OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. — Ronald Hiers has gone from passed out on the sidewalk while overdosing on heroin to speaking from the pulpit of CrossPointe Church in Olive Branch.
“It got to the point to where I was tired of living. I didn’t want to live anymore but I didn’t want to quit doing dope,” he said during the speech.
Hiers said he was a heroin addict for 45 years, fueled by depression and feelings of helplessness.
“I was born with a disease, the disease of addiction,” he said.
He hit rock bottom on October 2, in the episode caught on camera that aired around the country.
His own daughter in Alabama saw it and decided enough was enough. She sent someone to put him in treatment.
“My daughter’s birthday is October 5. She saw it in Florence, Alabama. It’s what I gave her for her birthday. She told me I’ve given her one of the best gifts a father can give a child,” he said of his subsequent sobriety.
Hiers spent 39 days in an inpatient facility and still attends meetings every day.
“You have to get involved in a 12-step group. You have to go to these meetings,” he said.
But he’s also using his experience to help others. Organizer Carol Le May, with Wings of Hope, said his story touched her because one of her loved ones overdosed on the same day last October.
“Maybe three months later, I walk into a room and there’s Ronald. I just bust out crying and said, ‘You made it. You made it.’ Because I didn’t know where he went,” she said.
She said that’s why his message should reach everyone.
“No matter how far down you have gone, because I assure you I have gone probably as far as you can go besides being covered up, that there is hope. You can turn your life around,” Hiers said.
He said all you have to do is ask for help.
If you or a loved one needs help, call Turning Point’s hotline at 1-888-614-2251 or go to turningpointtreatment.org.