Ten years ago, on December 10, 2007, my good friend Eric Pettis die d at the age of 27. The cause: Drugs.

I met Eric (pictured on the right in the image above) for the first time in 199 6 when he was just 16. His mother, Laura, was the manager at the Chippewa County Humane Association. I applied to work there because I loved animals and got the job. At the time I was really bad caught up on crack and other drugs and was living out of my van. They noticed I was living in my van and asked me if I wanted to live with them in the house on the Humane Association property. I took them up on it and moved into the room with Eric. It was during this time I turned Eric onto marijuana and he became a pothead.

12 years later in 2007, I met Eric for the second time at the age of 27. I had just gotten out of prison a year earlier and this time was a meth addict. I was living with a girlfriend and when I met Eric the second time, he was bragging about how he still smoked pot every day. This time I turned Eric on to meth and, like most, he became an instant friend.

At one point his parents were selling their house and going to move to Minnesota, and they were all living in a camper on my girlfriend ’ s property. Soon, Laura ’ s sister told them they could stay with her in Minnesota Until they sold their house, so they all moved there – except Eric. Why? Because I owned Eric! He was now an addict and depended on me for the drug.

We had found Eric a small second-story apartment and moved what little he had in there while we were on a meth binge. If you don ’ t know the cycle of a meth user, we are up from 2 - 10 days and nights in a row – sleep for a day or two – up from 2 - 10 days and nights in a row – sleep for a day or two …

As we were coming down from a 6-day-and-night binge, I dropped Eric off at his new apartment and went home to sleep.

The next morning, I was woken by a phone call from his mother telling me Eric was in a fire and was at the Minneapolis burn center and was not going to live.

We had put his mattress on the floor too close to the heat register, and when he went to bed, and because he was awake for so long, on top of the intensity of what that drug does to your body, when the mattress started on fire he did not wake up until he was already melted into the mattress. I will save the gory details, but he did try to get out of the house while melted into the mattress, but the mattress was too big and got stuck in the entrance way. When they found him and brought him to the burn center, 99% of his body was burnt and he didn’ t make it.

December is still a hard month for me because this is always on my mind. This is one of the many reasons I get so angry when I hear people say that they aren’t hurting anyone but themselves while using drugs.

Drugs impact everyone around us -- ourselves, our families and friends, the court systems and taxes -- but especially our loved ones. While we are selfishly using and thinking we aren’t harming anyone else, the path of destruction we leave in our wake is immense! Drugs are selfish and become the #1 priority in life, even over our children. And if you are one of those who says your children mean more to you than anything, yet your still using drugs or alcohol, you’re not lying to anyone but yourself!

I was one of the rare ones who got set free from meth addiction, I turned from the lie of the enemy to the truth of Jesus Christ and He set me free!

Many are not set free and die, and even if they do not die, the path of destruction they leave behind they are oblivious to because their only focus is on the next high.

It is never to late to be set free, and there is no better time than now! Jer. 33:3 says: “ Call unto me and I WILL answer you … ” Psalm 34:18 says: “ The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. ” John 8:32 says: “ You shall know the truth (Jesus Christ) and the truth shall set you free. Be set free today and call upon Him. Believe me, following Jesus, is a much better high than any drug you have ever tried!

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