Robert Neff calls his battle with addiction a two-headed monster that consisted of becoming involved with the wrong people and partying more than he should have.
The underlying problem was a lack of Jesus in his life, along with serious spiritual and emotional issues, he said.
“Partying and escaping with a substance seemed to help in the beginning,” Neff said. “Feeling as if I was getting approval from the group of guys I was partying with mixed with your brain shutting down and not having to worry about insecurities and things like that. You get used to it and it becomes more than Friday or Saturday. You need that escape every day. Before you know it, you have an addiction.”
Neff, now 29, grew up in Jessamine County and said he was what one would call a “model guy” until his life started to turn bad. Dealing with underlying issues, he did his best not to make them obvious to those around him.
“I went to elementary, middle and high school all in the county,” Neff said. “I graduated East Jessamine High School. I was vice president of my senior class and was very active and involved. I got a full academic scholarship to Eastern Kentucky University out of high school.”
For Neff, what started as drinking and the occasional marijuana use became using Percocet and OxyContin and eventually heroin.
“The lure of the party scene became something more than just on weekends and something more than drinking,” Neff said. “I battled before Isaiah House off and on for 10 years with some periods of success but ultimately falling back into it.”
Isaiah House has served as a state-licensed alcohol and other drug recovery center in Kentucky since 2010. Offering a treatment center for long-term recovery, the program also provides job skill training and help obtaining employment for those who go through the program.
Neff came to the program by the way of Patricia’s Place, a 30-day treatment center offering a transition into the Isaiah House.
“If you are staying long term you come to what we call the big house,” Neff said. “Some people can not afford or receive the funds to transition to the long-term place.”
After losing temporary custody of his three sons because of a failed drug test, Neff knew something in his life had to change.
“I could hear God telling me I needed more than 30 days and needed to get it right this time,” Neff said. “I couldn’t afford to stay in the Isaiah House so my family started trying to explore other options.”
Neff said his family attends Southland Christian Church, and through its “Dollar Club” was able to receive the funds necessary to keep Neff in the program.
“I was at Patricia’s Place and my mom submitted an application for me explaining my situation,” Neff said. “Basically saying I was trying to change my life and she was afraid I was going to die and I needed help. Several hundred people apply to receive these funds and I believe it was a God thing they selected me. They gave me a substantial amount of money so I could stay here.”
Neff said he can not express how thankful he is to Southland Christian Church and what they have given him making it possible to stay and receive the treatment he needs. He said the opportunity has given him the ability to turn his life around and give his life back to Jesus Christ.
“Just a small act of kindness can have a very large impact on someone’s life,” Neff said. “I am thankful and blessed and overwhelmed with their kindness and generosity.”
Neff said through Isaiah House he has received the tools he needed to get sober and develop a relationship with God in order to find joy and peace in sobriety. The God aspect is what he feels is different in the way Isaiah House approaches addiction, and he remains grateful and thankful for the way he said God has blended everything together providing him with the help he needed and creating an avenue for him to come to the Isaiah House.
“When my time is done here, I will be close to having my kids back,” Neff said. “I will be a single dad. I am excited about that. I plan to go back to school for my bachelors. In short term, I want to be in a position to help guys that have similar struggles that I have.”
Neff said he sees how some individuals can help those with addiction if they too have struggled with it. In the future, he wants to help those who are currently struggling and remind them how valuable they are.
“Even if they don’t see it, I would tell them they are not worthless,” Neff said. “I know shame is a big part of what causes people to spiral out of control. There is nothing that they have done that God can not redeem. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back to that lifestyle but try something different to see if you can’t find more joy and fulfillment out of getting sober and trying to live a more productive life.
“I encourage anyone that has addiction problems to come to Isaiah House. It could definitely change their life.”
For more information on the Isaiah House, visit www.isaiah-house.org, or call 859-375-9200.