The Road to Recovery
After my father’s death, my family agreed to send me to a rehabilitation center. I said yes. I thought I was going to Cebu for this, but I ended up in Antipolo. My family booked round trip tickets for themselves, not for me. I felt they really wanted to get rid of me! But I understood since I had caused them so much trouble and pain.
I was admitted to the Set Free Center of Help International Philippines, a Christ-centered institution that helped people with addiction problems. It was November 9, 2012, when I arrived. The house leader met me and took my luggage. He welcomed me and gave me a tight embrace, uttering the words I would never forget: “Welcome Home.” It was like the voice of God the Father Himself telling me, ”Welcome Home.” At that moment, I felt peace that I had never felt before. It was a homecoming. I had been running away from God for a long time, but it was now time to give CHANGE a CHANCE.
Giving CHANGE a CHANCE
At the Set Free Center, I met Christians who told me that Jesus loved me and that it wasn’t an accident that I was there. I had an idea about rehab centers because of my father’s stories, but this place was different. Something was out of the ordinary! Later on, I discovered that these people at the center loved Jesus so much that they laid down the agenda of their lives for His purposes. I learned to trust them because I felt their authenticity in helping me. They always told me that Jesus loved me, and that God had plans for my life. They listened and treated me as part of their family, not as a sick person.
After 3 days of setting foot in the center, I surrendered my life to Jesus.
The Set Free family also celebrated my personhood. In my junkie life, I did not celebrate my birthday, although my parents and siblings would prepare something special because I shared the same birthday as my Lola (grandmother). At the Set Free Center, I was given sweets, birthday cards, and a simple celebration. This touched my heart so deeply.
My Set Free Family
My initial plan had been to stay for 3 months in the rehab, gain weight, go back to Cebu, and then sell drugs again. I had wanted to take revenge on those who killed my father. But the 3 month plan was ruined as Jesus encountered me in a deep way that it changed my perspective. I had a change of heart and mind. I experienced repentance.
My cravings for drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes were gone in my first month at the rehab center. The environment played a big role in that. At Set Free, we talked about Jesus every day and we had worship. The atmosphere was so different!
It’s really true: when Jesus is in the room, everything changes! When I arrived at the center, the folks there gave me a pen, a notebook, and a Bible.
In the beginning, I was just reading the Bible out of boredom (and also to make me sleepy!). But eventually, it created a hunger inside me to know Jesus. The Word became alive and active, leading me to confess my sins and repent.
Experiencing the Father’s Love
I experienced repentance because of God’s goodness manifesting through the people around me. His goodness led me to repentance. In many of our morning devotions, the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sins, and it always brought me to tears.
But there was one moment I would never forget.
In my sixth month at the rehab center, our morning devotion was about the “Father Heart of God.” This was a sensitive topic for me, and it always made me cry because I lost my father in a tragic way.
During the worship and ministry time, I was sobbing. I sensed that God wanted to move inside me and do “heart surgery.” He wanted to give me a new heart— a heart of flesh. Abba Father wanted to release me from my unforgiveness and hatred. He wanted to give me my true identity in Him as His child. As I felt His love pour over me, I started screaming and crying intensely as the staff held me. They prayed over me, and after that, I felt so much peace and lightness in my body. It was the time I made a firm decision that I would go “ALL IN” for Jesus! As I was delivered from the demons inside me, I was filled with Jesus’ Presence.
I was a new creation. I was born again!
Little did I know that God was only beginning to change my life for the better. He was about to surprise me with His plans for my life.
My life for the better. Again, with my Set Free Family.
END OF PART 2
What happens next? How does God’s plans change Jayson’s life for the better? Read about it in PART 3 of “From Drugs to Riches.”
Jayson T. Belleza
JAYSON T. BELLEZA is part of the Leadership Team of HELP International CMC Philippines. He is a “House Parent” at the Set Free Center. Jason is also a Prison Ministry Head at the HELP International CMC Phil.