Twenty-three-year-old Jayden was a fearful addict, but then he started to pray
I was bullied at school and dropped out in grade nine after I was offered a chef's apprenticeship.
But a relationship breakdown when I was 20 caused me to start using drugs, specifically ice. I grew up with quite a lot of pain in my life from my mum and dad's divorce, so when my relationship broke down, I really didn't know how to deal with it.
When I used ice, it took away the pain.
I had over a year of intense addiction and there were a few rock-bottom moments. Just before Christmas, I knew my son was being born, but I wasn't allowed to see him and I threatened to kill people in the hospital. I hated the person I'd become – I just wasn't that aggressive person at all.
People were chasing me for the money I owed. I was going to be killed. I called my dad, and he gave me the money but the condition was that I had to enter rehab.
I went to a Recovery Services Centre but I was just an immature kid and threatened somebody on the program, so they asked me to leave.
I went to stay with someone close by who I knew had drugs, and I became psychotic. I was hiding in a public toilet thinking people were chasing me but there was no real threat. It was all in my head but I just couldn't escape – it was horrible.
Then a lot of really amazing things happened and I now look back and see God was there. It was during that time I prayed my first prayer.
I knew they had no room in rehab, but my prayer was if that was where I was meant to be I'd get a place, and I did!
In my first few weeks back at the Recovery Centre, nothing much changed – but I kept praying even though I didn't know who God was. (I thank God for praying grandmas, because I found out later that mine prayed for me every day).
Then, one night, I looked up out of my window and it all got super bright and I saw a white light coming towards me and it gently kissed my *face. I know now it was the Holy Spirit. Then, *just as suddenly, it was gone and I fell asleep feeling truly safe and secure for the first time in a very long time.
I did the rehab program and gained a determination and confidence that I never had before.
While I had my moments, God gave me this huge motivation. I was so determined that I did every extra course offered. I made a great friend in there who had my back, and I was invited to spiritual camps and conventions. I spend Saturday with family, but Sundays mean church services morning and night.
It seems God was truly guiding me every step of the way. While in recovery I heard they wanted to start cooking classes, so I applied and said, "I'm a trained chef and I'd be happy to teach people to cook." I ran a course and later applied to become a full-time chef at the center.
To me, it is heaps more than a job.
Because I've come straight off the program, a lot of participants come up and talk openly and the chefs' office I share has become a prayer room.
God has also brought a beautiful Christian girl into my life and we are planning our future together.
I know I'm still young, but I've experienced a lot in my life already and the one thing I am absolutely sure of is that God transforms lives!•
As told to Naomi Singlehurst.
Used with permission from The Salvation Army's Warcry magazine.