found here. I plan on using what I have learned here to help others, the main part of my testimony verses come out of Mark 5 and at the end of the account in 5:19 the lord told the now made whole man to go home and tell his friends about the compassion and great things the Lord had done for him and that’s what I plan to do. I pray every day that the lord will reveal my calling but as for now I plan to teach and speak about what the Lord has done for me and help others find Christ. RSM has also help me find a way into trade school so that I can further better myself.
I was in a world full of sin and darkness, I was doing numerous sorts of things I chose to live a life full of nothing, by being In bondage, I wasn’t living, I was only existing in a world full of sin. My addiction had robbed me of my friends, family, cars, money. It had taken everything from me. When I first walked into Recovery Soldiers Ministries, I didn’t know what to expect. I only knew 2 things. I had to make a change and put forth everything that I’ve got and only God could help me do it. It took the mighty hand of God to put my broken pieces together. I had gone so long without knowing my Lord and Savior that I didn’t know how much love he had for me. But like the prodigal son, He welcomed me and gave me a new life far better than I was ever able to give myself. I now get to study the Holy word of God and teach it to my brothers in Christ. By the grace of God I have a year clean, I’m saved, and will tell everyone of the work He has done in my life. Luke14:23 says “ And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” Amen
My story really begins at the age of 4 when my parents got divorced. It wasn’t until I was 14 that this really began to bother me. By the age of 15 I was drinking and by the time I was 18 I had already been convicted of 2 DUIs. At this point I dove deeper and deeper into my addiction and at 24 I was in full blown meth addiction causing my dad to shut down his construction business because I showed more interest in drugs than the business. I spent one year in jail and stayed clean for a year after I was released. Then I relapsed for a while and didn’t get clean until I decided to go back to church in 2012. However when I stopped going to church I slipped back into my old ways like a dog returns to its vomit. May 9, 2018 I got arrested for failing a drug screen at probation. While in jail the Lord started dealing with my heart and the scales fell from my eyes and what I saw was that I was 36 and all I’ve got left is a severe drug and alcohol addiction; and my kids will not live with me; and I needed a Savior. August 13, 2018 I came to Recovery Soldiers Ministries and began to get into God’s word and apply it to my life, and that’s what started my transformation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Throughout this ministry I have encountered many toils and snares and have had many days where I wanted to give up and quit but God got me through it all and called me for a higher purpose. Today I thank God for a sound mind to be able to serve God by building a new church here at RSM. When I graduate I will be able to minister to my family and show them the work that God has done in my life as well as be the best father to my children and the son God called me to be. The truth is I plan to do God’s will for my life.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
My name is Josh Lovette. Darkness came into my life at an early age of 4 years old when my father took his own life in a room above me and my mother. Even though my mom remarried a good man who I call dad today I felt empty inside. I never wanted for anything. No matter how much love I was shown I rejected it. I was unlovable because of the anger resentment I felt towards my dad for leaving me and my mom. At 12 years old I tried to fill that emptiness by smoking pot. At 14 years old I tried my first pain pill this blinded me to what I thought I was missing inside I was a shy person and the pills made me confident. By 16 years old I had a needle hanging out of my arm and by 18 years old I was so strung out on needle dope the world told me in order to get better was to go to a methadone clinic, but I know the only way the truth and the life and that’s Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can free you from the bondage of addiction. Methadone is straight from the pits of hell. You see Satan cannot drive out Satan. On methadone I was more strung out and done more drugs than I had ever before. During this time I was married. God was not in this marriage. We were both fueled by addiction, but God did bless me with my beautiful daughter. After a few years we were divorced and in order to mask the pain I turned to Meth. Meth consumed my soul in darkness, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do to get it. I used people, I stole from my family, I broke my mommas heart. I was so strung out on dope that I signed custody of my daughter over to my mother because I’d rather get high than take care of my child. I was in and out of jail, I missed Christmas and birthday’s. When the good Lord led me to RSM I was completely broken, I was 85lbs. working my next shot of dope up hoping it would kill me, but God had a better plan for me, because let me tell ya what Jesus says : Blessed are the poor in spirit for there’s is the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s because of God that I’m alive today. it’s because of God that my family is restored , and I’m no longer living in darkness and shame, it’s because of God I have love, joy, peace, happiness and self control like I’ve never had before. It’s because of God I’ve been free from the bondage of addiction over 3 years now and He keeps blessing me I have a job my own home and I don’t want for anything because He supplies it all. If God be for us who can be against us! But I’m not gonna stop there you know who’s gonna try that’s the devil of hell but now there’s a difference the blood of Jesus Christ has been applied. No matter where I go ! No matter where I fall Jesus is right there with me holding my hand. The devil has no power he don’t even have the keys to his own house. The Holy Spirit leads my life and convicts me when I’m wrong and when I am I hit my knees cry out to God Almighty and He delivers me. I thank the Lord for RSM and using Pastor J , Brother Ben , and Sister Marley to show me the love of Christ and teaching me that there’s a better life in Him. Glory to God!!
In the book of Isaiah 59:10 it says this we grout for the wall like the blind and we grow up as if we had no eyes we stumble at noon day as in the night we are in desolate places as dead man.
I was that blind dead man stumbling over all the world had to offer money, cars, women, clothes, and most of all drugs.
My name is Jeff Tester and I’m 40 years old my addiction started when I was around 11 but my darkness started Way before that. My dad was a bad alcoholic and let’s just say he had a temper when he got drunk. He was abusive sometimes to mainly my mom. I remember trying to stop it one day and he hit me that fueled my hatred for the world and everyone in it. So I went to school and I used to fight a lot I would fight at least one time every day I’m not blaming my dad for my behaviors but it didn’t help matters any. I started selling marijuana around the age of 11 and I became addicted to the adrenaline rush of getting away with something that I know I shouldn’t have done and knowing I could’ve got in a lot of trouble for it then it became about the money then eventually it was the drugs themselves I found myself skipping school around 12 or 13 going to my so-called friends house and cooking crack. I’ve sold and done drugs all my life and would do anything that would alter me from the neck up. I was so wrapped up in my addiction it became a lifestyle a way of life. This lifestyle landed me in and out of jail more times than I can count. I have three beautiful children like but like everything else in my life that I cared about I threw them away. People in addiction say they lost this and they’ve lost that I never lost anything I knew where it went I chose to throw it away in 2010 my mom got sick. Around 2013 is when I move down here I came down here to help my dad with my mom and to try to out run my self and my addiction. But there’s a cold hard fact that I found out and that is everywhere you go there you are. I found myself doing the same thing just with different people. I neglected the care of my terminally sick mother and in 2016 she finally passed away. I hated God for taking her I told myself the reason I didn’t go see her in the hospital in those last few days as I wanted to remember her as she was with no tubes in her throat or anything like that but her smiling calling me her baby boy. But when I realized it wasn’t god that I hated it was myself I hated me I had become a monster so I tried to kill myself apparently it didn’t work God has bigger plans for me. I ended up in jail a few more times after that the last time I was in jail I realized I was tired of the life I was leading and most of all I was tired from running from God.
So when I went to court I told the judge I need help I told him that if he sent me to prison I would get out and do the same thing over again he agreed and he sent me to rehab but it’s not your average rehab it was recovery soldiers ministries it Faith based I got here August 8, 2018 and for the first time in a long time I remembered I was kind of scared because it was all new to me jail never scared me I knew what to expect there but like it says in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. After I realize that I didn’t have to be scared because I wasn’t alone the Lord grab me quick in on August 20, 2018 I was saved and baptized I confess Jesus Christ is my Lord and the king of my life now I have forgiven myself for the awful things that I’ve done in my life into the lives of those around me I forgiven my dad I no longer have to walk around with my head held down in shame because he’s teaching me to walk in the light and like Jesus says in John 8:12 I am the light of the world hear that follow with me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life. I’m happy to say that God through this program has pulled me up out of that mess I was in all the darkness I was walking in and gave me the light to walk in a new way of life and that is in and through Jesus Christ.