How does a young boy with a promising future become a thief and a junkie and how does he turn his life around? That's today's episode of Bleeding Daylight.
Jacob Hill was a straight A student with a dream of winning Olympic gold, but his life took a number of unexpected turns, including crime, drug addiction and coming very close to death. Some would say it's a miracle that Jacob is alive today. How did such a talented young man fall so far and how did he turn his life turn around? Today he's a husband, father, author and pastor. Jacob is my guest for this episode of Bleeding Daylight.
Jacobs's Book - Kids at War: The Battle of Addiction
Wherever there shadows there are people ready to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight. This is bleeding daylight with your host Rodney Olsen.
Rodney Olsen 0:19
How does a young boy with a promising future become a thief and a junkie and how does he turn his life around? That's today's episode of Bleeding Daylight.
Jacob Hill was a straight A student with a dream of winning Olympic gold, but his life took a number of unexpected turns, including crime, drug addiction and coming very close to death. Some would say it's a miracle that Jacob is alive today. How did such a talented young man fall so far and how did he turn his life turn around? Today he's a husband, father, author and pastor. Jacob is my guest for this episode of Bleeding Daylight. Welcome.
Jacob Hill 1:07
Thanks so much for having me, Rodney.
Rodney Olsen 1:08
I want to get to know the eager young boy who had such an amazing life stretched out ahead of him. Tell me about those early years.
Jacob Hill 1:16
Oh gosh. Probably my biggest memory of the sort of the overarching sort of feeling like I carry from my childhood is like you said eager. Like I was just I loved life and life was was good. My parents were amazing and I was taught that I could do anything and the results I was producing was showing it and I just had such a confidence that whatever I put my hand to was gonna succeed at, and so yeah, I just had this is so excited for life and so excited for the future.
Rodney Olsen 1:52
So you studies were going well, and you're also excelling at sport.
Jacob Hill 1:56
So it didn't start out good in school like I look back, it's probably like ADD or dyslexia or something. I remember like every single recess I'd be kept into the finish work off and homework was nightmare but then at some point it sort of clicked and I ended up finishing primary school with straight As pretty much and then High School on a sports scholarship. I was like champion of athletics right through school, I was captain and more school hockey team and the factions and all of that, and the icing on the cake was we went away to high school and hockey scholarship, and we're training at the Commonwealth hockey stadium the big stadium here in Perth four times a week, twice with school, twice with my club playing there on the weekends and sometimes during the week, we'd actually have the Australian hockey team on the other end of the pitch and that was crazy. Like literally seeing my dream like my dream was to play hockey for Australia and literally get to shake hands with like my dream. it was in my mind, it was very, very done.
Rodney Olsen 2:53
So when it came to hockey, what was your biggest dream?
Jacob Hill 2:56
A gold medal. That was that was it. The Australia Kookaburras at that point had won a silver medal. One of the guys played for my club and putting his silver medal on one time, wearing around my neck thinking, wow, this is so good, but I'm gonna go one better. That literally was everything.
Rodney Olsen 3:11
And there was really no doubt in your mind at that stage that that was going to happen.
Jacob Hill 3:16
Not not a fraction of doubt.
Rodney Olsen 3:17
So how could all of that come crashing down? You're in high school, your grades are good, you're rising through the ranks at a rather elite level of playing hockey, how did all that begin to unwind?
Jacob Hill 3:30
So all about the same time, my parents separated, and I developed a disease in my knees. So within a couple of months, the rug was pulled out from under me and I just did not know where I was, who I was, where I belonged. Everything I dreamed about was just gone, and I didn't have a backup plan. My identity was really busted up from my dad leaving because I just sort of thought if he really loved us, he wouldn't have left us and then I sort of you know, just a little kid, 13, really just got the message I wasn't worth loving and then all of the other stuff I'd gotten validation for from my whole life that was gone as well. Because I was never like a real social kid I was always I had plenty of friends and stuff but that was mostly I think because of sport because I was a little bit socially awkward and as much as I tried to put on a confident front I was pretty shy and I totally lost man like just totally lost.
Rodney Olsen 4:26
So in the middle of this your family starting to fall apart and you've lost your dream of representing your country and winning Olympic gold. That also means that hockey team mates that had become your closest friends are all gone as well. Everything's falling away beneath you.
Jacob Hill 4:41
My mates were all guys I trained with and played with. All of a sudden, I couldn't play and I could barely walk for a while, like I could like remember just the pain trying to get upstairs and stuff because I had this growing disease in my knees. Really I felt very, very alone and found myself trying to work out where did I fit in who you know. Like with my dad, sort of, I was always felt like someone's looking at for me, someone sort of keeping me in line a bit someone's believing in me and then with my mates always, you know, felt that camaraderie that real team spirit sort of thing. You get the validation that you get playing sport team sport. And I just like lost both sides of I guess the people that gave me a lot of my identity and and I just really started to look for that I was like. And I wouldn't have been able to tell you that as a 13 year old kid like, but looking back retrospectively that's what I can really see that's what I was doing. That's why I actually settled hanging out with people who were really living a risky lifestyle that I did not agree with. I just wanted to belong like my brother was hanging out with these guys that started smoking pot. They were doing graffiti and petty crime like break and enters and stuff like that. Man, I just wanted to belong I think .Yeah and I was pretty prepared to do anything to fit in.
Rodney Olsen 6:03
Tell us about your family. Did you know that things weren't great between your parents? Was there any inkling that the marriage was breaking down? And you've mentioned your older brother? Were they just the two siblings?
Jacob Hill 6:14
No at that time, there was my parents, my older brother, who's just a year older than me, and a younger brother who's three years younger. So all around that time, I'm just starting school, high school, sorry. So I'm sort of the end of first year second year. And my brother's in the same school. He was in the same hokey program. My parents had been, I knew that they were separating. So all around that time, we were sort of we were blindsided one time with the conversation, but that was first before the knees. But before that, like my dad was amazing. He'd take us camping all the time, fishing every weekend, he was was at every single game of mine, take me to practice, you know, take us skateboarding and surfing and make sure we do our homework and it just, you know, it could could barely fault the guy on that side of things. And so and I really felt blocked, betrayed by him going, the only reason he could have possibly left, the only rationale I could dig up in my sort of 13 year old mind is that he really didn't care about us. It really rocked the foundation of what I believed about everything in life, who I was, who we were as a family, my Christian faith, because I was brought up in church. It really just scuttled me,
Rodney Olsen 7:32
You mentioned that your older brother had already started mixing with the wrong crowd, and it was around that time that you started dabbling in drugs yourself. Your brother's only a year older than you so you're still both very young. How did the connections into that kind of world begin?
Jacob Hill 7:48
So I atually don't really know how he started to get involved. Whether that was around the time my parents separated, looking back, actually, I'd say that's what's happened. And so he started hanging out with these guys. So he would have been 13, 14 at that point, and then I've sort of joined in with them when I was 13. So he would have been 14 by then. Put a lot of it down to definitely down to the people were hanging out with their peer group but also, had a lot to do with the music we were listening to. We listened to a lot of hip hop. Drugs were glorified. So much of it was talking about how drugs are cool, how they're a way of making money, a way of basically dominating your circumstances. And it also spoke a lot about violence and how violence is you know, the way you get respect and the way you hold respect. You know, we just really identified with that music and with that subculture, trying to emulate these guys. I'd never bothered that I wasn't smoking weed like I never wanted to do it. I didn't have any attract there's just nothing there for me. But I was listening to a song that the there's a line in the song said when you smoke, talking about marijuana, when you smoke like I smoke then you're high like every day and I remember just listening to that song one time, and then just like the penny dropped and I was just like, I'm not one of the guys. Like I'm not like these people and I felt like a real try hard. I just thought you know what today, I'm going to try marijuana because at the bus stop every afternoon the boys would sit in a circle and pass the bong around and I thought today when it gets passed to me, I'm not just going to pass it by I'm actually going to try it. And that afternoon I did that I tried it an interesting side note to is the guy whose pot it was that day, he was a guy I grew up with, and his family is actually the family that got us into playing hockey. He was a really good friend and a really like a huge influence on me growing up, and he actually died of a heroin overdose at the age of 20. So so this is the guy who's you know, it's his pot. I've tried it for the very first time, and this is something where I think young people need to be told about drugs. People don't just go and throw their life away like for no reason. Typically, these drugs have a really solid, immediate payoff, like in the terms of actually getting high like you feel really good. And that first time I got stoned man, it was like all my problems were gone. The pain of my dad leaving just gone. The disappointment of losing my Olympic dream was just gone. I really felt like I fitted in with the guys. And I actually had the thought that very first time I remember like so clearly it was looking back it's almost like it was a thought placed into my head from the outside but it was so clear in my mind, it was like, if I can just keep feeling like this. Everything will be okay. And I was literally addicted to marijuana the very first time I tried it, which some people say that marijuana is not addictive. I tell you I've no idea what they're talking about. But then I had another thought at that same sort of that same day was if this is how good pot is, I wonder how good all the other drugs are. And basically, I went on a quest to, you know, try all these other drugs.
Rodney Olsen 11:07
How do 13, 14, 15 year old boys get their hands on the the sort of money that it takes to buy these drugs?
Jacob Hill 11:15
When I was 13, I started selling for the boys that were older than me to the kids in my year, and I'd sell a certain amount of pot and I'd get a certain amount for free. And when that wasn't working for different reasons, like supply issues, you'd go and do break and enters and, you know, steal from different things and different people and shops and all of that.
Rodney Olsen 11:36
It was really the start of a, I guess, a life of crime at that point.
Jacob Hill 11:40
Yeah, it was it was totally and, you know, when you look at prisons, they're full of the're full, a majority of the people that are in there because of drugs. You wouldn't say it's easy money, but you don't have to be disciplined to make enough money to get by. So whereas if you've got a job, you've got to wake up at a certain time do what the boss says that you know in all of this, when you just do it that life you wake up when you want to go out and do it. For someone who's already emotionally crippled to the point where they're, you know, self medicating which and that's all that drug addiction is is you've got people that are in such bad shape they're self medicating to escape from this situation emotionally.
Rodney Olsen 12:20
You've mentioned that you were on a quest to try a variety of drugs. The Verve had a song some years ago titled The Drugs Don't Work. Did that ever become your experience?
Jacob Hill 12:31
Yeah, they stopped soon enough. You get a tolerance built up. The problem with it is is that well, there's a lot multiple problems but the first sort of problem is is when the drug stopped working and and by that I mean they they effectively they stop covering the pain is really I think, the simplest way of putting it. That is you can imagine you're in even medicine will tell you this, you you're taking painkillers for pain and you take them a long time enough and your tolerance keeps building up, you need to take more and more of them to deal with that pain. If you keep doing it long enough that will stop dealing with the pain and that's what happened to me like the marijuana stopped making me feel good and the alcohol stopped making me feel good and the pills I was popping and acid and everything was it wasn't making me feel good anymore. But at the same time, I couldn't not use them because not using them made me feel even worse. So it was almost like now you've got no payoff for using drugs, except that you don't get the really horrible withdrawals or the really horrible problem of being straight. And basically what happened from there was, I think I was 16 and I made a decision. I was like, I felt so stuck. I was like, I need to get high. All of these drugs aren't doing it. I'm going to try heroin. And I knew what that meant. I knew that heroin was super addictive, I knew that it's super expensive, super dangerous. 'Cause I was a smart enough little kid as well, like, actually weighed it up and thought, you know, the pros and the cons. And I knew that there was no upside to this. But I still did not feel like I had another choice because I didn't realize that I could stop using drugs. That That wasn't in my in the equation. So it was just like, well, the only solution I could say was to go harder, even though I knew it was going to cost me everything. So I did it. I started using heroin. The very first time I shot heroin, I was 16 and I had that same feeling not the same high, but that same sort of thought that if I could just keep feeling like this, everything will be okay. It made me feel great for a little while, but you know, sure enough that that stopped working as well. You know, after a period of after a period of time,
Rodney Olsen 14:54
I believe that during these times you even tried taking your own life a couple of times.
Jacob Hill 14:59
Oh it cooks your head. Like, I mean you're dealing with people like in my situation you're dealing with a young guy who already was massively insecure. Any drive I had was gone. I saw no hope for the future. I'd ruined so many opportunities. I dropped out of school. You just look at some of the logical stuff. You've got someone who's going to be pretty low emotionally, then you chuck in all of those psychedelic chemicals and in such strong you know, drugs you're putting into a developing mind. I mean, being a kid's hard enough. You know, you know, being 16, 17 is hard enough when you're doing everything right. But yeah, you mix those those chemicals in with some real lifestyle challenges, on top of the you know, the the insecurities and on top of all the I was like flat out suicidal. First time I tried to end my life I was 17. I remember just sort of just not seeing a way out. My mates are starting to go to jail. They're starting to die of overdoses. People are starting to get hepatitis C. Getting kicked out of home. Like I literally could see no way out like way before when I could see no way out or there's like there was heroin, at least I could use heroin to make me feel okay. Now at this point where I was on heroin, and it wasn't doing it for me. I just, I could say nothing. Well, I might as well end my life. What's the point of sticking around here for to, you know, to live like this. And yeah, I made a genuine attempted suicide and praise God, it didn't work, but I was put in great lengths mental institution, I was there for a while. I came out of there, and just nothing like yours just went right back to it.
Rodney Olsen 16:45
So even after having to spend time in a mental Institute, you didn't have reason to think well, this isn't working? I need to stop this kind of self destructive life? Were you still thinking there was no way out?
Jacob Hill 16:57
Yeah, well, to be really honest and I have to be pretty honest with myself in saying this, as much as you want to get off because we you need to because you know, just just plain logic tells you that part of it was is actually didn't want to get out. Because partially because that's all I had known from quite a young age like from 13 my whole group of friends were in that lifestyle. I would I didn't know this at the time, but I've just, you know, from conversations I've had with guys trying to help them step off drugs, we actually get really scared of like, what will life be like without drugs? Can I handle this? Can I How can I function like in my own mind? And so you've got this medley of reasons, why quitting doesn't seem to be a viable choice. And yeah, and literally I've left there and nothing changed.
Rodney Olsen 17:52
In your book, Kids at War, the Battle of Addiction, you describe an overdose that nearly took your life. I believe it was one person's actions that was the difference between life and death for you.
Jacob Hill 18:04
Yeah, I overdosed after a party one night and I was y'know rushed to hospital. I was dead by the time the paramedics got to this guy's house. So what's happened is I was at this party. We've gone back to my mate's house. I was asleep on the couch, and someone's woken up my friend whose house it was and I said, can you come and wake up Jacob? He's snoring too loud. I can't sleep. I can't wake him up. Can you come and sort him out. So they're basically just wanted my friend to wake me up not out of concern for my health, but because that was keeping them awake. But he's come and he's heard this noise that they've complained about that was snoring. And he knows this sound, because the year before he was at a mate's house kicking it, watching a movie, doing some drugs. This guy falls asleep, and my my friend thinks nothing of it. And then this guy starts to what he thinks is snore, and he thinks nothing of it. But after a while he realizes something's seriously wrong and he tries to wake him up, he won't wake up. He rings the ambulance. By the time the ambulance gets there this blokes dead, 18 years of age. So when he's come out and he's heard the noise that they thought was snoring, and so he knows straightaway that this guy's not snoring, he's drowning. So what happens is you're unconscious you're laying on your back, you start to regurgitate, and then you breathe that in, you're literally drowning in your own vomit. And he knew straight away so he's jumped straight on the phone, rang the ambulance. By the time the ambulance has got to his place, I'm dead. They've had to revive me. I died a few more times. My mom is called. They said there's no chance I'm going to survive. Had I been dead for too long, basically, the oxygen I bought my body, my brain and my organs had been without oxygen. Mostly my brain had been without oxygen for too long. And there was just no way I was going to survive and they've put a piece of paper in front of her, which is they're asking her to sign a permission waiver from them to give away my organs. She didn't, which I'm pretty grateful for. But so I've pulled through about I was in a coma for a week but I've pulled through, and I've woken up. I had to learn how to walk again to learn how to breathe again. But the day I could walk, I walked straight out of the hospital and went right back to it. Yes, it was like not a lesson was learned. And even when I was in that hospital, I remember there was a lady come to me, counselor, and she's said, you need help, you know, and I said, what do I need help for? And she's like for your drug problem. And I said, lady, I don't have a drug problem. I like using drugs. Leave me alone.
Rodney Olsen 20:38
So you've been committed to a mental institution and gone straight back to using drugs. You've overdosed, been in a coma for a week connected to machines and gone straight back to using drugs, Seen others that you know, lose their lives by doing the same sorts of things that you're doing, yet you're still taking drugs. Nothing so far has shaken you hard enough to change. What would finally shake you to the point of saying, enough's enough, something needs to be done.
Jacob Hill 21:06
This is actually my mom. I needed some money one time and I'd ask her went and asked her for it, which I hadn't asked her for money since I was a kid since I was living at home in school, but now I was 21. I've been out of home since I was 17. And for some reason, I've gone and asked her for the money. She's told me that she doesn't want to talk to me again until I'm in rehab. And I thought, well, rehab doesn't work. Once a junkie, always a junkie, but for her, I'll give it a go. And to be really fair, I wasn't actually giving it a go to try to get off them. I was actually giving it a go, so it was way would have proved to me my theory that I was I was a lost cause basically. And I was really just thinking, this is just going to validate everything. I've thought. I'm going to do this thing go there for a few weeks. It's not going to work, and I'm just gonna come out and I'm gonna go as hard as I can till I'm dead basically. That was my my plan. Sure for you all go, but don't expect it to work.
Rodney Olsen 22:05
Your book talks about the moment that you were given a decision about which rehab to go to and the strange decision that you made at the time.
Jacob Hill 22:12
Yeah, the whole rehabs, like structure and system was pretty crazy in my mind, who knows? I was probably the crazy one but I was struggling to work all this thing. My normal counselor lady was she saying I couldn't get into rehab because I was using too much drugs. Like you need to go to a detox clinic, but I was using too much drugs to get into the detox clinic. So I need to use less drugs. So I could get into the detox clinic so they could detox me to get me into a rehab. And I'm thinking if I could use less drugs, or wouldn't he people. One of the weeks I go to the clinic was a different lady there. And she I'm sort of thinking, ah, if I lie to this lady, about how much drugs I'm using, she might put me straight into the detox centre or straight into the rehab or something. So when she's asked me how much I'm doing and everything I'm telling her just what I think she wants to hear. But then she says, I think Teen Challenge would be good for you. Now I'd heard about Teen Challenge a few years earlier, where I heard someone saying that they had gotten off heroin at Teen Challenge. And I remember at the time, just thinking what a pile of rubbish, but I do remember them saying that they met God at Teen Challenge, and God helped them get off heroin. And I remember just bad mouthing them in public. You know what, while they were saying it, but this lady said Teen Challenge, and I instantly remembered this. And then I'm like, are you a Christian? Are you trying to push God on me? She's like, No, no, no, we'll find you somewhere else. But it was like that little split microsecond between are you trying to push God on me and her saying, No, no, it was in that little, that little moment. I remember so clearly, just like everything slowed down and got quiet for a minute. I had a little conversation inside my head with God and it was just like, Man, this chick had talked about a miracle, like about God helping her get off heroin. And if that happened, that was a miracle. And I was thinking, the only way this is gonna happen is a miracle because I didn't even want to stop using. As much as I hated the life that I was. It was just, it was all I knew. And I remember that little split second to saying to God as a God, if you're real, you can make me stop wanting to use drugs. And I said, if you do that I'll serve you for the rest of my life. She's like, no, no we'll find you somewhere else. I'm like, No, no, give me give me the God place and she's like, no, no, no, we'll find it somewhere else and lady, give me the God place. And I don't remember much from there to, but it was a couple of months later ended up down at Teen Challenge and then the fun really started.
Rodney Olsen 24:43
I understand you were picked up by a young guy who you thought fitted all the Christian stereotypes.
Jacob Hill 24:48
Good Christian boy. Yeah. So like, I know this is a Christian place. I'm like, prepared for a bit of God stuff. And this little Vietnamese guy. He's the one that collects me from, it's a 10 hour bus ride, Rodney. So he comes he collects me from from the bus. He was so clean cut. Look, he just was like a church boy looking kid and I'm just like, oh my goodness, I remember just feeling so hopeless at that point. I was like, this guy looks like he's never even had panadol and just thinking, how can he help me? But then I got talking with him and he'd had the same, he was into the same stuff I'd been into. He'd been through the gangs and dealing heroin and you know, all sorts of nasty business. It's like to talk to him, you would never in a million years think he had a habit. Like he was just like, whoa, this guy's the real deal. And I remember it was this on the literally on the drive out there where I made we're actually had the thoughts like, wow, this is possible. I can do this. Like if it happened for him, it can happen for me.
Rodney Olsen 25:47
All this time you've thought that there is no hope for people like you who are addicted to a life of drugs yet he's living proof of that change being possible.
Jacob Hill 25:56
Yeah, right in front of me and saying he'll walk alongside me through it too.
Rodney Olsen 26:00
So you're talking about having to detox from everything you'd been pumping into your body and you'd lied to get there because you understated what drugs you are taking. So they don't even know what they're dealing with when you walk through the front door.
Jacob Hill 26:13
Oh man I was sick. So I taken a bunch of drugs that day. I've slept fine that night. But man after that, I did not sleep well. So the first morning was probably the start of the wake up call. So someone's knocked on my door at seven o'clock in the morning. And I'd be like, the only time I'd ever be up at seven o'clock because if I hadn't made a bed yet. So I'm like, this guy's knocked my door seven o'clock saying it's time to wake up and I just sort of went off my brain at him. I just like get out of, this is like one of the staff members, like get out of my bleeping room or I'll cut your bleeping throat. Anyway, he left, I didn't see him again for the day, but for that morning, and they let me sleep it off. And I mean, that was the last time I slept for so long. And I remember for that first couple of weeks just so so sick Rodney like, man, like there'll be times where I literally fall to the ground, my muscles or my body and my body just totally seizes up cramping to the point where I'm actually curled into a little ball. Like not my choice and shaking and feeling like I was being electrocuted and stuff. And like I just be every chance I got I'll just find a piece of sun to go and lay in just because like I was sick man about I wasn't sleeping either. I remember like every night used to be like looking forward to going to bed because I was so tired. But then not sleeping. Like the amount of times I watched the sun come up. It was months before I could sleep again. It was horrific.
Rodney Olsen 27:45
You said that you believed only a miracle could turn your life around. This supposed cure is sounding pretty horrific. So when did the miracle come?
Jacob Hill 27:54
I reckon it came when I met that guy at the bus stop because the night before I left, I'd popped my shoulder out in a fight so I dislocated my shoulder and I've gone to the, you know, which didn't help the sleeping situation, and so they've taken me to the doctors and I have the you know the option for some something to help with the pain and sleeping. I'm like now I don't want any of that stuff but I don't want anything to help me sleep. I don't want anything to help with the pain. I just want to be have nothing to do with with drugs even the prescribed stuff that they get I don't want anything and so it was like literally that straightaway I just said look no taste for it at all. Even though I had to go through the detox the physical side of it. Emotionally I was done with it like I was I was through it. Yeah, I mean, like not learning how to live like a healthy life or anything but the as far as wanting drugs, I was done like day one.
Rodney Olsen 28:51
So after the the horror of the detox, it was then a matter of learning how to live a healthy life. What did that mean for you?
Jacob Hill 28:59
Well, I talked about That detox and it's like it sounds pretty bad and go I'm looking back it was terrible. But that was the easy bit. But you can make your body do stuff you know you just got to watch a marathon and you see some people doing some pretty incredible things and but the the real hard thing for me was the emotional stuff because you got to remember that it was the emotional stuff is why I got onto drugs in the first place. And it was the emotional stuff is why I kept going harder and kept using more and more. I'll tell you the biggest the biggest key to the whole thing was learning that I was made on purpose by a God who loved me and had a plan for my life. That was the the biggest key and I really struggled to believe it though that are you know, on heaps of levels. But having that nugget is what got me through like that is still today is was what gets me through.
Rodney Olsen 29:58
What age are you at this point?
Jacob Hill 30:00
I went in there at 21. And it took me 14 months to finish the program. So I finished it and I just turned 23
Rodney Olsen 30:10
Here you are at that point of learning the basics of how to live a normal, healthy life. You're a 21 year old man having to deal with the emotional baggage of a 12 or 13 year old that had never been dealt with.
Jacob Hill 30:23
Yeah, flat out like, basically once you start checking out with drugs, you don't mature past that point to a degree because that's how we learn. Like we have a problem. We work our way through it, and we've grown it's called maturing and yeah, and I just did not do that process. So it's one of the things you see about Teen Challenge is it doesn't matter what age the bloke gets down there, they've actually just changed the name of it to Adult and Teen Challenge because they're just finding more and more grown men going in there. To a large extent they've all got the psychology of a you know of someone in their mid teens because of exactly what you said like that not growing past emotionally,
Rodney Olsen 31:03
It's an interesting journey that you've been on and as I said, you thought only a miracle could make you change. You've mentioned that you had to come to an understanding that you were created on purpose and that there was a God that loved you. So, how did that finally settle for you? When did all of that begin to make some kind of sense?
Jacob Hill 31:22
Gosh, good question. So take it back before I went to Teen Challenge, and you're talking about, you know, all these crazy things that happened and you know, like the hospitals the mental institutions and the overdoses and all of that stuff and people look like a you know, say well you know, these surely that was your rock bottom moment. Now, surely that was a rock bottom moment, like my lowest point in life, was driving down the along the freeway with one of my mates and the song came on the radio, Grinspoon, and the lyric went something like this. It's like were you born to be a star? Were you born to be more than you are? And I remember listening to that song and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that i and this is someone who flat out drug addict on our way to score, some heroin, breaking every speed, like every law on the road to get to this place quicker and at that point, I remember like just knowing that I was meant I was made for something special. I was made for something more. I was made to do something important. And I could see no way of getting there. I had this drug problem, I had no education. I had no drive. It was just like, that was my lowest point, realizing I was meant for something and not having any awareness of how I could get there.
Rodney Olsen 32:43
I know that you had a little bit of a picture of what you were meant for. Tell us about that picture that you carried with you in your mind.
Jacob Hill 32:50
I had this picture of like, what I would actually like for a life. I saw a girl who would love me for me. That was just that was like that desire in my heart. I wanted a family. Wanted my own kids like two boys was actually what I just this image I saw. My own house where I couldn't get kicked out of anymore. A job that I didn't hate, not even one that I liked. That wasn't that wasn't even the dream. It was just a job I didn't hate. And I remember that, seeing that picture. And that was so far from possible in my mind that I attempted suicide. But as I've started to get my life back on track at Teen Challenge like that, there was a sniff of it, you know, like it was like, well, God's got a good plan for my life and he can get me there as well as starting to wake up that those feelings like now I can be doing I can do something significant with my life. My life can make it like be called to make a difference in the lives of a lot of people.
Rodney Olsen 33:44
So you've had this picture of a wife or a couple of sons a job that you don't hate. You've now been through all the detox, you've been through the rehab. we fast forward quite a number of years to the current day. What does life look like for you now?
Jacob Hill 33:59
It looks remarkably similar to that picture. But it was about five or six years ago, I remember that picture came to mind and I was just like, Whoa, this is my life now. Happily married, built our own home, our two little boys and it was literally like that dream that was impossible was now not just, a potential, it was like I was living it. So and it was just like, far out. The Impossible is real. Like, I'm literally living this impossible dream and it's now tangible and I live in the house, and I tuck those boys into bed every night. And it was a dog in the picture as well. And I got a really cool dog. But that was just like, Whoa, I was just like, it's time to dream again. And I went back to the drawing board. It was just like, open up my heart as like, right. Like, I know that I wasn't just created to have my 2.4 kids and my own little piece of Australia. I was like, I am created to do amazing things. And I went back to the drawing board and at that time, I was pastoring a church, the church where I'm still pastoring now, but as a young guy that was literally my dream job. Forget about a job I didn't hate it was like my dream job. And I've, you know, just dreamt again and put some a few more things on paper and then God sort of added some surprises to it. We had a beautiful little girl. And now, I still pastor the church, but I'm off staff at the church, I'm not staff anymore. And I run my own company, Purpose and Destiny, which, you know, the goal of it is, is to help people discover their purpose in life and empower them to fulfill their destiny through some of the keys that I've learned, you know, bunch of facets, like through drug education in schools to sharing my story, as well as, you know, speaking at church and it but on top of that, doing this stuff that I was doing before that was great. It's not like got rid of stuff, doing new stuff. It's just like adding to my life.
Rodney Olsen 35:46
Someone listening right now might think, well, that's great for you, but can it work for anyone else? I mean, let's admit it, you had seen maybe one or two people who had been able to kick heroin but you didn't really believe that that was possible, especially for you. So someone listening might be thinking, well for me that's just not possible. Someone else listening might be thinking there's someone that I love who's addicted. Is it possible for them really possible? What would you say?
Jacob Hill 36:12
Well, I'd seen zero people that have gotten off. That one girl who I saw her but I didn't actually believe it for I know now and yes, it worked. So to really understand it, my both of my brothers went down the same road I went down and my my little brother he started using. The first time he was busted selling drugs, he was like nine or 10 years old. They both ended up heroin addicts as well. Today, my both of my brothers have been through Teen Challenge are off drugs. Got, you know, beautiful families, own their own homes, like just just doing well in life. My friend who rang the ambulance for me, he's off drugs. He actually goes to church with us. And a real kicker was I just realized the other day. That guy that I was driving in the car with when I say that song came on and you know where I had that where were you born to be a star that guy he's been through Teen Challenge as well. He's off heroin too now and he's married happily married and man, God is it if He's done it for one person, he'll do it for anybody. But to take it one step further my wife Melissa, her story basically reflects mine perfectly. Change a few names a few dates, a few details her life is is exactly the same as mine she, and then she's going through Teen Challenge, encountered God, kicked drugs and alcohol addiction and really had a radical transformation and now she you know, she's so she's another one. So there's definitely is good for me, but I'm not alone.
Rodney Olsen 37:46
It's good to know that there is hope available for people who have thought that things are hopeless. If someone is wanting to perhaps get in touch with you and talk through some of the things that you've experienced that would help them on their way or even get a hold of your books? How would they do that?
Jacob Hill 38:03
Probably the easiest way would be, maybe jump on my website, which is JacobHill.org and there's a connect page there. Or, you know, if they look me up on Facebook, and I'm pretty good at responding to the messages and stuff.
Rodney Olsen 38:17
Jacob, your life has certainly had many ups and quite a few downs and I'm sure that it's still not a perfect life, but it's in a very different place to where it was. You say that really, it came down to a miracle and that miracle is still happening every day.
Jacob Hill 38:32
Man, I get to see it every day. I've got friends that are still in the scene and I you know, I still pray for them and I still hope and believe that they'll come through it and I watch them over the years. I watch them just one at a time just coming through it.
Rodney Olsen 38:47
Jacob, thank you so much for your time today. As I mentioned, you've written your story down into a book that people can grab hold of if they want to read through and get some of the stories in a bit more detail. It's called Kids at War, the Battle of Addiction and It's it's a great read. We look forward to seeing where this miracle will take you next. It's been an absolute delight to chat with you.
Jacob Hill 39:07
Thanks heaps for having me, Rodney.
Emily Olsen 39:10
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