My name is Jamey Chiles, my story is a story of hope, healing, redemption; my story is a story of triumph over tragedy.

I was born in Chaffee, MO to a single mom who gave birth to me when she was 15. I have never met my biological father and to my knowledge, I do not have any brothers and sisters. My childhood was very traumatic; I was molested by a family member when I was five and was also physically and emotionally abused. My house was very volatile and unpredictable. I grew up in a party environment with a lot of different people always at my house drinking alcohol and doing drugs. I witnessed a lot of physical violence and witnessed my mother get beat to the point of being unrecognizable several times when I was a child. My mom seemed to attract very abused boyfriends; I can remember one beating her so bad that she couldn’t see out of either eye. I can remember that same man beating her late one night, and we ran and hid together in a cornfield; he was in a drunken rage and shotting a 38 in the dark of night all around us. I am still scared of guns to this day, I have never had firearms and never will because I have PTSD to this day.

I did find hope, or should I say, hope found me in the middle of all this. There was a man of God that took notice of me in the little town I lived in and invited me to church. This man checked on me regularly and got me involved in all the Church activities on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s; this is where I first learned about Jesus. That church became my safe place, my saving grace. It wasn’t long before everything changed, my mom and her boyfriend got busted for drugs when I was 10. My mom went to prison, and I was sent to live with relatives. I would act out and run away which caused me to be shuffled around to all of my relatives that would take me and I still continued to act out until I was given over to the state and put in foster care and group homes.

My mom would get out of prison, jail or rehab, she would get it together briefly, but would meet a new guy who drank and did drugs, and the cycle would start all over again. I dropped out of school at 15 and moved in with friends where I started selling weed and acid and I began partying and doing the very things that I said I was never going to do. Trying to fill my heart and the emptiness I felt, with drugs and alcohol, I discovered co-dependency and started to latch on to the girlfriends I had. I met my sons’ mother and moved in with her and we had a son. When my son was born, he had to be flown to Cardinal Glennon for emergency heart surgery. I started drinking and drugging very heavily in my 20’s, and became just like my mom, an addict, alcoholic and in and out of jail. My son’s mother and I split when he was a year and half old. I took her to court and gained sole custody when my son was three. My alcoholism was completely out of control, and I really had no business trying to raise a child and I put my son through hell and made a lot of bad choices.

A few years later I married, I moved away trying to start over. I slowed down on drinking but had acquired a pain pill addiction. I eventually got cut off of the pain meds, because I was abusing them. This is when my new wife and I discovered meth and that’s what would completely destroy our lives and marriage. I went to jail; my son went to his mothers. When I got out of jail, I moved to my mothers and went on a downward spiral of addiction and darkness. My son ended up having problems with his mom and stepdad and got in trouble and ended up in states custody. I spent the next few years lost, hopeless, completely broken; Fully addicted to meth. Fast forward to March of 2019, little did I know that my life was going to drastically change. I was at an all-time low, contemplating suicide regularly because I was so ashamed and guilty, I felt like it was too late to fix everything. I would use and drink and isolate while spending days on end trying to find the courage and easiest way to take myself out, but every time I would attempt, God would step in and send someone to my door or the rope would break, or someone would call at just the right time. I was so ashamed of what I had become. I was hooked on the needle, addicted to pornography, but most of all, I felt guilty for not being a better father to my son.

All of that would start to change in late March of 2019 when I was walking down South Sprigg St. passing in front of CoNEXTion Community Resource Center and a man named Chris approached me and started telling me his story, his story was so much like my story, I felt like someone understood, like someone finally saw me, I was not invisible. Looking back, it was the little spark of hope that was the beginning of my change, even though big change wouldn’t come for months. I slowly started trusting Chris and because of his help, I went to get help for my mental health for the first time in my life. Chris became my peer support specialist and I started coming into CoNEXTion as a safe space, to a place where I could just chill. There would be days when my anxiety would be unbearable, and I would go to CoNEXTion and Soni would let me come in and sit in her office and do relaxation techniques. I would come in and talk with Chris, even though I continued to use, this was the beginning of me starting to recognize that change was possible, but suddenly, the next thing that happened to me would end up being the driving force to eventually get help with my drug and alcohol problem.

On April 23rd, 2019, I was awakened to my girlfriend repeatedly saying, there is someone here in our bedroom. I opened my eyes thinking it was probably my son because my son was living with me at the time, but as I looked toward my bedroom doorway, which was still pretty dark, I noticed that who was standing there, was a lot shorter than my son who is 6’7”, so I immediately jumped up and out of bed and toward the person in my doorway and instantly started having to fight for my life. I didn’t realize he had a knife until I started seeing blood squirting out everywhere an looked down and my left hand was bleeding very badly. I was able to wrestle my attacker to the ground until my neighbor came in and called 911 and kicked the knife out of my attacker’s hand. When the first responders and police arrived is when I was informed how many times I had been stabbed; 5 times in all. I was so fortunate none of the stab wounds were vital organs or major arteries. I know that God and his angels gave me the power to overpower my attacker and I know that God protected me and kept me from fatal injuries. God saved me from death, but it would still be a little less that two months before I realized any of this. After all of this, I got even worse because I was a complete emotional basket case, I was completely gripped with fear and my traumatic experience. I shut myself off, I moved into the living room, isolated myself and went on a downward spiral, adding a lot of meth and suboxone which only intensified and magnified my fears. I was in the darkest place I had ever been in my life, so on the night of June 17th, I got high for the last time. I had decided that the only solution I had was to take my own life. I had acquired a big bottle of sedatives, wrote a note to my son and my mother explaining my decision, but that’s where God stepped in once again, because right as I was reaching for the bottle of pills, I reached and grabbed the bible on my table instead and started reading the book of Job. To this day, Job is my favorite book of the bible because it saved my life. The next morning was June 18th, my mother’s birthday and my sobriety birthday. I got up and checked myself into rehab, and exactly one week later, while in rehab, attended Celebrate Recovery and gave my life to Jesus Christ; the best decision I ever made.

When I got out of rehab, the only place I had to stay was a house that my uncle owns back on the Southside of Cape that squatters had broke into and been living in, I had no utilities, no refrigerator, but I was grateful. I had started going to church, where I still go, at Cape First House of Hope. I began getting involved in all of their ministry outreach activities, I volunteered, went to bible studies and attended everything, every time the doors were open. Then I started GED classes at my church as well. I devoted myself to God, to church, volunteering, going to GED class attending AA and NA meetings and got a part time job at the Show ME Center, I was now addicted to learning, loving and bettering myself. I got water in my house turned on so I could shower and drink, but I couldn’t get electric turned on. I depended on God completely. I read my bible an did my homework by candlelight at night when I got home. I stayed away from my house as much as possible, not because I didn’t have electric, but because I was staying away from the temptation to use, because the block I lived on, the majority of the people were drinking, smoking and dealing drugs. On several occasions, I was offered free drugs or offered to front me drugs, there were a few times they knocked on my door offering me drugs or fronts, but God gave me the strength to say no without hesitation. All of the church activities, volunteering, AA meetings, school and work, eventually started out being excuses and reasons to stay away from temptation and ended up being my blessings in disguise. I discovered my passion and love for God and people with the help of God and all the amazing people he had placed in my life, I started accepting the help and resources I had available to me. I surrendered my life to and my will over to the care of God.

Willingness, honesty, accountability, are all keys to my recovery. I went back and got my GED after 26 years of being out of school and only having an eighth-grade education. I have a house and I am able to pay my bills on time, I went and got my license back after 12 years of walking, I have a jeep that’s bought and paid for with full coverage insurance, I am a mentor, teacher, leader and servant at the House of Hope on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. I am repairing my relationships with my son and mother. I am taking an active role in their lives; I am breaking generational curses; I am leaving a new legacy to my grandchildren. Raise up a child in the way they should so they will never depart from it. It has all come around full circle for me. I am working at CoNEXTion, the beginning of my journey, where it all started, where my fire was started with that little spark of hope. CoNEXTion and everyone there inspired me to get my credentials because God revealed to me, my purpose was to serve and give back in the same community that I took from and where I had been broken.

To be the light that helps others find their way out of the same darkness I was once in.

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