Angel here and my husband, Joe, is in long term recovery from drug addiction.  Yesterday marked his 10-year sobriety date and I could not be more proud to be his wife and walk hand in hand on the journey in life as he celebrates this incredible milestone.

If you know Joe he is the east to my west.  He is quiet and mild-mannered  A completely humble man who prefers to lay back in the shadows and let everyone else shine.  He has always been that way.

Ten plus years ago he took a road that brought his life to a very dark place.  After an injury at work, a guy gave him some pain pills which he got addicted to and he realized quickly he could get more done with those pills than he could without them and he liked the ability and the convenience of it.

Drug addiction does not come without casualties even if the person doesn't die parts of their life often do.  Joe was married at the time of his addiction to his first wife.  He hid his problem from her but she began to find empty pill bottles all over the house.  She tried helping him and intervening with his family to no avail.  He chose addiction and drugs over the people he loved.  As I type that I can't even believe I am describing the man I love but drugs are completely evil.

In a short period of time, Joe found himself homeless, divorced, unemployed and addicted to drugs.  He had lost nearly everything in this world that meant something to him.  Still, he continued down the road of destruction.  It wasn't until January of 2010 when he sold pills to an undercover police officer that he landed in the Daviess County Detention Center.

Now I know you're saying to yourself it's not January.  Joe considers March 12, 2010, his sobriety date because he was released from jail and could have made the decision to go get high again but instead he checked in to treatment at Owensboro Regional Recovery.

There he found a purpose and began to work to get back where he needed to be in life.  Going to ORR lead him to become a peer mentor on-site and then to begin volunteering for St. Benedicts Homeless Shelter.  Three months into volunteering the director of the facility quit and left no one to run the place.  Joe was asked to step into the role until they could find someone.

God showed up as he always does and Joe was offered the position of Executive Director position at St. Benedict's.  Still in recovery, with a record and he was still given a chance.

St. Benedict's is actually where I met Joe.  I began volunteering there in the summer of 2014 and by the beginning of 2015, we were married.

In 2014, Joe also began volunteering at Friends of Sinners, a christ-centered recovery program here in Owensboro.  The former Executive Director, Roger Chilton, told him one day in conversation that God said Joe would run the facility one day.  Joe took his comments lightly and went on about his business.  In the summer of 2015, Roger left Friends of Sinners and the board began looking for a new director.

Joe was contacted and asked to interview.  Our family prayed about the decision and asked God to handle the rest.

Joe has now been the director of Friends of Sinners for almost five years.  I have watched him lead the ministry in a way I have come to admire.  He has a strong presence without saying a word and he leads by example.

He loses sleep over the men and women he is responsible for on a daily basis not to mention the countless individuals and families who seek him for help.  Always wanting to find the answer and help everyone.  He has a heart for service.

I think of the man he was and the one he has come to be and I smile and thank God daily for him.  The thing about Joe is he is super easy to love.  He is kind and considerate, would literally do anything for anyone and he is selfless.  Not what the world would picture as a drug addict right?

I would have never thought I would say this but "I am thankful my husband was a drug addict."  His addiction made him the person he is today.  He learned who he wanted to be and became a believer in Christ.  He had not only a head change but a major heart change.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.

This best describes the road Joe has followed in his life.  He is no longer the man he once was.  If you are ever meet him you immediately know he would try and change the world for you.

I am completely grateful for the people in his life that brought him to this point.

For his ex-wife who cared enough to confront him and try to help him get sober.  Also for caring about herself and being brave enough to know when it was enough for her.  She was more integral in this process than I think she even realizes.

To his mom and his grandparents who supported him, confronted him, and loved him through it all.

To Owensboro Regional Recovery and all of those who came alongside him there and encouraged him, mentored him thank you.

To the St. Benedict's Board who gave him a chance and allowed him to show them what he could do.

And to every man who has prayed with him, discipled him, made him accountable thank you.

I think of where he might be if not for all of these people.  While no one prays for their spouse or someone they love to become addicted to drugs I am so very grateful for my husbands' mistakes and messes because they led him to our family.

His story is changing lives.  His mess has become a message to others struggling in their addiction and gave hope to those who thought life was hopeless.  It was not in vain.

Joe will always be in recovery.  The process of recovery doesn't stop when you get sober.  Recovery is a lifelong process that can take years to achieve.  He has to die to himself daily and take his struggles to the only one who can take it all away.

If you are an addict or know someone who struggles with addiction there is help and no one is too far gone.  If my husband can change anyone can.

Joe Welsh

If you get the opportunity head on over the Friends of Sinners Facebook Page and like the post of Celebration for his Sobriety.  We all want to see him get egged LOL.

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