From Rock Bottom to Rock Solid

Written by Bethany Jarmul

John Stuckert was a successful businessman and family man who hit rock bottom when his life was wrecked by alcoholism. But, when John finally surrendered his life completely to God, God redeemed John’s life and set him free from addiction. Today, John is using his business skills as the men’s home director for the Hope Home in Pittsburgh.

GROWING UP

John grew up in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, as the fifth of six children in a Catholic household. “I had your typical childhood, with a good family,” he says. Although he “played around” with alcohol during high school, John was a good student and after high school, attended St. Vincent College, training to be a priest.

After two years at St. Vincent’s, John dropped out to work for the family business, a towing company in the city that also owned several Exxon gas stations. At 20 years old, John began “hitting the party scene.”

SETTLING DOWN

In September of 1991, John got married. The coupled lived in the South Side of Pittsburgh for a while before moving to the North Hills and starting a family. They were attending an Episcopal church, but John’s wife was looking for something more. It was then that John remembered that one of his former classmates, Jeff Leake, was the pastor of a church in Hampton – Allison Park Church.

In early 1999, John and his family visited Allison Park Church. “It was different. My wife liked it, but I wasn’t sure it was for me,” he says. The family didn’t return to the church for several months, but eventually began regularly attending and volunteering at the church.

DOWNWARD SPIRAL

John’s father passed away in 2000, and John began drinking heavily. Not only was John grieved by the loss of his father, but he was also now in charge of the large family business.

“Eventually, trying to do everything myself got to me. I was drinking more and more. I tried to hide my addiction, but that only fueled it.”

John went to Celebrate Recovery and attended AA meetings while getting counseled by one of the pastors at Allison Park Church, Bruce Edwards. One Friday night in 2011, John called Bruce and said, “I can’t stop drinking. I need the church to pray for me.”

So the following weekend, the entire church prayed for John. “Now everyone knew that I was an alcoholic. So, I hid it even more. I was supposed to be going to meetings. Instead, I was secretly drinking even more and not doing what I was supposed to.”

John and his wife were serving on the hospitality team at church. It was the week after a Black and Gold, Steelers-themed weekend in October, 2013. The pressures of running his business overwhelmed John.

“I couldn’t do anything anymore. I put a gun to my head to kill myself.”– John

Just as John was ready to pull the trigger, Dave Leake, one of the pastors at APC, called him. Dave said, “What are you doing? You were supposed to get the field goals out of the sanctuary.”

GETTING HELP

At this point, John realized he had a serious problem, and went to a 28-day rehab at Greenbrier Treatment Center. Meanwhile, his life turned upside down. He lost his business, and his wife filed for divorce.

Pastor Jeff Leake and Pastor Brian Bolt, CityReach Network president, helped John get in the Hope Home in Pittsburgh. “I still didn’t understand why I was there. I thought I could fix these problems I’d created.”

After three months in the Hope Home, John realized that even though he had raised his hand for salvation many times, even though he was serving in church and doing everything he was supposed to do, he hadn’t done that most important thing.

“Until that moment, I never truly gave my life to Jesus Christ ”– John

GOD REDEEMS

In February of 2014, things started changing for John. He finally understood what God’s purpose was for his life. Things got better with his family. “Now, I get to see my kids almost every day.” Although he lost his business, a lot of his debt was forgiven. “Millions of dollars of debt were forgiven. That doesn’t just happen. That’s God,” John says.

Today, John is the director of the men’s Hope Home in Pittsburgh. He’s using his business knowledge to help run and sustain the home. “With my business knowledge I help make the work services successful, help to fundraise, and find ways to make the homes self-sufficient.”

When looking back at his story. John puts it this way: “I had everything. I was living the life everyone dreams of. But, I was walking with out Jesus Christ. I was going to church. I was tithing. But, until you start living for Him, you’re not really living.”

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2018-01-17T00:22:02+00:00 November 4th, 2015|Hope Homes, Stories|