[, Music ] so welcome to the scott harness podcast hey. I want to welcome you all. Today. We’Ve got an exciting, exciting time we’re going to have together today. If you’ve ever wondered, can people change um?
What about people that have this? Incredibly horrible start, or let’s say people that have gone a long way down a wrong road and they just find themselves just upside down and backwards. You know, i know that there’s people out there that you may have kids or you may have friends or maybe it’s you yourself and you’re saying you know what i’m stuck in this. I don’t know that anything else can change. Today i have as my guest a good friend and author jimmy mcgill, he’s the author of from prison to purpose and just a great friend of mine and we’re going to be talking about his book, which is his story and uh.
And i think in jimmy’s story. The one thing it gives to us is this incredible hope and understanding that we can change and it’s possible, and god can do great things even when a big portion of your life has gone the wrong direction, and so that’s what we’re going to be talking about Today, i think you’re going to find a lot of hope in this. I do want to remind you that if you in fact want to go to heaven, you need to subscribe to this channel and you need to like it as well. No i’m just kidding you can get to have another way, so only one other way, but we’ll talk about that another time but um, but anyway, today we’re going to be talking about that. So i want to.
I want to just kind of walk around the room. Real quick and kind of tell you who’s here today. First is my good friend and, like i said, author jimmy mcgill and uh we’re glad you’re with us brady’s in the room as well and uh he’s running the the the equipment and the good stuff back there. So that’s right: let’s talk jimmy a little bit. Let’S give everybody just a little piece of history.
Just give us. I mean we’re going to walk through some of that in your book, but tell them kind of where you come from and and tell them a little bit about you, because i think your story is always i’m always captivated by it. So let’s hear a little bit about you, yeah, absolutely so! First thanks for having me uh. Second, it all started when i was a little bitty baby.
You know i i you know. I grew up in chaos, and so i came from a stacked deck and for whatever purpose god saw fit for me to experience a number of trials and tribulations growing up and instead of those fires destroying me, he allowed me to come out, refined, basically molded me Into the person he wanted me to be, i’m not perfect today, but it’s like my bio. You know, despite you know, 23 years of iv, drug use and multiple trips to incarceration uh, despite this plethora of self-imposed disadvantages from gang membership to uh crimes. Anything in pursuit to get and find a way to get high. That’S that’s the life that i lived yeah.
It was a very selfish life and nothing else really mattered. The only thing that mattered was uh whatever i was obsessing on uh and in my case most of the times that was drug use um. Despite all that uh today, i’m a happily married, i’m a homeowner, i’m a dad um, i’m an i’m, an employee, i’m a supervisor, i’m a founder of a nonprofit. I could go on with the blessings that god has given me, but it all started with chaos. Yeah yeah – and you know that was the one thing that when you know when i read your book and by the way this is it it’s from prison to purpose it’s available on amazon, we’ll put a link in the description.
These are all my little notes and stuff so um. But but when i read your book, um i’ve known you for a while, but i didn’t know the intricate details of your childhood and i told you when, when you first walked in um. When i read some of the stories about your childhood, i mean brought me to tears. I’Ll just be honest with you, i mean it really did it’s one of those things where um it’s so well, written and and the way that you put us in the story with you. It’S powerful um, there’s one instance that stood out to me and i just want to kind of i’m going to read something directly from your book, because this is one of those moments where i caught myself each sentence.
I start joking up, i mean i’m literally tears. Coming i mean they’ll: do it right now, if i think about it too much, but it said you said my first memory of drug use was my dad doing a shot of dope in my grandfather’s kitchen. He was struggling to find a good vein, and so he told me to hold his hold his arm off for those of you who don’t know, holding up the arm off means taking both hands and wrapping around the user’s upper arm, squeezing as hard as you can. So that the vein will swell out for the dope injection, i realize now that a father asking this of his son was very abnormal, but at the time it seemed like normal life to the extent that i didn’t even tell anyone about it. What is i mean?
I don’t even know i can’t wrap my brain around that what yeah tell me about because you, you came from a family of drug use. You came from, you know you were around and exposed to it and it was a part of your life early early on yeah that you talked about in the book as far back as i can remember absolutely you know i remember going to school and bragging about Things that were exciting to me, i remember uh, getting a nintendo back when you, you know you had two games jeremiah and super mario brothers right right right, and so i remember telling people hey. I got a nintendo, it was something that was not normal yeah. You know it was something that everybody didn’t had. You don’t go to school and tell people you had breakfast yeah.
Everybody has breakfast that’s part of everyday life. I thought everybody helped their their parents get high yeah. You know my um. That was normal for me. Unfortunately, uh an atmosphere that most kids couldn’t survive in i thrived in and, and it was it was my reality yeah and and not only not only do you deal with the drug use, but it’s a it’s an environment of violence.
To you talk about in there. You know your dad was really violent, um uh there was abuse, yeah um and a lot of different, i mean obviously holding your dad’s arm off is abuse for sure, but there was also abuse and there was violence in that talk. Talk a little bit about. You know how that type of violence began to mold you and affect you and decisions and stuff that you would make yeah absolutely. I was captivated by it honestly uh my dad drugged me everywhere.
He went right like he went to the bars i didn’t get left with a babysitter. Sometimes i got left with a prostitute or somebody of that nature, and so i would be there until he would come back but uh he was a very violent man. You know he didn’t fear. Any consequences. Jail was basically the only way that you could deal with him um.
He just wasn’t afraid to kill. He wasn’t afraid to hurt he he he wasn’t afraid of anything except not being able to get high yeah and so the more violence uh in that realm. It’S almost like you’ve got two worlds. Okay, you’ve got the normal productive society where, where the average person lives and thrives, they get up. They’Re productive, they’re, acceptable.
They go to work, they raise their family, they go to church, they teach their kids how to make their bed. How to do your hygiene? That’S not the world i lived in right right. The world i lived in is you’re a man. If you can defend yourself, you’re a man.
If you don’t let anyone take anything from you and if you owe me ten dollars, you better pay me 11.
Yeah, you know, and so the more violence that is shown, the the the more uh level of manhood is, is embraced right, like that’s, there’s this pecking order that takes place you and only the strong survive and the wheat get preyed upon, because that’s their nature right, Like you, don’t uh uh uh, a lion doesn’t have ask a sheep for permission, sure, that’s right and so, and that was it and the times that i connected with my father would be the the times that i uh displayed these random acts of violence. He would think it was cute and he you know i could. I could tell a sense of pride sure you know. So.
If i hauled off in a sock, the neighbor’s kid there was, there was pride and early on, i began imitating the violence that i saw in him. Uh that i saw on my uncles and – and everybody was scared of them. I remember uh, you know my uncle roy stabbed a guy with a butcher knife through his jaw at the bar that me and my cousins were at. We were just running around like little chickens with their heads cut off kids playing in a beer joint and how old are y’all. I was young young, they were 10 or 11 wow wow and my uncle roy pulled the butcher knife out of his.
His name was danny, jo hopkins, and so he pulls the butcher knife out of danny joe’s jaw and there’s blood gushing and he takes a swig of his beer, and so alcohol and blood is just pouring out of both sides of his jaw. What yes, and so, and that’s how it was that was everyday stuff. That’S the norm, yeah yeah so and you know which sounds like to me that it sounds a lot like the prison culture because that’s how it is in prison. You know it’s! It’S all about dominance and violence and, taking advantage of of you, know whomever so how much of your your childhood?
How much of that time was your dad in prison during that time, so he was gone off and on the majority of my childhood he was always on the run, and then there was times i would go live with my foster mom, linda uh for years. At a time uh until she sent me back, i think i was close to 14 uh because i was just un. You know you couldn’t handle me. She couldn’t handle me, and so my father got locked up at that point too. He got a pretty big drug charge and he was gone for some years and so by the time he comes home, i’m on my way to adult prison right and so from from that.
Second, on he was kind of in my life he stopped going to prison. When i started oh and uh, i don’t know he started settling down the last six years of his life, uh kind of shaped up and he was always there for me. He would come visit me every weekend in prison. He was still getting high. He was still doing what he did.
He would still have random. I mean he was 60 years old slapping folks, like a gorilla like an albino gorilla. He was the real deal like uh and they still tell stories about him. Oh yeah yeah, so so we’re going to tran you you’re as a kid. That’S what you’re growing up in yeah.
You know your mom leaves yeah. So how old are you when that happens? Uh, the first time she really left i was about – i don’t know four or five years old. We were living in gravel ridge on gibson, yeah and uh. I i won’t forget.
I was laying in the floor playing hungry hippos. You remember that i do yeah absolutely. I do, and so i’m playing by myself in my underwear laying in the center of my living room floor uh and my mom has got tears in her eyes. She comes up hugs me and kisses me on my forehead and i remember saying: where are you going and she said i’m going to the store and i said i want to go and i literally threw a fit because i wanted to go with my mom to The store and she was bawling yeah tear streaming, wouldn’t let me go and that set me off and she never came back yeah. I ever in your in your book.
One of the things that stood out to me is really powerful is how tender you handled that story, though, and one of the things you said was, you said you know my mom was basically held hostage and and her she realized her. Only way of getting away was, she was gon na have to go by herself, because there’s no way she could get away with she’s talking about my birth mom, okay, yeah, okay, yeah! So that’s my birth, mom cindy right, um, so yeah, there’s i cindy’s pregnant with me. She jumps out of the car. Uh gets away from my dad has birth.
My dad gets me and gives me linda right and linda raises me: melinda adopts me at six months, old and uh. You know if my birth mother doesn’t leave she’s she’s dead right there. There are a lot of stories that aren’t in the book sure you know. One of them being my dad thought he killed her and put her in a bathtub and dumped ice on her and 30 minutes later she comes to and she’s in shock, can’t can’t quit shaking. You know uh.
If she didn’t leave, she would have been dead and if she would have left with me, she could have made it yeah. So so we’re talking about when linda left. Now you, you said, you said that when you were talking about linda, you said one of the things about her was that she was, she really didn’t fit into the culture. She wasn’t. She was different.
She did. She wasn’t a drug woman, she wasn’t a drug abuser. She wasn’t an addict. She wasn’t into that alcohol. Nothing and you said basically your dad kidnapped her.
He did so how’d that happen. She was a car, hop and uh brought him his food to his car and he picked her up, set her on the hood and wouldn’t let her down uh from off of his hood until she agreed to leave there and go out with him wow. And that was the and that’s that’s that that’s that’s how it was yeah wow and that’s how he lived his life like he. He didn’t care, like you were gon na, do what he wanted you to do sure, and so that sets the trajectory for your the next years of your life yeah, you know, and so jimmy becomes a teenager. What does jimmy look like as a teenager uh a walking form of confusion, yeah right, like uh?
There was a lot of bullying going on in my life at that time and at the same time, i’m trying to live up to this image of my dad yeah and so and i’m not him sure, i’m trying to fit in i’m going to northwood junior high Skipping school uh trying to avoid getting picked on uh and my dad ends up going to prison, and i end up. You know having to live with my juanita and my uncle clarence and they’re dressing me different sure, and so now i’m getting picked on a little bit and uh. It was just bad, and so i skipped school one day, um with a guy named james, and you know we grew up together here and he ends up uh being just a terrible influence and i welcomed it like whatever he suggested. I went along with it together. Yeah, we were stealing everything that wasn’t tied down.
We were breaking into stuff, uh and and then you know i went on and i broke into the wrong house, and so here i am incarcerated at 14 and that’s when everything changed and that’s the first stint. You did in jail at that point, yeah for sure. Now later you get arrested for a lot of different things. How many times in and out of jail? Do you go through in a lifetime?
So we literally, i know this answer because we are filing for my pardon this week, yeah yeah and we’re going to pray it too we’re going to pray this sucker in you know that’s right. I was arrested 26 different times, wow, yeah and and one and just to jump ahead, but we’ll go back, but just to jump ahead and really one of the main people who was a part captain lang who was a part of your life back then, and is The the person who’s arresting you and the person who’s who’s in pursuit of you and he’s got your number yeah is. This is he’s a bloodhound yeah and he gets he and he’s he’s coming after. You is the same instrument that god’s gon na use later to bring about a change in your life. Jeremiah 29, 11.
That’S right, i know the plans i have for you. That say lord that’s good, that’s good! So so we’ll talk about him. But let me talk about this story because there’s a story that that brings you two together right yeah. So so you decide it makes me.
Look like a clown. No, it’s great! I’M gon na tell you so i’m gon na read i’m gon na read something here, because i have to read it to you because i i read it and i snorted. I laugh so stinking hard. It’S hilarious.
You said using drugs definitely did not make me smarter. He said seriously. I was probably one of the stupidest criminals in arkansas. You said once i was in pursuit of finding a way to get high, but no money in my pocket. So i burglarized the house and stole a rare set of [ __, ], animation, cartoon movies, japanese animation, cartoon movies and so and – and i’m not going to read the rest of the you got to read this this this story is, is unbelievable, it’s page 43, but Tell us about what happens.
Tell us, so you break into a house yeah, and you steal some. Some dvds just tell us the story so like any good person in addiction. I am. I wake up. No money uh no way to get high, and so i’m using drugs like normal people, eat food and water right like i’ve got, i can’t survive without it sure, and so i set out to do what any good addict does and i’m on the prowl.
Looking for easy money – and so i go way out in the middle of the country – i don’t just mean i was way out – i mean i was – i was out there and so i go from house to house looking for you know a place that seems easy And uh, i find a house, i go in the house and there’s this uh dvd set of car tank uh, japanese cartoon animated movies. I don’t mean like pornography or anything like that. I mean like they’re kids movies, but this is an adult collector and so at that time hastings would would buy dvds from me and there were hastings everywhere. There was two or three in benton there were two or three in little rock north little rock. We had one up there, where the best buy is now at mccain.
You showed them in jacksonville, you had two or three of them and sir, i could have went anywhere to hastings to sell these, and so i’ve got like 150 of these japanimation movies, and so i’m doing the math like. If they just give me, you know two dollars each i’m good. I can go get a hotel for a couple days and i can stay high that whole time and uh. So i’m i’m headed straight to hastings, and so i get into hastings. I go to the hastings in jacksonville: it’s not there anymore and i walk in and this guy’s like yeah, we’ll buy those sure, and so i set him up there in the cashiers.
Like he’s running through him, he’s scanning everything’s cool, i hand him my id and yeah. That was a that was a boo-boo and i told you i wasn’t a smart crook. I hand this guy, my id card and he um is still ringing up stuff. Well, it comes out to be too much and they don’t have enough cash in the cash register to cover the check. So he’s got a call for his manager to come.
Do a store override because they’ve got to write me a check because it’s more than what he’s got in the cash register. So now i’m really excited i’m like. Oh he offered to get. Ah you know that’s the mindset. I’Ve got and uh this guy comes over.
There, the manager and he’s like, oh, he just happens to glance down at the dvd and he’s like. Oh that, hey i got that one and he looks through it and he said: hey man. I got that one too and he’s like. Oh, you must be a collector and he said, wait a minute and he’s just flipping through him, and he said: where did you get these? I said they were given to me why he said no man, i’m serious.
Where did you get these, and so at this point i get offended, i said they’re mine. What’S up, why are you asking and he said, hang on i’ve got to go call my house, oh yeah, of all the houses of all the stores. God put me in this man’s house and sent me to his store and then people want to wonder if god’s got a sense of humor you know, and so when i realized what just happened, i’ll strike out take off running. He follows me out to the car he’s trying to beat on the window i’m pulling off, but he’s got my id: oh my gosh yeah, and so it you know at this time uh. So so this is a.
This is a funny. You know when i first read the story: it’s a funny story yeah, but the consequences are gigantic. Yeah, seven year prison stance, yeah they i ended up so in arkansas. If you get a burglary is a class b felony, and so if you’re listening and you’re watching, i don’t want you to think that i didn’t get held accountable because all of my dues have been paid. So i’m sentenced to seven years and i have to do uh two months on each year, so i end up being basically being gone for a year and a half in prison.
And then i have the remainder of that on parole, which i end up violating because of my drug use. But there’s this there’s this bloodhound. You know police at pulaski, county criminal investigation, division, captain kirkland, captain kirk lane yeah and he is uh. You know you hear all these war stories about him and he’s he’s like the freaking boogeyman. At this point, like he’s, i bet everybody knows who he is.
I hear his name all the time, but i’ve been able to fly under the radar for whatever reason uh until now, and so now kirkland’s got my id. This is going to be a shut and closed case uh and he’s hunting me, and so it he’s got his detectives and so he’s you know, supervising this whole division and i’ve done god on his radar and you’re, probably in public enemy number one. At this point, yeah yeah, sure, yeah, and so that was the introduction of it. It wasn’t the last time he arrested me. Either i mean there.
There was some more serious arrests. There were some drug charges. There was you know, one time i can’t. I came out of a store scott and i don’t know if it’s in the book or not uh but um. I’Ve got a cadillac, i’m driving a cadillac and i’m at the easy mart over on markham, and i don’t have any mo.
I’Ve got money on me. I don’t have any dope on me, but at this point i’m doing pretty good in my addiction like i’ve got a good plug and i’m making a little bit of money. I got a car uh, i hadn’t been out of prison long and but apparently i’ve done sold some dope to a confidential informant. Oh and you know, and and so all the narcotics, homicide and burglary detectives fall under captain kirklane and so he’s their boss, and so he’s got him coming to get me, and so i walk out of the easy mart all of a sudden. The suburban pulls up on me, these guys jump out.
They got guns on me, they’re get on the ground punk and i’m like whoa. These they’re, like they’re, not talking like cops. They don’t have bad like they’re, dressed like i’m dressed they’re dressed like everyday people, and so i think i’m getting carjacked. You know because i’m in a cadillac, i’m like man they’re fitting to take my car man. These dudes put zip ties on me, throw a hood on me and throw me in the back of a suburban.
So now i think i’m getting kidnapped – and i done did something it’s all coming to fruition, like it’s coming to a boil: yeah and uh. So when i get when they set me up, they they set me up in the back of the seat. Take the hood off i’m at the place county sheriff’s office. They don’t jumped in my car and drove off in case i snitched. Nobody will know.
I’Ve been arrested, wow yeah, i mean that’s how intense it was and and kirk just bopped on down to the interview room, i’m sitting in the interview room, i’m tripping out uh, you know that’s a pretty traumatic arrest, yeah, that’s not textbook arrest! You see on television! That’S not the way that happened. No, no! That’S like a kidnapping, yeah!
That’S what i said you know. I tell him all the time too i’ll, never forget when you have me kidnapped, so he walks in this interview, room and he’s tall. He’S ball headed he’s like a older version of me and he sticks his head in he grins and he’s. Like i told you, i get you and he just walks off just walks off like he caught a fish. He had kind of at me yeah and that’s hilarious, yeah, that’s that’s the stories.
Did he do a picture with you and look at him? Didn’T do that? So so you go from you go from that. You start. You start incarceration when you’re 14
You first first stint with that.
The book has a lot of stories about you being in in in jail and in prison, and what that looked like one story, though, stands out. I don’t know why these stories end up here, but it’s so hilarious that you said that you’re talking about that there’s some new guys coming when new guys come in you take advantage of them now. What do you call a new guy when he comes short hairs? Yeah short hairs, so so when you get to prison, you get your hair shaved, yeah yeah, and so you can always tell the short hairs because they’re well. This was back.
Then this isn’t 95.. I don’t think it’s this way anymore sure, but then you had to get your hair shaved, so we knew you were new because you came in with a buzz cut, and so we call them short hairs and you can always look at their adc number. Two right. Like you only get one, and so it never starts over and so mine’s, like a dinosaur number at this point right, uh, i’m what they call an old convict.
So if i were to go to prison today, i would be able to travel down the hall. No trouble sure, just because of my numbers, age and uh, so these new guys would come in and you know we. I worked on host squad, uh and so you’re technically supposed to do 20 days on host or 60 days on host squad. You go out every day, you’re with a sergeant. Your each sergeant has 32 inmates and he’s on his horse and you work with hoes and swing blades and kaiser blades and and you they what they do.
Is they work all that aggression out of you and they try to work? You till you collapse so that when you get back in the prison at four o’clock, you’re too exhausted to fight, argue fuss, any of that sure and so uh. You know we’re walking and and there’s this dried up horse poop, that’s you know and horse poop is green and hard, and so i pick some up and i’m like you know we take it back in the barracks and because it looks like pot, and so we Take a weed stem and we put it with the horse poop and we wrap it up in a small. Now a dime sack of marijuana in prison is actually about the size of a popsicle stick cut in half, and then you break that half in half, and so we put this weed stem which smells like pot in there. With this dried up horse poop – and we sell it to this guy – the short hair he comes down, the berries he’s got three or four bags of coffee and some snack cakes, and so we sell him.
This dime sacko horse, poop and the story gets better. Oh, my gosh, he and so we’re laughing we’re we’re sitting back we’re we’re in the barracks. It’S it’s me, a guy that whose nickname was cocaine uh we actually grew up together, went to prison together, uh and another friend of mine at the time uh adam jones, who hung himself at tucker max later on um. We all got locked up at an early age, you know them earlier than mine. I was 18, they were 16 when they got convicted and so we’re laughing that we done sold this guy some horse poop and he comes back beating on the window and uh doo.
Doo doo doo and i’m like i’ll, marry, finna whoop us now. You know we’re laughing we’re, not worried about him. We think we’re knuckleheads and we’re tough and there’s three of us and so cocaine goes up there to you know. I guess you know check him or whatever, and he comes back and he’s cracking up. This guy wants some more.
You know he wants some more horse poop. So we tend to you know, come back tomorrow and we’re going to hook you up. We got to go outside and get it and so yeah yeah [, Music, ] yeah. True story did he ever did he ever get it uh yeah, he came back, got some more yeah for sure, okay, yeah, it’s clear true! Oh, my gosh there’s so much more in the book, there’s so many things from from you as a a rap musician, yeah sort of in the underground hip-hop scene, a bunch of folks that you were connected with back then at a really big time now, yeah yeah And so and uh, you know you kind of you work through some of those things um.
Let’S do this. Let’S, let’s drive ahead just a little bit further. When is it that you begin to see god’s doing something yeah, so i’m clean, i’m out of prison right and so i’ve successfully reentered society up into this point, like i’ve been out of prison three months, i think, and i’m living at a campfree house yep, i’m Clean but i’m living dirty, and so what i mean by that is i’m not using, but i’m still living wrong. Sure, and so there’s this common misconception, that when the drugs are gone, you’re in recovery and that’s not true, yeah right, like you, don’t start recovering until you start addressing the behavior patterns, that’s good, the core beliefs, you don’t start recovery until you start growing, spiritually, mentally And physically that’s good and so uh, i’m in my kim free house, a friend of mine from the streets is my roommate and uh he’s selling dope, and so now i’m selling dope clean and i’m going to meetings. I’M sharing i’m trying to stay clean, but i’m putting this bad stuff out.
You know what i mean and uh. I woke up one morning and my roommate was just staring at me and he’s got a pistol and a pound of methamphetamines in my chem free house, and so at this point it was like god just it was like curtains literally. I don’t know any way to explain it. I didn’t see anything wrong with what i had been doing until that morning and it was like god said: if you want to stay clean and live the life i have for you, you have to make a choice and you have to make it now and so From that second on it was over and – and you know in your book you’re pretty clear that it wasn’t like you were seeking god or anything like that. It wasn’t there.
Was that point, not not you know it was. It was one of those things where he’s seeking you and and even the dvd thing and captain kirk lane. You know the the story with that and how he was. You know he was the guy that you needed to interrupt this cycle. That you’re, in you know god’s active and all those kind of things i mean you can see it in retrospect.
At the time i mean you weren’t going. Oh wow, look what god’s doing in my life you’re like oh heck, i’m caught. You know it’s going to kind of slow me down or whatever, and even at this moment it wasn’t something you were looking for, but god kind of opened your eyes to it. I think that’s really really huge um. What happens next um next?
Is i get on fire for recovery. I meet chelsea, my wife, you know and she’s going through a really dark time in her recovery, and so this is our first date right like we go to waffle, house [, Music ]. I didn’t have anything but some drug money, so all-star special yeah, it’s so good, so yeah. So i’m still unmanageable. I don’t know how to live.
My core beliefs are still corrupt. The only thing i’ve got going is i’m not getting high. So the only thing i’ve done good, that’s the only perfect thing. I’Ve done since i found recovery and gave my life to god, sure and so uh chelsea shares we go to waffle house, we eat we’re on the way back and she shares this dark place that she’s been in, and i don’t know what made me blurted out. It could have been the fact that she trusted me and she was hurting and i could see that she was hurting, and so i wanted to share something intimate with her that i wouldn’t tell anybody else.
I said well, i’ve been dylan dope she’s like what plot twist yeah i’m like. Well, i thought we was sharing bad stuff. You know and she’s like you need to call your sponsor right now, and so i didn’t call him when i was working on a fourth step, and so i slide it in there. I put it in my four step. I jot it down on paper and i give it to him and of course he we talk about it, you know and so uh.
She tells me immediately she’s like thank god that you told me that before you got high, you can’t do that like when you’ll get high, you will die, you will go back to prison and that was pretty much the confirmation that i needed, because that’s what i Felt, like god, was telling me in my room, that’s huge, and you know shortly after that. You know she brought me here to that church, yeah and uh. You know we started coming to church and, and it was lukewarm and you know god says he hates lukewarm you bet and so um. You know we’re coming here and there and uh. Then we start, you know coming with point man and it’s it’s like everything starts.
Just shaping sure – and you know i only had nine months clean at this time – six months of that was in prison, so i only knew how to live one way, sure you’re trying to break 38 years of behavior patterns, and nobody like i’m just living in this Kim free house and i’ve got a pending drug charge. I think i’m going back to prison by all rights i should have, and god intervenes, and so i start seeing god working you been right, like i’ve got somebody in my life that i’m i’m hanging on to who’s got longer time in recovery than me telling me That, if you do that stupid stuff all right, this is what’s gon na happen, and so it really made me step my game up. You bet, and so by the time i’ve got a year clean, i’m on fire. There’S this transition that there’s this shift of perception that happens from nine months to one year. For me, you better, like i get.
I’Ve made a thorough, conscious decision and i’ve accepted the fact that i’m going back to prison for my pending drug charge. You bet, but i made a decision to go clean. You been, i don’t care that i got ta go. I don’t want to go high, and so i start the recovery process and i’m putting pen to paper and i’m unpacking 38 years of sexual abuse trauma physical abuse, neglect, mental abu. Like you name it all the fires that i’ve been touched by, i’m writing about them and there was something very therapeutic.
When i was writing about that and i’m sharing it and later on, i start seeing the biblical principles and i’m not going to talk about what program. I work i’m not here to endorse any specific program but uh. I want to leave things anonymous right, so um, i’m unpacking they’re telling me. I need to go over all this stuff with another person and then i’ll start seeing the biblical principles in what i’m doing and in this culture it’s not really acceptable to bring your faith into it right, but i’m seeing that okay so step. Four and five is actually james.
The book of james, where god’s telling me confess my sins to another believer, a like-minded person who can pray with me and and the prayers of an effective person are god’s moves by and they’re effective, that’s right, and so i’m like man, i’m just everything’s, starting to Shape up and i’m starting to see it, and and so i’m on fire, i’m everywhere, i’m telling my story and so because of my music career, which i had at one time thought i was destined. You know look at the people in the pictures. Oh yeah with me, like they’re, they’re the names in the rap rap game. Today you betcha so had i not continued to stick a syringe in my arm. I would be right there with them today and i wouldn’t know the freedom or the love that i have wow right um, but what god was doing was using that creativity and that stage presence and that delivery all the stuff that i was learning performing in front Of five or six hundred seven hundred people at a time he was preparing me for this.
You bet he was preparing me to be a public speaker on recovery. He was preparing me to be a preacher, that’s right, and so you know fears that most normal people have you know the number one fear in the world is public. Speaking, that’s right. The least feared thing scott is is death. That means you would rather be the person in the casket than the guy giving the eulogy.
That’S right, that’s exactly right, and so i don’t feel that way. I feel like i’m in the one place god created for me when i’m on stage it’s good, it’s good and you know you can see it in your life too jimmy that’s one of the things that i love about. The book is, as you go through it. You you begin to to show what you know when this transition begins to take place, and god begins to work in your life and chelsea has a huge part in that, and in fact i’m going to say. I want to read something that you said about her, because i think it’s a powerful truth, because i think there’s times where we don’t realize when we need to be a chelsea, we don’t realize that somebody around us, if we just gave them that word, could could Make such a difference in their life, but here’s what you said: here’s what you said about this.
This is a great thing about chelsea. You said um. She didn’t just accept me for who i was. She challenged me to be the person that i was intended to be yeah. That’S gigantic yeah!
You know that’s gigantic. Thank god. She didn’t accept me for well exactly exactly, and the idea sometimes is that you know you’re really loving somebody if you just accept them as they are, that’s not loving them. Some, the most loving thing you can do is go hey man guys got something so much bigger, there’s so much more in store for you, and so i think that’s huge. So you you, you found a non-profit, yeah, yeah and um, and that’s one of the things that we’re where we’ve partnered, together with you on that and talk a little bit about that yeah, so uh next step recovery, housing which actually started as next step.
Women um there is underserved, there’s a service gap and there’s barriers for women seeking sober living in the state of arkansas, sure and so sober living is not a regulated thing uh, which means anybody can do it, and so because anybody can do it. There’S no standards in place, sure and so uh being that i found my recovery in a sober living chelsea and i figured that that’s where we need to get back, that’s good, and so you know i was also. We also worked for other people and there were things we thought we could do better because of our lived experience, and so that’s what we brought to the table and we found somebody to you know, give us an opportunity uh, and so it wasn’t long after that. You know we didn’t know what we were doing. We were living and learning everything was trial and error.
Uh the community came together, they helped us fix these places up and we’ve learned a lot like we’d get in a place and somebody would snatch it away from us or they would kick us out and sure we’re just now buying our first house in clarksville uh. But early on um, you know within the first i guess year and a half. You know you called me in here and you were like. Listen just tell me what you need. The church wants to help, and so that was the game changer for next step.
Wow. You know so at that point we weren’t even paying chelsea and i a salary right like the rent that we were paying for. The house was 750 a month, and so the worst thing that you can do when you’re trying to build a non-profit does not have the funding to sustain it, and so, when the church partnered with us, the one thing we had for sure was rent money. Yeah right, so the women would never have to lose their house, you bet, and so that put us in a position to where we could focus and build, and so now we have two we’re licensed with the arkansas department of corrections a place. I spent a lot of my life and we actually have a second hearing on may 12th uh, where my wife will be uh in el dorado having a public hearing for the the new women’s house, and so god has just moved the life change that have come Out of that, the clarksville house is out in the middle of nowhere pastor, scott.
There is uh eight men there, it’s as rural as you can get you’ve been there. You’Ve seen it. Oh yeah, literally sitting on a lake on the middle of a mountain and you’re 16 miles from any town and all of them have jobs and get to work on time. All of them are in recovery, uh and we’re buying that house. That’S the thing that i loved about next step that i had just i always and just i knew we wanted to be a part of that.
The part that we really loved was that there was just constantly life change coming out of there. Yeah – and the other thing was, is that the consistency of the life changes, unlike anything i’ve ever seen, i mean – and that’s not i’m not here. Just to you know, i’m we’re focusing on the book, but i’m telling you right now there’s something so special about the lives that are being changed and it’s happening over and over again and in an area where it’s hard, recovery’s hard recovery has a lot of setbacks. Recovery has a lot of you know. Um relapse is a process of recovery, you know sometimes, and so it’s it’s really hard, but to see how how you guys have been so effective at transforming live.
It’S just really incredible. I mean it’s it’s beyond incredible. I’Ve just never seen anything like that, and it’s really really really a great thing matter of fact. I remember that trip to clarksville matter of fact we drove we had a lot of. We did a lot of stuff yeah.
We started chicken yeah, that’s a good time, but then i also remember we were on our way to another place: um pottsville yeah, so that place actually just came up again. Yeah uh. You know we prayed over it. That’S right! That’S how you that’s how you got.
That’S how you got me, that’s how you got me i’ll. Never forget that yeah, that’s right! Yeah, just a car ride! Well, that’s what i thought it was and – and you know i think, we’re going up there if you’re watching – and you don’t know like – i think – we’re going up there – uh for pastor scott to we’re going to look at this new property, and maybe the church will Get behind us and we can open up like a ranch at that church, recovery ranch and i’ve. I’Ve already envisioned it.
I’M going to put 18 men in here uh we’re going to make it a part of that church and scott’s like okay. Let’S go, look at it and then he’s asking me: hey: do you want to plant a church and move to pottsville and i’m like what no i want to move to pottsville. I don’t want to plant a church in pottsville and the next thing you know two months later, i’m preaching at sherwood church, that’s right so laurel the story is don’t get in a car with scott yeah. That’S right! That’S awesome!
That is awesome jimmy! You know the the other thing. That’S i think, astounding, about your story. It’S also included in the book is the fact that um you’re a convicted, felon yeah, there’s some things convicted felons do not get to do yeah and one of the things and one of those things would be able to hold a role um with state government yeah. You know and uh so talk to us about that, a little bit yeah so uh.
I can just give you the whole rundown man, i’m i’m 18 months clean and i’m speaking at the state capitol i’ve been invite. I’Ve been asked uh to come, speak uh. On behalf of recovering people, and so which was abnormal because that’s not the recovery culture that i come from, is sharing your recovery publicly, and so, but i was so thankful and on fire for what god had given me that i wanted to tell everybody about it. Yeah and so on a side note, i’m trying to get that way. With my salvation amen, you know, and so when i compare them, i’m like no, i got to tell you about jesus too.
That’S good, that’s good, and so, but i’m on fire, i’m at the state capitol, and here he comes except he’s not in his he’s. Not in his cop uniform uh is kirk lane yeah yeah and he’s done being tapped by the governor asa hutchinson to be our state. Drugs are yeah, which means that he is no longer, and so since he he had left pulaski county and took a job as the chief of police for saline county and uh. So he’s there and the governor asked him to come. Be the drug czar for the state of arkansas, and here he comes he’s walking up he’s, got a suit and ties all political.
At this point. Looking he’s, he hates politics, political stuff, so he’s not politically like he’s a person of faith, but he’s a person of accountability, yeah what i mean and so he’s walking up – and i can tell that uh god’s word didn’t return void, like all things are made new. You bet, and so and all things are possible – that’s right, and so here i am somebody that he’s arrested a number of times. I remember sitting in prison and somebody’s saying man jimmy what happened. Why are you back bro kirklane, yeah you’re, always blaming people?
Your number? That’S so good yeah and never mind the fact that i’d been arrested for whatever i did. It was kirk lane’s fault, of course, that i was in prison and so um. He doesn’t recognize me and i shake his hand like i’m confident, i’m i’m not ashamed of the the past, i’m ashamed of that. The people i hurt they didn’t deserve that, but i spend every day of my life trying to rectify my actions.
I spend every day uh as a living amends to both god and society. You know, i know in a men’s is not saying i’m sorry it’s about taking that wrong and making it right. It’S good and i live that out every day. It’S not like a bad old, bad chinese movie, right right, like my mouth and my actions, sync up, that’s good, i’m not out of line and so uh. You know he walks up and i shake his hand.
I said man, it’s good, to see you. He has no clue who i am yeah, and so this event probably would have only been a handful of people because it was the director of the fbi, especially, i hope i did anything come out my nose yeah. So i hope not, i hope, you’re not a good time yeah so uh, it’s the special agent in charge for the fbi for arkansas um, it’s the head of the dea for arkansas, it’s kirklane and it’s a couple other. You know state officials and then me yeah, like i’m, i’m working at exodus.
Life at that point, in my life as the recovery coordinator for them and so chelsea and i are out there uh we’re shaking hands we’re in our exodus, shirts and uh, i’m the last speaker.
So the fbi speaks, dea speaks and kirklane speaks now, they’re shocked, because this is a big event like they’re used to the state people coming out, which would have been 15 or 20 people. I got 200 people in recovery out there on the capitol steps and it’s raining, and so the guy that gives me the invitation, uh kirk lane’s standing there and he’s like jimmy. Do we still do this in the rain i said hold on man. We chase dope in the rain, we’re gon na recover in the rain, that’s good, and so they all speak, and so the guy introduces me and when he introduces me the crowd goes nuts. I mean the entire steps of the capitol just erupts, but it wasn’t because it was me speaking, but it was because one of their own was speaking.
That’S right, it’s like it wasn’t about jimmy being at the podium. I was not the big deal. The big deal was, somebody from recovery had suddenly been given a voice to represent, so that we had representation at the state, capitol yeah, and so that’s what the big deal was, and so i get up there and i’m like i’m going to get him. I’M going to roast him, and so you know uh they’re, like you know it’s raining, and you know they were we’re going to recover in the rain and so within the first 30 seconds. I’M talking about kirk lane, like this guy over here listen.
There was three things that i used to like to do: get dope, use dope and hide from kirkland and everybody’s laughing, and he looks up his head is like he got weird like he looks up and he’s turning around and all the fbi they’re laughing. He he and i’m like you know, and i start talking and it it hits him right in the face who it is in that moment he realized he didn’t know before. No, no, that’s good. The change that god had done in jimmy was so transformative that the man who had put me in prison no longer recognized me wow, you know, and so he comes up. He shakes my hand.
He hugs me. I tell him thank you wow and that’s something that he never heard before really a bit and but something magical happened that night somebody who had tried to arrest their way out of the problem of addiction suddenly had a shift in their perception. God had allowed me to be a change agent, that night that’s good, and so i changed his core beliefs that once and once an addict, always an addict. You know uh and so shortly after that he invited me to lunch. So we go to lunch and he says: hey we’re going all over arkansas to speak to these colleges.
We want you to go, and so here i am traveling with the fbi, the dea and the drug czar on parole, not in the no no and most of his career. I was with him. I i tell people when i speak all the time. Listen. I’Ve been following kirkland’s career since he was a patrolman.
I just did it from the backseat and uh man was so great pastor, scott, like we’re going all over we’re sharing it and we’re sharing hope it’s like a happy story of cops and robbers yeah and then he calls me one day and he says: hey. I’Ve got a position opening up and i know we’re going to have to fight for it, but if you’re willing to maybe leave what you’ve got and and keep in mind, i’m working my first first real job through a christian organization exodus. I love that. I love it. I love the life change that came out of it.
Society wouldn’t give me a job. I tried and tried and tried, but my history stopped me from being overworked, and so when the community said that i wasn’t good enough, god said you are, and so you know the biggest funder for exodus is his uh fellowship baptist church, our bible, church and so Uh they hired me, they hired me full-time and so i’m doing the only thing i could do. I was working with inmates coming out of prison and teaching them about recovery, yeah and uh. So i’m like yeah. I want to do that, and so you know it’s a fight like we get shot down at every corner and basically kirk lane has to walk in the governor’s office and say this is who i want.
I know it’s not the status quo, but you’ve hired me to do a job, and this is who we need to lead this thing. So so the guy that spent a big portion of his career chasing and arresting and trying to get you and getting you put in prison yeah. He was a beast he’s as good as his is the same guy. Now that’s standing before his boss, vouching for you and saying hey. This is who i want, how many how many felons had ever worked for the state in that kind of position?
You know none uh i was there. There have been felons who’ve worked on stuff for state leaders, sure sure, but mine was an authoritative position at the department of human services, and so it’s against dhs policy to have a criminal history wow. And so we we’re at this point we’re changing policies. And then we have to change state law yeah, you know, and so we you know at that time. I was going through church leadership school here remember, and so i’m, like you know, we’re changing state law and so house.
Bill 1433 allowed people with non-violent criminal histories. Uh to work for state agencies in the role of peer support, and so and when we signed it into law, act 951, and i was there behind the governor standing with him when he signed that law, and so at that point there was nothing. Anybody could say. Like um, but i can trace it back and that’s why jeremiah 29 11 is the most pertinent boy. First to my physical life right, like 25 years ago, god used kirk lane he arrested me.
He puts me in prison. A a relationship is built not a bad, not a good one. You know yeah, but an introduction relationship and so 25 years later, when god’s done molding me and putting me through the things he had to put me through to shape me and get me ready for the work that he was i’m just now about my father’s business. That’S good, you know. 44 in my life is just now starting and so uh.
You know when the bible talks about honoring. You know the sermon you just did about honoring our father. You know i guarantee you, i’m leaving my name better better than i’ve received you, and so you betcha, hopefully god lets me – have another 40 years to do this. Work, yeah, amen and so uh and and yeah and kirk is hands down. My biggest advocate you know he’s put me in.
I manage right now, millions of dollars in grants for the state of arkansas me yeah uh. I decide where the funding goes. I decide and i evaluate it, i implement it. I lead board meetings. I chair board meetings.
I set on a number of national consortiums. I set on a number of national committees and advocacy groups. Arkansas is now the national leader of recovery models. You know our football team wasn’t going to get us in the spotlight, [, Music ] and it’s crazy, and so it’s like god. I feel.
Like god’s, you know here i am with seven eighteen felony convictions. I’Ve always said seventeen, but during this check for my pardon, we found another one, just hidden and just laying them back yeah like an old sleeper [, Music ], and so i feel like god’s, like i’ll use this to do this yeah. You know that’s how great he is like, and so i’m in the room with all these people with phds like doctoring degrees, yeah and and people are like well jimmy. When are you going to go back to school and get a degree? Well, i don’t have time.
I keep finding myself in positions to supervise people that do you know, and you know i mean i’m just saying: got ta use a jackass to show a smart ass. They don’t know anything, that’s that’s what he’s done he’s taking the worst case scenario and painted a masterpiece. I may just hurt myself. I think i strained something. Are you okay, you’re literally crying?
Listen, i’m telling you. You can’t just throw something out there like that. That is perfect. Oh my gosh, i’m dying that is hilarious. Do i have tears you do literally physically.
You brought me to it that was great and you’re right, you’re, exactly right. The thing that the thing that i love about about your book is, i think, for everybody. You know, i think, about a little boy in gravel ridge that starts out holding his dad’s arm, so he can shoot dope, yeah um. That start seldom finished as well. You know what i mean just it just doesn’t happen.
You don’t finish well from that, but jimmy you did and you did it because god was at work and god intervened, and i think that that’s so important because i think for a lot of people we may not have the exact same history or story. But your story is one of those stories that we can look at and go, but god did it there. He can do it here. You know he did it in jimmy. He can do it in me and you know, and i the height of which god has brought you to and and i know for sure he’s not finished with this story, but but the height that he’s brought you to is it’s an inspiration.
I think it’s powerful. I think it’s powerful to us. I think we all need to see it because there’s just something about seeing god at work and – and i’m going to say this again – you need to get this book. If you, if you want to experience some encouragement man, you need to get this book, it’s it’s more than um. I think it’s more than you um just having something to read for entertainment, although some of it is very entertaining that’s.
Why i’m in tears right now, there’s just jimmy’s jimmy’s jimmy you’re, one of them, people that i just go. You crack me up, but your story is one. That’S undeniable. The work of god in your life is undeniable, and, and you know i i’m convinced that that’s the desire of his heart for all of us. You know he wants to bring us.
Um he’s a redeemer, you know he, he changes us and he brings us out, and so i i it’s just great man, absolutely great. I today has been a real joy. You know, and i think i think not only that you’re that you now you know work for the state you’re a pastor at that church at that church, the same church, my wife brought me to five years ago. I mean. Is that not incredible, though yeah?
It’S uh. I didn’t see that one coming at all right like and it’s it’s cool, though uh, because i’m the same way. I rebuilt my identity six years ago, i’m doing it again, yeah uh. Unfortunately, i built my identity in recovery and i should have built it in jesus and so i’m learning to reshape things and uh. You know and that’s you’re a lot to do with that.
Scott. Like honestly, you are my shepherd like i don’t say that for any other reason than the truth, because you know had it not been for sermons that you’ve taught like the creator or the creation or the gift or the giver, which one gets the glory. You know. That’S that’s that’s when the shift in my mindset happens yeah. You know, because i had given the gift recovery so much glory instead of giving it to the giver of the gift.
No, it’s good, and i don’t want to do that anymore. That’S good! You know! That’S good that’ll preach that that’s good, and i appreciate that too. That’S so encouraging yeah.
I appreciate you. I appreciate you for uh taking a risk on me uh, because i know it and, and i see it and uh – i’m just glad to be a part of the church and i’m glad you’re here. I’M glad you’re here and god’s got plenty of work left for us to do. You know what yeah plenty of work left for us to do. Well, you know i hate set, but we’re we’re we’re out of time today and and um we’re going to talk some more but jimmy you you jimmy will be speaking at that church.
You can catch him online if you’re not close to us, but if you’re anywhere in the vicinity of sherwood central arkansas he’s going to be speaking on june, the 6th yeah he’ll be speaking that sunday, all three services he’s going to be speaking all the time at Different times here in sherwood, but but you can catch him online june, the 6th it’ll be a live feed. You can catch it on that church, online um on facebook. We also stream it to youtube and uh. If you want to catch him there, you get a chance to hear him, speak um and and preach a message. I mean it’s.
It’S inspirational incredible, he’s just a great great communicator and what a great story your book is. Amazing um, i’m just going to say it again. You need to cut you need to copy this. You need to read it. You really do it’s um, it’s a great book, y’all, it’s a great book and a great story, and just a testimony to the to the goodness of god.
Let me say this before we before we pile off of here. Jimmy’S story is incredible, but it’s the story that god wants to tell in all of us. You know god’s wanting to do a work in us. That’S how much he loves us. You know, even when we’re in the middle of our mess and and even when we’re we find ourselves – you know far from where we need to be god brings hope.
Um jimmy’s story is a story of hope. It’S a story of god. Restoring it’s a story of not only god restoring jimmy’s, not just restored the thing i love about your story is, it is that you are a restorer now you know and that’s what god does in us, and so it’s just an amazing thing. So, for those of you who find yourself, maybe struggling with hope or maybe you’re struggling with anxiety or fear or you’ve got some obstacles in the way, and you go how in the world can this you know be good or what? How can i ever get out of this?
Well, you can and here’s what i’ll say if you want us to pray for you if there, if we can help you, if we can give you counsel, if we can do anything for you stand with you as a church, leave us a comment reach out to Us we would absolutely love to to host that conversation. We’Re grateful to be able to do that, but i want to say this to you know this. We believe in you, because god believes in you we’re going to be praying for you, and you know what this is the end of your story, whatever you’re facing right now is not the end of your story. God’S got way more plan for that, for you and and i pray that you get a chance to see that and i pray you walk into that with confidence so until our next time i just want to say: uh we’ll see you later and may god bless You in everything that he gives you to do: [, Music, ]. You