By Mark Ellis, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
CARBONDALE, CO (ANS – March 18, 2017) — He walked away from the faith of his childhood and became a drug addict and alcoholic amidst the rollicking party scene at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.
But years later, God’s love drew him out of the darkness and he became a drug interventionist and counselor for Pete Carroll’s Trojan and Seahawks football teams.
“I grew up with a very good, solid relationship with Christ,” says Dirk Eldredge, now the CEO of Jaywalker Lodge, a treatment center in Carbondale, Colorado. “But when I went to college I walked away from God and walked into my disease of addiction.”
Eldredge grew up on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, an affluent suburb of Los Angeles, with a mom and sister of strong faith. His father, a successful IBM executive, resisted faith to the end of his life, which was a heartache for the family.
“I lost my way in college,” Eldredge says. He admits it could have happened at any college. “As soon as I did my first bong hit of pot it became a self-medication for a kid with ADD and dyslexia, not comfortable in my own skin. It slowed my head down and numbed me so I was temporarily comfortable. At the time I had no idea of the darkness I was walking into.”
He was kicked out of the Sigma Nu fraternity house at USC, but was able to graduate and land a position with IBM, following in his father’s footsteps.
“I was trying to please my father,” he says. “That was part of my dysfunction and no fault of his. I was somewhere between delusional and dysfunctional in what I thought I was supposed to do in life.
Material success became a strong draw. “It was really about money and thinking if I had enough money I would be happy. That was the bubble I grew up in.”
He carried his addictions into his work life and became a successful salesman at IBM, somehow managing to hide his habits. “I was a highly functioning addict. I never missed a day of work.”
Photo captions: 1) Dirk Eldredge. 2) Dirk with his sister and mom. 3) Dan Wooding makes a point on “Windows on the World” when Mark Ellis was its co-host.
About the writer: Mark Ellis is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), and is also the founder of www.GodReports.com, a website that shares testimonies and videos from the church around the world to build interest and involvement in world missions. Previously, Mark co-hosted a TV show called “Windows on the World” with ANS Founder, Dan Wooding, aired on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (http://hsbn.tv/), which is now co-hosted by Dr. Garry Ansdell, Senior Pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California.
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