43 years ago, Judy said goodbye to a life of addiction!

Certain she was dead, Judy’s friends were about to stuff her body down a garbage chute when her eyelids fluttered. The near-fatal heroin overdose taught her a lesson . . . but not the kind you’d expect.

An overdose wasn’t enough to snap Judy out of her dangerous habits.

“From then on, I made sure I did drugs in my own home or some other decent place,” she said. “I wasn’t going to die and be dumped into the garbage.”

As a child, she never pictured herself becoming an addict. But her life was turned upside down when her dad died in a car accident, leaving her with grief to carry as she grew up. She sought security in marriage as a young woman out of high school. But four years later, she found herself divorced. It was falling in love with a man who was struggling with a heroin habit that opened the door to drug addiction. She was hooked.

Some time after the almost fatal overdose, Judy knew something had to change, especially for her son’s sake. “I didn’t want his friends to say, ‘Your mom’s a junkie,’” she said. But her efforts to get clean turned to alcoholism.

Finally free . . .

Her son eventually went to live with his dad, giving Judy no more reason to put up a front of sobriety. “As long as I had money for beer, I didn’t care.”


After a two-week binge, she found herself at a truck stop 800 miles from home with 26 cents in her pocket. “At this point, I would have tried to kill myself if I got my hands on a bottle of pills,” she said.

A waitress convinced Judy to call a local church, and soon a pastor showed up at the truck stop. “He kept telling me this could be the beginning of my life instead of the end,” said Judy. The conversation led her to accept Christ in a restaurant booth.

Afterwards, Judy was brought to Haven of Rest, where she found the shelter and safety she needed. Finally, she could focus on ending her alcoholism for good and restoring her relationship with her son.


Judy didn’t believe she’d survive long enough to see her life turn around. But all it took to put her on the path to healing and freedom from addiction was a conversation about Jesus in a restaurant booth.

She became one of the first workers at Harvest Home and went on to study drug and alcohol counseling at The University of Akron to help other women.

So often, life-change starts with meeting a basic need. Your gift of physical care does more than bring comfort — it opens the door to new life in Christ.

Judy went to be with the Lord at the young age of 50. She was proof that your giving literally saves lives — both on this earth and for eternity.

“I would have tried to kill myself . . .” — Judy

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