[O]nce upon a time four brave young men from different worlds came together to fight a common enemy. One man hailed from Tennessee. He was a good ol” boy with the all the southern charm he needed to make you believe his every lie. The next man blew in from the windy city of Chicago. He was all city with the heart of a dark poet. His pursuit of darkness was enough to attract all the wrong people. The third was slight off the street. He had the swagger he needed to live tough and hard amongst the gangs of the border towns of LA County. Our last young man at first glance had the appearance of an angel. His conservative image from growing up in church was only surpassed by the dark secret he kept so close to his chest. No one would have put these four together, and left to their own devices, they would not have crossed the street to spit on each other.

This may sound like a fairy tale, but these are very real people. Their common enemy was addiction, and the one thing that could have brought them together was God. I met them all in a recovery house in the city of Orange called Just One Recovery. You could it was a divine appointment from God, because their bond was instant. They found out together that fun and sobriety were not mutually exclusive. They took trips to the beach, to the gym, to the park. They made plans to all get a house together and support each other for years to come.

Along their path of sober living, they were also able to see God’s hand and grow closer to the God who saved them from their past. In our weekly one-on-one sessions, “D”, from the south began to understand God’s forgiveness and was able to forgive himself. “J”, from the east, was able to see God as the “light of the world” and wanted to leave the dark to pursue light. “S” from north LA County was able to come out of the box his childhood religion had put him into, and began to understand God’s love as freeing, not condemning. “B” from the O.C. learned to embrace the God of his youth and understand the grace he had been given by his parents and his God.

But as all good tales go, this happiness could not last forever. There has to be some tension in the story. That, and the fact the 40-60% of addicts have a relapse after a recovery program, did not give too bright a future for the four “Justketeers.” Once the men realized that moving out blackjack en ligne flash together was not a realistic goal, “S” was the first to make his way back to the ganglands to the north. He did great for a while. Then he had a emotional set back when a close friend passed away. As the enemy likes to do, one emotional event was piled on the others until “S” felt his only outlet was at the end of a pipe. The spiral downward was slow but constant. (Another trick of the enemy) After several months, “S” ended up on the streets, his family not knowing what else to do with him.

“J” was the next to leave the house. We all thought he was primed for success. He did not go back to the windy city in the east, but decided to stay close to his friends. He got a room in a pastor’s home and a job that was within walking distance. His visits back to Just One were frequent and everything seemed fine. Slowly, the visits became fewer and farther apart. “J” was feeling great and didn’t “need” the visits back to the house. He decided he could move back to Chicago and be an example to his friends that had insisted he go into rehab. Back in Chicago, the darkness was still there holding its allure for “J”. (Enemy again) The light became less and less interesting. Last we’ve heard, he was being carried out of parties and making a new long list of enemies.

I am happy to report that “D” and “B” are about to celebrate their one-year anniversary of sobriety. They have stayed connected to Just One and are examples to others who go through the program. It is awesome to see how God continues to work in their lives. Not that God isn’t in the lives of “S” and “J”, some people open the door when God knocks, and some people listen to the constant knocking.

If you are asking yourself what this has to do with Joy Squared, well you’ll have to wait for the next installment that is being played out right now as I write this. Please continue to keep all these young men in your prayers, and that together they beat the statistics.