NITRO, W.Va. - Jason Wickline says he had to lose everything before finally deciding to beat his addiction and committing fully to recovery, and his story went viral after he shared images of his transformation on social media.
Wickline shared side-by-side photos of himself as part of the #RecoveryChallenge, a social media movement that encourages people who have overcome addiction to show before-and-after photos of their personal journey to recovery.
The photo on the left shows Wickline in the throes of his years-long struggle with addiction. He had begun to dabble with drugs in his 20s, which ultimately resulted in him losing his home, his car and the custody of his child for the second time.
“I lost it all. But that's what it took,” he wrote in a blog post for More Than Addiction, an organization that elevates and shares the stories of people who have been impacted by addiction.
The moment he watched Child Protective Services take his now son into custody as he was being arrested was was his wake-up call, he explained.
“At 4 years old he turned around and said, ‘Daddy I love you; I’ll never forget you,” Wickline told WOWK. “So, at 4 he understood that life was never going to be the same again. He was fully prepared to accept that he’ll never see his daddy again.”
Wickline’s photo from after recovery shows a very different person.
He said he has regained full custody of his son and has been employed at the same job for nearly two years.
“I have a car, a home, and all of the bills are in my name and paid on time,” he said.
He said he has met “the most beautiful woman” who helps him grow and encourages him to become a better version of himself every day.
In sharing his experience, Wickline hopes to show others that recovery is possible for anyone and to encourage those who need help to take the leap and reach out.
"The thing about this disease is that it doesn't discriminate," he said. "It affects all walks of life from the high school star athlete to the anti social recluse. From the top paid business person to the minimum wage fast food worker. From lives of privilege to those poverty stricken. It doesn't care about any of that stuff."
Wickline has also devoted his time to sponsoring others going through recovery and volunteering as much as he can at various treatment programs.
“To be able to see others transform from being bound up by selfish ‘what's in it for me' motives and turn into people who genuinely care about the well being of others is absolutely the highlight of my life," Wickline said.
“That and being a full time Dad to an amazing 8yr old boy!" he added.
Wickline told WOWK that his perspective on fatherhood has shifted drastically. While he once felt like it was a chore to take care of his son, he now says he realizes it’s a privilege.
Today, he calls his son his best friend.Now, when he counsels others on overcoming addiction, he tells them, “It takes what it takes, and that is different for everyone,” but urges people never to lose hope and never to give up.
“Just because someone falls, doesn’t mean they can’t get back up,” he told WOWK. “They can fall tomorrow, but just because that happens doesn’t mean it’s the end of their story.”
This story was repoted from Los Angeles.