Jim Downs, was born in Fallbrook, California, which is in San Diego County, on January 22, 1969. He was adopted by a very loving family at the age of 3 months. One of his earliest memories was walking in his fathers work boots. His father was a fireman for the Chula Vista Fire Department and a part time appliance repairman for Sears. His mother was a home maker. His father passed away when he was three years old ? His mother passed away in 2012 from a battle with alzheimers. He has a difficult relationship with his stepfather. After the death of his mother, he totally lost it and attempted suicide, including trying to drive his truck into the Arkansas River.

One of Jim’s biggest fears, as a child, was being left out or left behind. He spent most of his Summers playing outside like most kids did at the time, with the other neighborhood kids. He had several nicknames, Jimmy, Toucan, and most recently, Big Jim. Jim hated school and his grades reflected that, as he was an F student. He loved music and phys ed, where he excelled. Music is his passion and he can play any instrument that is given to him.

Jim was around 12 years old when he first became involved with drugs and alcohol. Anything he could get his hands on, including beer, wine, pills, pot, cigarettes. When he was 15, he was introduced to meth, which became his drug of choice. Jim’s teenage years were filled with lots of partying, music, and building cars, specifically VW Bugs, or any type of hot rod. After high school, Jim attended Southwestern Junior College, where he was studying jazz, but dropped out. He even attempted the military and joined the Army. Three days later, he was booted out for failing a drug test. He started Haney Technical School’s welding program and dropped out as well. Jim had been building a pattern of not finishing anything, and didn’t realize it at the time.

His first job was shoveling horse manure at stables near his home in Chula Vista, California. He was only 12 at the time. One of his best jobs was sales rep for Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion, with territories in Louisiana and Mississippi. His worst job was as an on-site security guard. The Hawaiian Tropic job paid the most, but increased his use of cocaine. There wasn’t any job that gave him any satisfaction or provided him with any value to his life. While Jims’ future is in the hands of God, his dream is to be blessed with the family farm, which is 80 acres and to build a faith based, recovery camp, notably named. “Camp Redemption”.

Jim has been married 4 times and has 2 sons, James Jr, and Jake Robert, and one daughter, Jaimyn Michelle. His former wife, Natalie, was the love of his life. His addiction ruined every relationship that he had. Jim has five grand daughters. Unfortunately, he has no relationship at this time. His daughter and son have kept him away from his grandchildren, as a result of his addiction. He hopes to build a loving relationship with them one day. He describes himself as a horrible drug addict and feels that his children would think the same of him. To date, his communication and contact with his children is quite, limited, primarily through email and Facebook. He has 3 sisters, Ricki, Cindi, and Sue. His sister Cindi is battling alzheimers, just as his mother did. He stays in touch with Ricki and Sue.

Jim has never had a high opinion of himself. His self destruction through drugs and alcohol has not permitted him to know what true happiness is and doesn’t feel that he has any life accomplishments. He truly feels that he has wasted most of his life. His biggest fear as an adult is that his children will follow in his footsteps. Life before sobriety made him a mean, twisted, bully.

About a year ago, Jim entered a program of recovery at Panama City Rescue Mission. In July of 2015, he states, “God started knocking at my door”! Everyday the knock grew louder and louder. In the month of September, it was so loud that he went to a small community church near his house. That day, he dedicated his life to God. The next day he was back at the bar. A month later, to the exact day, he drank all day in the bar, consumed meth, pills, and smoked weed. He had his first blackout. He didn’t know where he was, who he was, or what he was doing. He was told the next day that he took a baseball bat after his girlfriend and her daughter. He has no recollection. He thanks God that no one was hurt and that he didn’t end up in jail. He immediately admitted himself into a detox program. After five days in detox, he went to the Panama City Rescue Mission and joined the Mens Long-Term Addiction Recovery Program.

Jim is currently on a journey like no other in his life. He is sober and has a mission in life to help others through addiction. He states, “Jesus saved me, and now HE is my everything, my entire being”. “I am leading by example and know that regardless of the fact that I am a sinner, I will go to Heaven, praise, the Lord, and will continue to be God’s servant”!

The WALK isn’t a story about Big Jim, this is a story of a man, who was saved from addiction, by the healing power of Jesus Christ. Jim is preparing for a spiritual journey, a WALK, sanctioned by God, while bringing a message of HOPE, to all of those affected by addiction. There is LIFE after addiction, there is LIFE after recovery. Please join Big Jim for the WALK.