“I struggled with addiction for about 23 years and everything kind of systematically broke down,” Judson said.
In 2017, Judson ended up in jail. Although it was a rough time in his life, Judson says it’s clear now that it was all part of God’s design. He used that time to work on Judson’s heart and show him there was more to life through a spiritual program there.
“Incarceration has the power to transform your life, should you let it,” Judson said.
After a brief stint at a Fort Myers shelter and a couple intermittent relapses, Judson arrived at Campbell Lodge in December of 2020. He was clean after completing a 28-day program, and he was ready (he thought) to come to St. Matthew’s House. But after just a couple weeks, the structure and accountability became too much.
“I wasn’t [as] fully surrendered, as I thought that I was and didn’t use this place to the advantage that I should have,” Judson said.
So Judson left the program and relapsed, but that would be the final time.
“That was the one that broke my spirit and my will,” Judson said. “That’s what it took. I admitted myself into detox, and my sober date is the first of April 2021.”
Judson knew God wanted him back at Campbell Lodge so, after detox, he called intake, and says he was greeted with care, concern and zero judgment.
“The administration – these people live for God, and they walk with God,” Judson said. “They care, and you can tell it just [by] being around them.”
Now, Judson embraces the structure and welcomes the accountability knowing that it’s for his own good to create stability for long-term recovery.
“Case managers? They’re awesome because they care! The accountability is huge. Having those meetings and seeing them around the complex, they’re just a beam of light really. To provide that emotional support, [it’s] just a beautiful thing.
Since he surrendered completely to the program, Judson has been astonished by the opportunities presented to him.
“Whether it’s recovery meetings, whether it’s faith, whether it’s guys coming in from banks – this place provides everything you need,” Judson said. “Emotionally, mentally, psychologically, spiritually, financially – the healing you need is right in front of you.”
One thing Judson’s learned since arriving is that recovery takes time.
“This figuring stuff out – your life, your work, yourself – it’s slow,” Judson said. “This place is great because they’re so nurturing and caring about the process. I mean, yes, it’s a 90-day [program], but if you’re invested in your heart, then they’re in no hurry to get you to the door.”
For Judson, it’s been about eight months and his time is coming to a close. He says God let him know it’s time to move on, and the staff helps every step of the way.
As far as his next steps, Judson’s got a job cleaning pools, and he’s looking for an apartment with his best friend whom he met at Campbell Lodge.
Judson says someone once told him that the opposite of addiction is connection, and he says that’s how he plans to move forward – by staying connected to God and staying connected to the community he’s found while at Campbell Lodge.
“This place has taught me to be a better Christian and a better man,” Judson said. “It’s been eight of the more powerful months of my life.”