Monthly Archives: January 2016

Lansing State Journal Shares My Story

By Aaron Emerson

This past week I was blessed with the opportunity to share my story to a pretty large newspaper. It was a great experience and my story of hope reached a lot of people.

The Lansing State Journal ran a large story on the overdose-reversal drug Narcan and featured me as a recovering addict whose family has the drug. It touched on the heroin problem our area is experiencing and shared statistics that show how dramatically overdose deaths have risen lately.

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But it also talked about my addiction and recovery. So the fact that this story ran as the top story on the front page of a Sunday newspaper means that tens of thousands of people were able to see that recovery is possible and that the face of addiction is not a homeless man with long, dirty hair and a beard.

It’s a little hard knowing that my addiction and overdoses were printed for everyone to read about. In the past, a news story I was featured in was met by readers commenting very mean, nasty things about drug addicts. “Just let the junkies kill themselves” was one man’s narrative. But I’ve sort of accepted that some people are just ignorant and that sharing my story can do a lot more positive than negative.

That’s what it’s all about for me. Letting God use my story in a way that allows hope to be spread, awareness to be raised, and facts to be told. I’m certain that this story, written by Matt Mencarini, will impact at least one person. That’s what it’s all about. It’s going to show hope but it’s also going to educate a lot of people about Narcan.

Too many people are dying. Too many addicts are overdosing. Too many parents are losing their children. Too many communities are losing what could be productive members of society. Narcan is a drug that will reverse an overdose on heroin or prescription opioids. It’s not a solution for finding recovery, but it simply saves lives. There are still a lot of people that don’t know much about Narcan. I’ve had a couple people reach out to me asking how to get Narcan since the story was published. My Mom had a family member of an addict tell her she had never even heard of it.

So I am blessed that I am in a position to be able to share my story. If you haven’t read the story and would like to, here is a link to the story on the LSJ’s website:

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How A Verse In Jail Changed My Life

By Aaron Emerson

It started inside the walls of the Ingham County Jail. I was attending a Bible study class the jail’s chaplain was running. Looking back, I was only at the study to be able to get out of my cell for a few minutes.

But something I saw inside that gloomy, smelly, depressing room changed my life. I happened to look up and notice a large painting toting a Bible verse on the wall.

Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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Wow. A plan for me? A hopeless heroin addict serving a year in jail? A plan that offers hope and a future? No way. But I kept staring at that painting.

Something inside me at that moment shifted. For a brief instance inside that jail, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

I’ve always believed in God, but poor decisions I had made up to that point saw me become addicted to heroin, a thief, and depressed. I knew God could perform miracles, but I was convinced I was a lost cause. I could never stay away from dope. It was the only thing that made me feel normal, made me feel like I belonged and fit in. Without heroin, I felt awkward, sad, angry and hopeless.

But on that day, God spoke to me through that verse. I could feel him begging for my attention, telling me I was worth more than the Aaron currently sitting in black and white stripes. And for the first time in my life, I finally felt like there was a future waiting for me if I simply asked God to guide me.

I started reading my Bible in jail, started praying, and I began to feel a sliver of hope. I often repeated in my head that verse from Jeremiah proclaiming hope. Those words changed me.

Though I felt hope for the first time, I wasn’t totally ready to do whatever was necessary to find recovery. I relapsed when I got out of jail. But I still knew that God was there for me, waiting to give me a hand when I called out to him. That is exactly what happened.

I eventually found a recovery coach, got involved in 12-Step groups, and devoted my life to God. I got sober and found recovery. I rebuilt my family relationships. I got back in my daughter’s life. I found a girl that had never touched drugs in her life, ready to start a life with me – a recovering heroin addict. We are still together and she has been a huge part of why I am still sober today.

I am now a reporter for a respected community newspaper and am the news editor for my college’s newspaper. I am a totally different person than the 20 year old that walked into the Bible study room in the Ingham County Jail.

Jeremiah 29:11 changed my life. It remains undoubtedly my favorite verse today and it holds a special place in my heart. There was a plan for my life, there was strength waiting for me.

If you are addicted or struggling with something today, please know that there is hope. If you are alive, hope is alive. I promise. If you have a loved one that is in active addiction, know that they, too, can find recovery. Miracles can and do happen.

“To Hell And Back” Only $4.99 For 24 Hours

Four days ago I published my addiction memoir as an E-Book for $7.99. For the next 24 hours, however, I will be offering the book for a significant discount.

To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery is availble for just $4.99 until tomorrow afternoon (Monday). After the 24 hours are up, the price will go back up to $7.99, so if you haven’t purchased the book this would be a good opportunity to get it at a discounted price.

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This is my first book and is a memoir on my addiction to pills/heroin and the first year of my eventual recovery. It takes the reader into the mind of an addict, as it is written through my journals I wrote during my addiction and recovery.

Below is the link to Amazon, where you can purchase the book. It can be read on any smartphone, tablet or computer.

My First Book Is Out!

By Aaron Emerson

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Over a year of on-and-off hard work has finally come to a close on my biggest piece of work yet. I couldn’t be more excited to announce the release of my first book, a memoir titled To Hell And Back: Heroin And Recovery.

The book can be purchased as an E-Book for $7.99 on Amazon. An E-Book can be read on pretty much any smart phone, tablet, IPad, Kindle, or computer.

For years throughout my addiction and recovery, I journaled almost everything I went through. The times I was in jail, the many moments of despair after using, the heartbreak of relapses, the pain my family and I went through, the times after I overdosed and got robbed. They are all in the book.

Most importantly, though, the times of my early recovery, my pride and enjoyment of finally finding recovery, the way my support system came into my life, how my sobriety continued; those are all in the book, too.

It’s pretty much a book full of first person accounts of what I was going through during my addiction and early recovery. I really think this book can make an impact and raise awareness on how the disease of addiction really plays out in the life of someone like myself, who experienced it.

I would really appreciate if you bought a copy of this book (the link is at the bottom) and let others know about it. I have had several people ask me if I will make a paperback or hardback copy eventually. The answer to that right now is that I hope so. I would love to sell a hard copy but I’m going to base that decision on how my sales for this go first.

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this. Let me know what you think! And thanks to Brian Griffin. He was the person who designed the cover. He goes to Holt High School and attends the youth group that I help run. He has really become a good friend and designed the cover for free.

CLICK HERE to purchase my book and read the summary!