From Darkness to Light

From Darkness to Light
Hello friends. My name is Jon Paul Phillips. I am 36 yrs old and I was born and raised in Fountain Inn, SC.  I have a wonderful wife, Megan, and two boys Crawford (8) and Porter (6).  I am going to give you a look at my story and hope it will bring you peace and comfort if you or someone you know is questioning how to deal with mental health.

I will start by telling you that my parents divorced when I was 6 yrs old.  My father battled drug addiction and alcoholism, and after years of my mother giving him chance after chance, she had to make a decision that was best for herself and my sister and me.  I went through many years of professional counseling as a child, but remember dreading going to sessions.  I didn’t want to talk about reality because in my child-like brain, talking about my feelings only made it worse.  At that point, holding everything in was a better option. I wanted to be normal and happy like a young kid should be.

As I grew older and started youth programs in church, I can always remember wanting to be loved by my peers.  I would make friends with anyone, seeking approval as that was a safe place for me.  I can remember telling myself in middle school that I would never become a victim to substance abuse because I knew the toll it had taken on my family.  As I got into high school, that need for approval from others led me to make decisions that over time, would send me down a road that eventually led me to a dark place as an adult.

I started college in 2004 and daily recreational use of marijuana with friends had become a place of comfort for me.  In 2005, I lost two of my best childhood friends to a tragic car accident.  Not even a year later I lost another one of my closest childhood friends to an 11 month battle with acute leukemia.  At that point I was devastated and angry that they had been taken from this world so soon.  Instead of running to God, and seeking professional counseling that my mother was offering me, I ran to my safe place which allowed me to numb the pain I was feeling on a daily basis.  Just as I did in childhood, I didn’t want to talk about it, because in my eyes that only made it worse.

In 2008, I graduated college, got a job, and married my beautiful wife in 2009.  We were a part of Capstone Church from the day it was planted, but I was still living life in a dark place without even realizing it.  Megan and I decided at the end of 2013 we were ready for children.  She tried to communicate to me that it was time for me to make some changes in the way I lived.  At that time, I don’t think either one of us realized that the state of my mental health was what was driving my addiction.  I tried to stop, but couldn’t, which lead to a barrier in our marriage.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2020, we had been blessed with two beautiful boys, built our forever home here in Fountain Inn, and were basically trying to survive day to day life as a family.  Megan had been telling me how I needed to make a change for a long time, but I let it go in one ear and out the other.  At this point, I knew that I couldn’t quit on my own, and if I wanted to, I would need professional help which meant telling my immediate family, church family, and all of my friends.  The thought of all this being brought into light scared me to death.  I had so many feelings of guilt, shame, and ultimately being worried about how people would view me.  Funny how this goes back to me being so concerned with “approval” as a kid, right?

After three months of us working at home due to COVID, Megan made one of the hardest decisions she has probably ever made in her life.  She knew she couldn’t continue to cover for me, and knew that I needed help.  She sat me down with family and friends, told me how much she loved me, and gave me a decision to make on my own.  She brought everything to light for me because she knew how afraid I was.  I was angry, embarrassed, and still consumed with what everyone was going to think about me, but in that place I truly felt the love of God like I had never felt it before.  My family and friends weren’t mad, they weren’t judging me, they just wanted me to get the mental, physical, and spiritual healing that I needed.  I chose to go to a dual-diagnoses treatment facility.  This was the hardest yet best thing I have ever done.  I committed to a process that taught me how to deal with the trauma I had been holding inside for so long.  I am proud of my story and believe that God has given me an opportunity to help others move from darkness to light.

New Day Recovery // How it started
In December of 2021, God put a calling on our community group.  A few years before I went to treatment, two of my friends in our community group had gone to the same treatment facility.  We were all working through recovery together with the support of our families.  The wife of one of my friends began having very vivid dreams as if she was running a treatment program right here in Fountain Inn.  She kept those dreams to herself but eventually shared with everyone in our community group about how vivid the dreams were and questioned whether or not it was a calling from the Holy Spirit.  We all agreed that it was God was trying to tell us something.  We wrestled with the reality of the opportunity.  How could we possibly run a rehab facility?  Are we even qualified for something like this?

After a lot of conversation and prayers, we met with Walt and Chris and shared our vision with them.  We sought counsel from Zach Dickson at Hopetown Counseling, and he introduced us to Bradley Saxon who runs The Bridge Center Recovery in Anderson, SC.  Bradley shared a lot with us about their mission and helped us come up with a plan to turn a “dream” into reality.
We came up with New Day Recovery as our name after hearing a song written by For King and Country.  This song was written after one of the band members chose to leave their tour to go home and help his wife get into recovery for an opiate addiction.  The chorus of the song is below and spoke directly to us in that very moment.

“Step into a New Day, We can rise up from the dust and walk away.  We can dance upon our heartache, So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships, and don’t you look back.”

New Day Recovery // What it offers
Our mission statement is “Redemption from addiction through community.”
In all of our stories, going to treatment was a huge and necessary step in the right direction towards recovery, but coming home and doing life together is a major part of why we have been successful.  We are not meant to do life on our own.

New Day Recovery wants to be there for anyone who finds themselves needing community.  Whether you struggle from substance abuse, mental illness, depression, or anxiety, we want to be a place of refuge so that we can give others the grace that God has given us.  This may mean helping someone find treatment, supporting a family who is dealing with addiction, or simply just connecting through a one on one relationship.

We meet on the first and third Tuesday of every month, 6 pm @ Capstone Church in Fountain Inn, SC.  The first Tuesday we have food, worship, and hear from a speaker who shares their story of recovery from addiction.  The third Tuesday we split into small groups (guys / girls) for round table conversations.  We are so excited to see what God has in store for us and so many others through this vision.

Here are the ways you can contact us.
Facebook; @newdayrecovery
Instagram; @newday_recovery 
Te. (864) 862-3993

Jon Paul Phillips
Guest blogger