A man from Virginia who turned to alcohol to fill the void of his insecurities and the wounds of sexual molestation by a relative in his childhood got enslaved to heroin after he was introduced to it in high school. Losing his father at a young age, he lost his identity, self-control, wife, family, business, home, and hope. However, with the help of God, he underwent a radical transformation and is now living his best life.
“God did it …,” Fred Waymouth, 46, pastor and co-founder of The FIX Ministry, told The Epoch Times.
At a very young age, Weymouth was subject to the ugliness of sexual molestation by a teenage relative. The incidents took place on six separate days, over a period of two years. As a child, he was ashamed and hurt deeply by someone he thought loved him. Finding it difficult to trust anyone after that, he kept the molestation a secret and started to “isolate and alienate,” himself.
Additionally, the insecurities and awkwardness of puberty, uneasy feelings, and difficulty with communication made him turn to alcohol.
Recalling the first time he took a sip of alcohol, Weymouth said he was going for a middle school dance with a girl and was nervous. Before the dance, he met some soccer friends behind a soccer field and drank alcohol for the first time.
“I drank a little bit more, and those feelings of uneasiness, awkwardness, and anxiety kind of dissipated and went away,” he said. “All those butterflies and feelings and emotions were gone.”
For Weymouth, it was not really the alcohol that got him hooked, but the feelings that it gave him. This is where his lifelong battle with substance abuse first began.
In grades 9 and 10, Weymouth experimented with drugs: LSD, hallucinogenics, and marijuana. In between the next two years of high school, Weymouth tried heroin for the first time. By the time he graduated from high school, he was consuming drugs daily. They were the perfect solution, so he thought, for his lack of coping skills.
“I learned over those four or five years that any type of feeling that I had was negative, I could use drugs and alcohol to change it or forget about it,” he recalled.
Although his father caught him with substances a few times, Weymouth shared that his parents did not understand the depth of drug use that he was involved with. He was accustomed to floating along without seeking direction from a guide or compass.
“I had learned through that episode that happened to me as a child that I build these systems where I was able to hide, then I was good at hiding things that were going on in my life from other people,” he said. “I kind of lived in the shadows.”
The pain of his childhood abuse grew into bitterness and anger, even violence at times. Then, when the drugs and lack of control got out of hand, there was constant tension at home, and eventually a physical altercation between Weymouth and his father.
“I can remember picking my dad up and throwing him on the ground,” Weymouth said.
His father, who Weymouth loved very much, wanted him out of the house. So, as a senior in high school, Weymouth moved out; the drugs and partying then only got worse.
Weymouth soon graduated from high school, somehow restored his relationship with his father, and began to work at his father’s insurance business as a salesman.
He went to work daily, eventually got married, and was living independently with his wife. Yet, under the surface, there was an invisible rip tide pulling at him. The drug addiction had “spiraled out of control.”
“I was sniffing heroin every day,” he said. “I was drinking pretty much every day.”
At about the age of 20, his addiction got so bad that he began missing work and failing to appear for appointments. His father then put him in a rehab program.
“My father was a good man. He was a hard worker. And he was my best friend,” Weymouth said. “I get emotional when I talk about my dad, because it was a catalyst for me.”
After graduation from the 30-day program, Weymouth joined the Coast Guard. He excelled during his time of service, but still relied on alcohol.
Sadly, Weymouth’s father died at age 47 from stage 4 colon cancer. After his diagnosis, Weymouth, then 30, had only eight weeks with his father.
Weymouth had left the drugs behind during his several years serving in the Coast Guard. However, after transitioning back to civilian life and with the loss of his father, he fell back into drug addiction.
“I was not able to function,” he told The Epoch Times. At this time, he found himself slipping “off the edge” into an “abyss of darkness.”
During this period of time, Weymouth grew angry and bitter with God—a God that he says he neither understood nor had a relationship with. He thought God had taken his father. While Weymouth thinks very differently today than he did at the time, it still pains him to recall the loss of his dad. It was the trigger that shot him down a path of self-destruction.
The period between 2004 and 2012 was very dark for Weymouth.
“I used a lot of drugs and I lost everything in that eight-year period,” he recalled.
During this rough patch, Weymouth took nine rehab trips; his wife left him, taking their children with her; he lost the family business that he and his father had worked on together; and he lost his home.
After living on the streets strung out on heroin and revolving between couches, jails, and dark corners, Weymouth ended up one night sleeping on some cardboard boxes behind a convenience store. He had cursed God before, but finding himself in those circumstances, he cried out to God that night.
“I was done living and I couldn’t go on anymore,” he said. “Something that night changed, I can’t explain to you what that was.”
Weymouth woke the next morning with a renewed sense of hope. He checked himself into another rehab program, and through that, he had to serve some jail time which he did.
By the end of 2012, after getting out of jail, he gave his life to God, and a week later, he was baptized. Ever since then, he’s walked a path devoted to God.
“Ultimately, it was the Lord that freed me from the bondage of addiction,” Weymouth said. “I can attest to you right now that I tried everything humanly possible to stop shooting heroin, and nothing would work.”
Weymouth shared that, from that night on the cardboard boxes until this day, he hasn’t resorted to the use of any drug.
Victories in Life
Weymouth’s victories in life weren’t achieved automatically. He’d found a church close to where he was and was involved with it. He slept in the woods.
He had to face all the things he was running away from, such as courts and fines and 10 years’ worth of unpaid taxes. Additionally, he sensed a lack of trust from people who’d seen him fall, over and over again.
“I had to really, really persevere through the getting back out of it, if you will,” said Weymouth, who took almost six years to get back up.
However, through it all, Weymouth began to see flickers and glimmers of hope and restoration of family bonds with his mother and siblings.
A man at church hired him and helped him transition out of homelessness by giving him a place to live. Soon, he met a woman, Casey, to whom he’s been married for eight years now.
Reflecting back on the journey of rebuilding himself, there is one salient moment that really brought him joy: when he was able to rent a movie.
During his addiction, Weymouth had written a pile of bad checks and thus he couldn’t get a checking account anywhere. During his recovery, he would eye the Redbox at his local grocery store. This was a reminder in the primary color of his failings—because he needed a debit card, and he couldn’t get one, as his past mistakes had barred this little luxury from him.
Finally, after consistent working and earning, Weymouth applied for a checking account. He signed the requisite papers and left the bank totally convinced that he would be declined.
“So, a week later, they called and they said, ‘you’re approved,”’ he said. “They gave me a debit card and I can remember walking back across the street and renting a movie at the Redbox.
“I cried like a baby. It was one of the biggest blessings that God had ever given me up to that point; I was just grateful to be able to do that.”
From that point on, a deluge of blessings kept pouring down.
Not only was Weymouth steadily in recovery and happily remarried, but someone also paid for him to attend a seminary program. After his completion of seminary, he was ordained as a pastor.
A Renewed Sense of Purpose
Weymouth took his newfound life and poured it out to others. He said, a few years after “the Lord got ahold of me,” he began to visit the old places where he’d lived on the streets; he knew there were others there that were struggling with drugs and alcohol, and he wanted to help.
He started by passing out hot MacDonald’s sausage and egg McMuffins and praying with people.
Soon, he was preaching in the city of Richmond, where he lives. He would set up, and homeless people would gather.
“I would give them a word and just love on them,” he said. “And we, my wife and I, would cook them a hot meal, and we’d serve them.”
One day, while Weymouth was teaching, a man walked up and handed him his heroin and needles and said that he wanted to know more about God, and to get sober.
But after that, the man was found in and out of recovery programs, lapsing back into addiction time and again. Weymouth then saw him downtown, where he was bombed again on heroin. That was when Weymouth got the idea of “The FIX Ministry.”
Sharing more about it, he said he wanted to create a place with a rehabilitation program that helped people who struggle with drugs and alcohol to get on their feet and start a new life, regardless of their means or money.
So, Weymouth and his wife began praying, hoping that God would provide them with a home. They then gathered a group of people from their neighborhood—governmental figures such as the sheriff and the board of supervisors—and Weymouth shared from his heart about what he wanted to do. He met another pastor at that meeting, and together they founded The FIX. Soon, someone had donated a piece of their property in King William, Virginia, and four years ago, they opened the doors to their safe haven.
“We take men in from all walks of life. We have guys that are homeless and off the street, to pastors’ sons who have come into our house and have struggled with substance abuse,” he said.
In the span of a year, they are introduced to God and attend various kinds of activities, such as Bible teaching and vocational training. After a year, they then graduate and get a job and place to stay.
Looking back wide-eyed at what he has come out of, now able to serve and invest in others, Weymouth said: “I just never thought 10 years ago that I’d be sitting here where I’m at right now, and it’s a humbling experience.”
Today, Weymouth is not the man he used to be and he believes he’s now a better husband and father. Now, he has a purpose; a compass; a rudder.
Gems of Advice
Having been able to cross to the other side of the deep river, Weymouth lends a piece of advice to those struggling with an addiction of their own.
“Don’t rely on your own strength. Don’t rely on your own wisdom. Don’t do it alone. You can’t do it alone,” he said.
He advises reaching out and surrendering oneself to God.
“He has the power to set you free from the bondage of addiction,” he added.
He also stressed that community is enormously important; it helps to be around people who’ve been through the same challenges and have come out the other side.
“We are ashamed or don’t feel like people can understand or relate to things that we’re going through,” Weymouth said. But, somebody who’s been through it can help you walk through it, he advised.
Forgiveness After Injury
Weymouth had carried the heavy load of bitterness and anger for a long time after his childhood abuses. But, one day, when he was still in the grasp of addiction, he came face to face with the relative who had hurt him.
“I can remember running into him in front of a gas station one night,” he recalled.
The relative had a jaundiced face and cirrhosis. Weymouth knew he wasn’t well—he looked horrible. But, at that moment, Weymouth was able to forgive the man. His identity, which had so long been wrapped up in the trauma of his abuse, was suddenly missing.
In that moment of forgiveness, Weymouth’s feelings of bitterness and anger dissipated.
“There’s power in forgiveness,” he explained.
It’s Never Too Late to Change
Weymouth reflects on his life with gratitude, but also with regret.
His list of regrets includes not being a better sibling, father, and son; and leaving others with the lasting scars and memories caused by his behavior.
“I could have led them differently,” he said. “I could have been more of a positive influence instead of a negative influence.”
Still, he recognizes that his experiences—and God’s mercy throughout them—have led him to be the man that he is today.
“So, I don’t know that I would change my experiences,” he said. “But I wish I could go back and change some of my behavior.” It’s never too late to change anything.
A Message of Hope
Weymouth doesn’t want his story to leave the spotlight on himself. He thinks it should go elsewhere.
“I want them to see God through my story,” he said.
Weymouth’s life has gone from bondage to liberty, from desert to garden, from dearth to bounty, and he wants others to have the same.
“God restored what the locusts devoured, you know, and it’s just been a beautiful, beautiful journey,” he said. “It’s been awesome.”