RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — The bonds of a family are unbreakable, but life’s many challenges constantly try to fracture them. And for many families, one of those challenges is addiction.
Tim Craft was a just regular kid growing up in the western end of Raleigh County, but his life took a turn after he left college.
“I really couldn’t figure out how to live life without having a substance,” Tim explained.
His addiction started with pain killers which lead to heroin.
“When you’re addicted, you always try to rationalize like if I don’t use a needle, I’m not as bad as that person, or if I don’t do this, I’m not as bad. And I always told myself I would never use a needle, but I ended up using a needle,” Tim said.
His parents, Tommy and Teresa Craft, knew about their son’s addiction and tried everything they could to help.
“Oh it was rough. Really, you didn’t know what to expect from day to day, but that’s your kids. You’re going to do whatever for your kids if you love them,” Tommy said.
But their strength was constantly tested; they were under stress, worrying about their family and worrying about Tim.
“I pulled up out here and I’ll never forget this. My mom and dad thought I was dead, out in the driveway. My mom was scared to go out there and even look into the car,” Tim said.
While Tim knew his parents loved him, he also knew the strain his addiction put on them and their relationship.
“I always knew if it got bad enough, they would be there. But there was definitely some tension because they were very aware of what was going on,” Tim explained.
Then came the biggest test of all: Tim’s younger sister, Brandi, died of an overdose.
“It’s so surreal when you’re in this moment and you’re looking at one of your best friends, and you’re thinking to yourself they’re gone forever,” Tim said.
His parents were left picking up the pieces, raising Brandi’s daughter while working through their own pain and guilt of losing their youngest child.
“Hard…I wouldn’t want anyone to experience that. That’s so far been the hardest thing in my life,” Teresa said.
For months after Brandi’s death, Tim tried to get clean, but nothing worked. Until one day, in a dark hotel room close to death, he found the thing he was searching for all along.
“I just said God, I don’t even know if you’re real, but if you’re real please help me because I don’t know what else to do. And for the first time I felt the presence of God,” Tim said.
Tim joined a recovery program in Atlanta and his relationship with God grew even stronger. He came back to West Virginia and started his own faith-based program called High on Hope. He is now seven years sober and helping other people turn to God and find freedom from addiction.
“I never would’ve thought that all those years of destruction, God really used what the enemy really meant to destroy me for my whole future and my destiny,” Tim said.
But Tim knows the biggest reason for his success is his parents. He said without them, he would not be the person he is today.
“Knowing that they didn’t give up is one of the reasons I’m even here. Because if they hadn’t reached out to my friend to reach out to me, then I probably would’ve died in that hotel room,” Tim explained.
While it was not easy for his parents to watch their son struggle, they knew love was always the answer.
“You can’t judge someone on the outside, you gotta look at their heart, and you can’t give up on their kids,” Tommy said.
Tim and his parents are closer than ever now. They are proud of the work he is doing to save lives and proud of how far he has come in his own recovery. Tim even opened Brandi’s Legacy, a treatment center in honor of his sister.
“All these ladies now who come through the program can now be free and it’s because of a tragedy, but God used a tragedy to bring triumph to others,” Tim said.
Even in their darkest times, the Craft Family chose love and compassion.
“I’m thankful they kept fighting for me when I couldn’t fight for myself,” Tim said.