Josh stared at his vision board, as he lay on his bed. "I am a good man." So how was he going to get there? This was today, he woke up in a drug rehab. It had all been too easy to get there, now it was up to him to change.
Becoming a party animal was the easiest thing Josh Sampson had ever had to do. One day, he was the hometown hero, the local suburban boy who had made it big in league football. Josh was a media sensation, a pin-up boy. He was champion goal kicker, always relied on to swing a game off his own boot.
By now, he was nearly thirty years old. He had a vision of himself as a media commentator on sporting television network. Josh's future ahead had been glowing, after all his football achievements and trophies.
But he was still a wanted man. His team had signed him on again, and they had made it to the week of the final match of the season. Unfortunately, Josh strained his ankle in the prior match, and did not know how to tell his coach. His housemate had arranged for a few friends to come over, kick back with a few beers.
Reflecting on that crazy time, Josh still did not know what had come over him. He had sat down with the invited company, and was struck by the enchanting little lady, Samantha. Sparks flew, or had it all been a ruse, because of Josh's renown and big name in what was a parochial small pond, football?
By the end of that evening, Josh was wasted on designer drugs. Samantha took him off to bed, where he nestled in her arms. His ankle was still throbbing. In those moments in time, he stopped caring that he was supposed to be drug-free.
Grace woke Josh up the next morning to an empty bed, as he gazed in the mirror, seeing a pool of regret. He could hear music in the lounge room, so he wandered back there. Samantha was the life of the party, luring Josh to explore a darker side of his nature.
Josh did not even bother to check his phone, where many urgent messages waited for him. Samantha and her friends were very generous with their substances. Any excuse, it was too easy to blame someone else. No one was forcing Josh to take drugs, he just did.
His housemate eventually phoned Josh's coach, and did a bit of heavy sniveling. But Josh's ankle was still sore and swollen, during that finals week. The football team was announced for that all important match, and Josh had been dropped. He had entered the range of ex-players already. He was too old, too slow, too injury prone, a liability to the 'boys'. He had shared the football highs and lows, celebrating a long career of chasing a leather sphere.
Josh had been invited to the commentary box by the media, but by now he was hooked. His back bedroom was hiding hole from the media, and his team hierarchy ,all those club officials and their expectations. As well as the drugs, Josh had many a beer, many a beer.
The Final day came and went, Josh was labelled as no-show. He did not even watch the match, after devoting so many of his days to football. From his bed with Samantha ,he could hear the roar of the liniment, and imagine the smell of the crowd, all that hot food, and massive fan bases, cheering the boys.
Josh's team lost the big final, he felt unwelcome at the club, so he did not show up for all the pity parties.He was no longer old reliable Josh. Now it was after football. Josh had Samantha, or did he? Any excuse, he was an addict, seeking his new mates' approval. Too late, he realized that his housemate and Samantha were the wrong people to have as friends.
Josh and his housemate went on his first little trip interstate, following Samantha's instructions. There they collected a stash of 5 kg bags of cocaine, popping them under the back seat of Josh's flash car. He drove back to his hometown, trying to look insignificant, dodging the detectives.
Regularly, Josh and his new mates brought home and delivered, commercial quantities of drugs for Samantha's cronies. Great new team Josh had found for his after football. He sought their approval, and drug supplies, becoming a drug mule and trafficker.
"Don't ever stress," Josh always told himself. He knew the drugs were illegal, but the money was good. It was all too easy. He never learnt to watch his back, following the maze of interstate highways. He tried not to approach his former football club any more, he was through. Mutual disappointment.
One particular night, clear and moonlit, with mild weather, Josh was heading down the highway, good night for it. He was more than a bit off his head, been doing some gear at the interstate safe house. Cruising along the big freeway from interstate, he again crossed the state borders, too easy.
For once, he did not obey or notice the 60 km road sign, and went sailing through it, speeding all the way. Josh drove a very expensive get-away machine. That night, the highway patrol did notice the hometown no-show, not obeying the speed restrictions. Josh looked in the rear vision mirror, there were the blue flashing lights. Throbbing with his music and the roar of his engine, he could hear the dreaded siren.
Josh was not thinking straight, logic vanished in a puff of pure panic. He planted the foot, with confidence in his wheels. Zooooom. The road was not too busy, tough about any other motorist on the freeway that night. The police officer was a great driver too, he was sticking close to Josh, right on his hammer. Soon, another police vehicle joined in the chase. Josh was not even scared. He laughed in the face of this danger.
In a screech of rubber, Josh wheeled down a bypass. This road was practically empty, except for some truckers. Josh sped along, his freedom was on the line, as he overtook a slow moving big rig. The police were still there, Josh was pumped. He did not have a clue where this road was heading, but his wheels were burning.
Josh was a bit worried about his tyres, should have had them checked. The bypass veered to the left, he took another turn. The police never relented, they were on to him. In an instant, time stood still. In the middle of this darkened, narrow road, there stood, of all things, a cow!
Josh yelled, swerved, his car smashed into the side of a bridge. It was dramatic, all right. The cops were there, Josh walked away from the car wreck. Back at home, Samantha was waiting, or was she? Josh rightly guessed the hometown hero was not showing up tonight, or any night in the future.
"Yeah, you got me now!" Josh told the coppers. They had him all right. Too easy, being a party animal. Grace woke him up in the police lock-up, but the duty officer recognized Josh, had been a fan, and proved to be quite human.
Josh dozed on and off. As well as being in deep manure with the police, he did not know how to handle his cravings. He lobbed into the remand center, waiting for his court case, beyond caring.
Josh realize he could rely on his housemates and Samantha to let him down. His lips were zipped. Josh was thinking he was a hopeless case, he was there. He was duly very sorry, for taking drugs and feeding his addictions by trafficking drugs. He was remanded in custody, shivering with withdrawal from his nose beers and bevvies.
Josh was in his own battle now. One morning, his father turned up with the team club doctor and legal eagle. Josh finally listened to common sense, as the full power of the football club funded his journey to recover in drug rehab.
Josh faced his own demons full on now. Grace woke him up in drug facility, in the serenity of a mountain setting, gazing at the dawn. He had sign on his personal vision board, "I am a good man." Josh had done all the dumb things, but God does not make junk, or hopeless cases.
It was a long road back home, to the city and recovery. Josh's counselor. Gary, coached him all the way, seeking to overcome his dependency. Through the grace of God, he was what he was, on a road to the future. Josh hoped to escape that bad environment, but nothing would be too easy.
After some weeks, Josh became interested in becoming a drug counselor himself. He applied himself to studying a course by correspondence. Grace caused him to renew his faith in his Lord, to take care of one day at a time. His lips were still zipped about his party animal associates. Josh did receive a post card from Samantha, she was living in Bali now, with another man.
Josh threw away her card. From here, there was no turning back again. Strangely, his old football club stood behind him. It was a club of young males after all, no perfect good boys there. The wheels had turned. One day, Josh was released, to lease his own unit, with a new career as a drug counselor for young people. They were all seeking not to relapse, an ongoing fight with their cravings. Grace woke him up, "Don't ever stress," Josh told himself. He kept that sign, "I am a good man." The hard yards had begun, but doors were open. He had to enjoy each moment of each day, living a new life of freedom, on the right side of things, finally. Josh had welcomed the dawn, off his new path. Grace had brought him back to God.