“Big Jim, aka, Jim Downs stand is the love of God, family, and his recovery by raising awareness of the addiction epidemic, saving lives from addiction while shattering stigma through Jesus Christ, his Savior.”
Jim Downs was not born into wealth, fame, or to an athletic family. Quite the contrary. His hard life began at birth, as a child of God, but sadly an unwanted pregnancy and was given up right after his birth. When Jim turned three months old, new parents adopted Jim. The new parents welcomed him as he grew to be ‘the apple of his father’s eyes.” Then, tragically at three and a half years old, his father passed away, leaving him with only his mother. A year and a half later she remarried, and his new adopted father never embraced him, Jim started feeling unloved and a sense of profound abandonment, a constant burden to his second father that lasted many years until his father’s passing. Some of the underlying roots to why he may have turned to addictions while growing up. A need to numb the pain, haunting’s, and hurt as a child. Unbeknownst to Jim, his Holy Father above was watching and waiting for him.
Jim began looking for anything to fill that void and feelings of emptiness, at 12-years old he started drinking alcohol and smoking weed. It progressed and at 14 -years-old he turned to hard drugs. Meth became his demon. All the while, God had been walking next to him. Side by side, God traveled Jim’s road with him, the years of destruction and self-sabotage. God never left him, Jim didn’t know who he was. Besides, as addicts, we feel the massive shame and guilt of turning our backs on God as Jim had. Thinking; “how can God love or care about a man who lies, cheats, causes pain to others and a hopeless drug user like me?”
Then, a ‘Miracle,’ in homelessness and deep within many of his addictions, Jim had seen a sliver of light that God had opened up for him. He reached out to that light, and he entered a treatment program in Panama City, FL. Here is where his life transformation and conviction in Christ began. At that moment he chose life and walked into a recovery program at The Panama City Rescue Mission. His first blessing and miracle from God. Jim began treatment learning the recovery tools and skills that aid his recovery still today, but another test and trial came by way of losing his best friend Alex Peters only 4-months into his treatment. At a crossroad, Jim not only felt Gods spirit in him but the stirring for his second miracle was also building that included losing Alex! This lite a fire in Jim as God revealed to him his real mission and life purpose. And so it began, “Big Jim’s Walk Across America.”
After 16 months in the addiction recovery program, Jim left The Panama City Rescue Mission at 7 a.m., Feb. 1, 2017, and embarked on an eight-month walk/hike leaving the front door of the center. Going from Panama City, Florida, to Canada by walking “The Appalachian Trail” beginning in Georgia. Why? It would be his aftercare program like no other to keep him stable within recovery and through his faith. Jim says it best; “I want anyone who is in the final phase of their recovery program to remember this event and be empowered not to go back to their ‘old life’ when they leave any recovery program,” Jim said. “They need to step out within faith and let God guide them to a new way of life. There is life after addiction.
Jim shares; “this hike and walk will be a spiritual journey for me, bringing me closer to God.”
“I’m out here to find myself, who I am, what I stand for.” Jim did complete his walk and even got off the trail as God asked him to. “God wanted me on the road, not a trail to talk to others and raise awareness of addiction.” He did in honor of his best friend Alex who died of a drug overdose and seeing Alex’s family left heartbroken. Along the walk, Jim carried a large wooden cross part of the way. Jim said; “since God asked, I will witness and testify to anyone that will listen to me about how I turned to, and I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior, He changed me and the life I live.”
As his walk continued a third miracle was coming as God had a big one in mind for Big Jim that would knock him off his feet! Before his walk, God had chosen an “Angel” who was watching on social media. This angel told her mother she was watching Jim’s walk because she wanted to see how God, through Jim, was using him and guiding this “Big Guy” to share hope, witness, and educate those he spoke with and met along the way.
This “Angel” is Marisol Lozano. They slowly began a penpal friendship that of course, later on, turned into a beautiful relationship and a marriage along the walk. An extraordinary one as a prophet married them. Their beautiful prophetic ceremony solidified them to one another and had brought them even closer to their ‘Heavenly Father.’ Jim completed his “Walk Across America” ending in Canada with God and his “angel” Marisol Lozano by his side.
Today, Big Jim and Marisol along with an amazing Big Jim’s team is already in place and working hard before Jim embarks on the next “Miracle and Mission” God has called upon them to accomplish. This one is already shaping up to be bigger than the walk, more significant than we could ever imagine!
Announcing “Big Jim’s Ride Around America ~ Big Jim Bikes America 4 Addiction Awareness” and you can join us!
Jim will bike around America to raise awareness of the epidemic of addiction. Big thanks to “Performer Cycles,” so on Jan 1, 2019, Jim will leave from the steps of FT. Meyers Florida City Hall on a bicycle and pedal addiction awareness to all the lower 48 state capitals. Almost 14,000 miles in one year! The event will be filmed courtesy of Bethel Film Productions as Jim encourages thousands to enter recovery, bring communities together to fight for those struggling with any addiction as they share their stories and voices. Jim will talk to State Capitol Politicians in hopes of changing the way they approach and pass legislation of addiction bills and issues.