Kentucky woman gains sobriety thanks to persistence of local church
Jessica Honaker found herself alone in the middle of a meth-fueled high in the summer of 2016, relapsing after a battle to become sober. She called a local pastor, who let her shelter in a church hallway while she sobered up. The safety Honaker felt and the reckoning she experienced while sleeping in the church’s hallway helped spur her on the road to recovery, reconciling with her family and God.
Honaker had battled an addiction to pills on and off as an adult due to the abuse from her then-husband. She kicked out her husband, but a few months later, he called her from his new life in Corbin, Kentucky, telling her he was a changed man.
She decided to move to Corbin from her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, in an attempt to reunite with him, but he hadn’t changed. The cycle of abuse and addiction she thought she was escaping by moving to Corbin had become even stronger. She began to use meth and found herself in jail more often.
After being released from jail in the spring of 2016, she moved in with her friend’s parents. Their neighbors were Chris and Kristen Gilmore, then pastors of Corbin Church of the Nazarene.
“When I met Chris and Kristen, they automatically invited me to church, and I went,” Honaker said. “They were amazing. I never once felt judged or different, or out of place. They were so welcoming and just so loving.”
After attending the church for a few weeks, Honaker returned to her old habits again. But the people of Corbin Naz never gave up on her.
“The whole time, I had people from the church messaging me, asking, ‘Where are you? We miss you. We wish you would come back,’” Honaker said. “And I did.”
Honaker called Kristen for help at a low point. Kristen took Honaker to the church and let her sleep on the pew in the hallway during Wednesday night Bible study.
“I walked into that church strung out, coming off drugs, and I laid on the pew in the hallway, and I didn’t feel judged,” Honaker said. “I felt safe coming in there. I felt like these people loved me. I may not have always shown that love to them, but they loved me, cared about me, and wanted to help me.”
The road to recovery was still bumpy, and Honaker was arrested for drug trafficking in 2016. While sitting in her jail cell, she had a moment of reckoning with God. She cried out, asking what her life had become.
“God appeared to me, and He told me, ‘If you don’t stop, you’re going to lose your life,’” Honaker recalled. “It was at that moment that I got saved. I felt an instant rush of peace come over my body.”
While the rest of her road wasn’t without relapses or problems, Honaker eventually got her life together. She has been sober since 14 January 2018 and serves faithfully every week at Corbin Church of the Nazarene and its recovery ministry, Hope Place. She is passionate about recovery and shares her story with others, hoping to help them change their lives.
She is incredibly passionate about the Hope House, which will open soon as a clean-living halfway house.
“When you leave rehab, if you don’t have a good place to go, you’re gonna end up back where you were,” Honaker said. “I just want people to know that there are people out there who don’t look down on them and want to help them.”
For Honaker, that help came through the Gilmores and Corbin Church of the Nazarene.
“If it wasn’t for God, Chris and Kristen, and the Corbin Church of the Nazarene, I don’t think I ever would’ve gotten clean for good,” Honaker said.