Pla­cen­tia pas­tor shares drug ad­dic­tion re­cov­ery story

Ja­son Burge, speak­ing this week­end in Vic­to­ria, hopes to help oth­ers

The Compass - - News - BY CHRIS LEWIS has their own strug­gles, and ev­ery­one has their own ways of deal­ing with that. For me, my strug­gle was ad­dic­tion, and I over­came that through my faith, but ev­ery­one’s dif­fer­ent, and ev­ery­one is go­ing to han­dle things in their own way. I jus

“Ev­ery­one’s dif­fer­ent, and ev­ery­one is go­ing to han­dle things in their own way. I just want to make sure that no one feels alone out there, be­cause they’re not.”

Ja­son Burge

A Pla­cen­tia pas­tor is shar­ing the story of his jour­ney out of ad­dic­tion and into faith with res­i­dents of Vic­to­ria.

Ja­son Burge is a Pen­te­costal pas­tor, cur­rently liv­ing in Pla­cen­tia with his fam­ily. To­day, he lets his faith as a Chris­tian lead him through life, and as a pas­tor, he helps other like-minded peo­ple do the same. How­ever, this was not al­ways the path Burge — his ad­dic­tion to drugs and spi­ralling men­tal health prob­lems were at the fore­front of his life prior to De­cem­ber 2007.

Burge’s story starts early, when he be­gan ex­per­i­ment­ing with recre­ational drugs such as mar­i­juana and hash oil from as early as ninth grade. From there, he ex­plained it as a snow­ball ef­fect, as he be­gan to ex­per­i­ment in harder drugs, and be­fore long, the ex­per­i­men­ta­tion tran­si­tioned from just on week­ends, to ev­ery other day, to a daily habit. He said that al­though it started with mar­i­juana, he found him­self do­ing what­ever it took to get the high he felt he craved – co­caine, ec­stasy, and what­ever else he could get his hands on. This, mixed with heavy drink­ing and men­tal health is­sues, meant his day-to-day life got more and more dif­fi­cult to deal with as each day passed.

“There was a num­ber of events through­out my life that made me turn to drugs and al­co­hol to dif­fer­ent de­grees,” Burge ex­plained to The Com­pass. “I didn’t en­joy do­ing drugs, by any means, but it would ease the pain of what­ever I was go­ing through at the time, and that in it­self is a very ad­dic­tive feel­ing. When you’re go­ing through some­thing dif­fi­cult, it’s very easy to say, ‘oh, I know how to make this sit­u­a­tion eas­ier to deal with,’ and so, that’s what I did. It helped me not fo­cus on the bad things, and just get away from it all for a while.”

Burge went on to ex­plain that things such as his par­ents’ sep­a­ra­tion, and the loss of a close friend fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent, led him back to old habits, de­spite the fact he had the de­sire to change.

De­pres­sion, and thoughts of sui­cide, also racked Burge’s daily life. He said the ad­dic­tion it­self, as well as the emo­tional dam­age it was caus­ing to the peo­ple around him, had his men­tal state at an all-time low. As the years of his life flew by, he said these prob­lems only got worse.

How­ever, it was Chris­tian­ity and Burge’s faith in God that helped him over­come his big­gest in­ner demons. He rec­og­nizes the night of Dec. 20, 2007, as the day his life took a turn for the bet­ter. Since then, he’s never looked back to his old ways, and con­tin­ues to im­prove him­self in a num­ber of ar­eas.

“I never ac­tu­ally en­tered into a re­hab pro­gram, or any­thing like that. I did have thoughts about do­ing it, and talked to peo­ple about it, but I just never made those steps,” said Burge. “But, like I said, I had suf­fered from some se­vere de­pres­sion for a num­ber of years. I had made a plan to end my life on the night of De­cem­ber 20th, 2007. I told my mother I was go­ing to do it, and ob­vi­ously she tried to talk me out of it. Af­ter talk­ing with my aunt that night, I ul­ti­mately de­cided that I just re­ally needed to make some changes in my life. I had to go from be­ing ad­dicted to drugs, to try and fol­low God’s teach­ings the best way I can. That’s how my life changed that night – a com­plete re­ver­sal.”

Al­though re­li­gion had al­ways been present in Burge’s life, he said his ac­tions as a teenager, his ad­dic­tion and men­tal health prob­lems led him away from his faith. Now, over a decade af­ter that night in 2007, he has com­pletely em­braced his new life as a Chris­tian, lead­ing the Pen­te­costal church in Pla­cen­tia, and trav­el­ling around the prov­ince to var­i­ous churches to speak on his story.

To date, Burge has vis­ited churches in Stephenville, Port de Grave, Bishop’s Falls, and a num­ber of other com­mu­ni­ties. Now, he is tak­ing his story and mes­sage to the Bethel Pente costal Church in Vic­to­ria on Sun­day night, April 22. Here, he hopes to reach out to peo­ple who may be go­ing through their own strug­gles, to re­mind them that they are not alone.

“I just go and talk about my per­sonal jour­ney of find­ing God again, and the strug­gles I went through both be­fore and dur­ing my re­cov­ery from ad­dic­tion,” said Burge. “Ev­ery­one

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Ja­son Burge is a pas­tor from Pla­cen­tia who hopes to help oth­ers strug­gling with life by shar­ing his own story of drug ad­dic­tion and re­cov­ery through his faith.

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