I was raised in a Christian home. In 1983, I attended a Christian school, where I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and friend.
My grandfather taught me good moral values and how to help others whenever I could by following the example he set for me in our community. I tried the bet I could. Not building on my new relationship with God, I started to slide into a long life of sin.
I had my first been when I was 12 years old. The older I got, the more I drank. I was very active in sports all throughout high school, and drinking was the thing to do. It was socially acceptable. Three months before my graduation in 1989, I quit school due to my drinking and marijuana usage. Later that year, I got my GED; my parents got a divorce; my mom was diagnosed with cancer due to smoking, and I had started a lawn maintenance business with my brother-in-law. To say the least, it was a busy year for me.
In 1992, after a 3-year battle with cancer, my mom passed away at the age of 48. She is in Heaven now where there is no more pain or suffering; where I will see her again. This is where my life started a downward spiral emotionally and spiritually. I was angry at God and my mom. I gave up my business, I didn’t work for the next 2 years and I spent a small fortune my mom had left me. All I did was party and gamble.
In 1993 I got married to my high school sweetheart. That same year, I bought into a small Italian pizzeria in my neighborhood. After a short time of sobriety, I began to party and gamble again. I sold my share of the business.
On October 19, 1999, my son Joshua was born. This was one of the happiest days of my life. God had blessed me once again. Soon after we purchased a house and some investment properties. Life was good, so I thought.
In 2002, I started Hopwood Enterprises. With the new construction boom, we were doing over a million dollars in sales and had a workforce of over 25 employees. I still continued in my sinful ways. I had everything I needed in life, except a relationship with God. I began using painkillers for my shoulder and back pain that resulted from one of 6 major accidents I had been in over the years. All the accident vehicles were totaled.
What started out to be a helpful thing for me, the devil quickly turned into an evil thing. Once I realized that taking these pills would make me forget all my pain and misery from the sins of my past, it was on.
I tried cocaine for the first time in my life at the age of 35. I wanted to make up for lost time, and I was off to the races. On a road to destruction, minutes turned into years. Before I knew it, I was divorced and had lost another business. Not only did I lose it all, I felt like I was dead. Satan had me right where he wanted me. Even though I had my friends, family and God on my side, I felt alone, afraid and horrified about where my life was going. I was knocking on death’s door.
Broken physically, emotionally and spiritually, I cried out to God. Once again, He heard me. he told me to call Southwest Florida Addiction Services. For the third time in my life, I was in this detox center. This time God had a plan for me; I just didn’t know what it was. My sister had heard about Faith Farm from a friend, but I didn’t know much about it. All I knew was that it was a Christian-based program. I knew that I needed to get my heart right with God and start building the relationship with Him that I had been putting off for the last 30 years.
Not knowing what the heck I was doing, I left my house to a roommate I had only known for 5 months. I gave away most of my clothes to Teen Challenge, and I sold my Jeep and what was left of my possessions. Then I went to my sister’s house to wait to go to Faith Farm.
Within weeks after I left my house, it was broken into. My roommate was pistol-whipped, beaten to a paul, and taken to the hospital. After he was released from the hospital, he was arrested due to selling oxycodone, dilaudid, and heroin to an undercover informant. My house had been under surveillance due to drug activity for several months. After a short time in jail, he bonded out and was killed that night. If I hadn’t stepped out in faith and left everything, I wold have been right in the middle of all that mess. Thank you, Jesus, for your grace and mercy.
That’s how I ended up on those green benches waiting for intake. As soon as I crossed over the bridge to Faith Farm property, I felt the Holy Spirit. My dad even mentioned His presence. I knew I was in the right place.
If you are following God’s will in your life, you will be tested. The devil doesn’t like what you are doing. He will use anyone he can to get you away from God’s calling for your life. He doesn’t want you to find your calling. he fears that because he knows God is going to use us for His kingdom and glory.