#33 Saved From Painkillers - Julian Weber | Compelled Podcast

#33 Saved From Painkillers – Julian Weber

Julian Weber was a regular father from suburban America who had everything The American dream could offer – a loving wife, 4 children, a beautiful home, a great job, and even leadership in his church.

But when his identity was stripped away, his idyllic life soon followed. He became addicted to painkillers, alcohol, and pornography – and everything he held precious was destroyed. Only a Savior could bring him peace.


Enter the drawing at the bottom of this article to win a workbook from Julian Weber. A fantastic resource for those struggling with addictions (including drugs, alcohol, or pornography).

The following is a summary of the podcast interview above. Many more details are included in the original podcast episode and we encourage you to listen.

A Wild Teenager

At 9 years old, Julian Weber immigrated from Germany with his family. Growing up, he was often bullied because of his poor English, but he eventually settled into American culture and embraced everything it had to offer – good and bad.

Pornographic magazines and movies, music with vile lyrics, and unhealthy friendships were all a part of Julian’s life as a teenager. He was even part of a garage band which wrote their own songs, filled with profanity and wickedness.

Growing up, Julian reluctantly attended church and was involved in the youth group but didn’t actually know God.

However, that all changed through a set of completely unexpected circumstances.

A Bowling Party

When Julian and his friend were invited to an event at Missouri State University, they eagerly attended. Who could turn down an opportunity to hang out with college girls?

The event turned out to be a bowling party for a Bible study group, and, although it wasn’t quite what Julian and his friend had expected, they had a great time. After the party was over, the guys in the group all walked the girls back to their dorms, and, just before saying goodnight, they all huddled together to pray.

Julian had heard many prayers growing up, but this particular prayer caught his attention. It was like the man who was praying was actually talking to God, as though he really knew God!

Julian wasn’t the only one who had been impacted by the prayer. It was all that he and his friend could talk about on the 3-hour drive home! 

They didn’t know it at the time, but God was softening their hearts toward Him and was about to transform their lives through His grace.

A New Julian Weber

The very next evening, Julian and his friend found themselves at a Christian concert. When an altar call was offered, Julian responded immediately and, that night, became a believer.

Everything in his life began to change. Instead of the horrible music he used to write, Julian started writing songs about the things he was learning. One of his first songs was about the Roman Road. He started devouring the Bible and stopped using profane language.

He became so excited about his newfound faith that he even enrolled in Bible school for a year before attending college. 

A Christianized “American Dream”

Eventually Julian met his wife Kelly and they settled down in the Wichita, Kansas area where they had 4 children. Julian had a great job, they plugged in with their church, and were living a Christianized version of the “American Dream.”

Amid his comfortable life, Julian was blissfully unaware that the good things in his life – his role as a husband and father, his involvement in his church, his status at work – were becoming his primary identities and false idols.

Slowly his grip on them was tightening, making it even more painful when God began to take them away.

Precarious Footing

Things began to go downhill when Julian’s family was forced to move for his job from Wichita – and their idyllic lifestyle – to Kansas City. Julian and his wife began to cope with the difficult move by trying to recreate the life they previously had.

It was like they were trying to numb a wound, instead of treating it. But the difficulties they faced with the move were only the tip of the iceberg of what was to come. 

The First Pills

Julian began experiencing back pain. When the doctor concluded that the pain was stress-induced, she prescribed narcotics to help manage the pain until it went away. Julian began taking them, fully expecting the meds to be short-term.

But then he started looking forward to the next dose. Soon he found another doctor to prescribe them to him so that he could double up on doses.

All the while, Julian justified what he was doing, convincing himself that it was okay because he was going through such a difficult time with their recent move.

But what happened next was about to trigger a massive implosion in Julian’s world.

A Health Crisis

In the midst of Julian’s worsening addiction, his wife’s health began to decline suddenly. She was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura – ITP) and the treatment eventually led to another condition called avascular necrosis (AVN), essentially causing the death of bone tissue. 

In the meantime, things were becoming more and more out of control for Julian. He and his wife were now both being prescribed pain medication and he began altering her prescriptions and consuming hers as well.

Julian and Kelly frequented doctor’s offices and emergency rooms for weeks looking for answers about her health, until Kelly eventually developed a blood clot which went to her lungs, and, at 31 years old, passed away.

A Deeper Hole

Julian was devastated by his wife’s premature death. But instead of turning to God for help, he retreated from friends and family and worked harder to hide his addiction.

And his addiction was quickly becoming worse. At this point, Julian was having trouble finding any more doctors who would prescribe him more pain meds, so he started forging prescriptions instead.

Julian was routinely met by the police when he arrived at pharmacies to pick up prescriptions. Despite all these warning signs, Julian was in complete denial about his addiction and instead saw himself as a victim of his circumstances. 

Not only was Julian in denial about his addiction, but he was also in denial about the status of his faith. During this time, he read his Bible and prayed often, but not because he wanted to know God better, but because he thought God might heal him from his back pain.

Dire Consequences

Julian quickly developed an intense fear and paranoia of being caught. It had only been a few months since his wife had died, but everything had spiraled out of control. He could no longer keep a job, and soon, he wouldn’t be able to keep a family either.

One August, right before Julian’s children were about to start school, he decided to take them shoe shopping. By this time, Julian was on some form of painkiller 24/7. Usually multiple of them at a time. 

Nevertheless, Julian loaded up his four young children into his yellow hummer and drove to the store. 

Once they arrived, Julian dozed off, and a concerned employee called the police. When Julian woke up, the police were at the store waiting for him. Then came a pivotal question. “Do you have any family in town who could take your children for you?”

His Children Were Removed

“No,” the fateful lie slipped out of Julian’s mouth. He was sure the police would simply send him home to get some rest and that he and his kids would soon be on their way. But that wasn’t what happened.

Instead, Julian felt handcuffs close around his wrists and watched as his 2 daughters were put into one squad car and his 2 sons into another. He was ushered into a third squad car, and the door slammed behind him. 

With the family split apart, Julian had his first experience with jail and his children had their first encounter with foster care.

A Missed Wakeup Call

Going to jail and having his children taken away from him should have been a wake-up call for Julian, but it wasn’t. 

He agreed to go to a rehab program in order to appease family members who were trying to perform an intervention. But Julian still refused to believe that he was an addict or that he had a drug problem. Because of that, his rehab experience was actually counterproductive.

Instead of learning how to overcome his addictions, he learned more about how addiction worked and about other substances that he could abuse and become cross-addicted to. 

A Hopeless Wreck

Julian came out of rehab in worse shape than when he had gone in. He would take any sort of pill he could get his hands on, and his deception was ramping up to unprecedented levels. He was now keeping a spreadsheet that included information about all of his prescriptions: when each came due to be refilled, which pharmacy he could refill it at, and which doctors he could get to write him another prescription.

Julian also started buying drugs illegally online. And he developed a new addiction: pornography.

In the months that followed, Julian was constantly in trouble with the law and was in and out of rehab programs. Worst of all, his children were eventually legally removed from his care.

Julian’s life was a hopeless wreck. However, it was a wreck that God in His sovereignty thought was worth saving – even at a time when Julian himself didn’t think so.

Suicidal

In complete despair, Julian decided to take matters into his own hands. He thought it would be better to die than to live and that his children would be better off without him. 

That’s how he found himself sitting in a bathtub with a butcher knife at his wrist. 

But just months prior, Julian had had the names of all four of his children tattooed onto his wrists. And in that moment, with his life hanging in the balance, Julian realized that he couldn’t bring himself to slice through the names.

Time to Stop Running

Finally, Julian decided to leave the state, thinking that he would go live with his parents where he would get cleaned up.

But, when he called his mom to let her know that he was coming, she told him that his attorney had just called and that there was a warrant out for his arrest. She advised Julian to go back and turn himself in. 

Finally, Julian Weber stopped running. He went back home, drove to the police station, and turned himself in. A few weeks later, he was booked into prison.

God Was Working

God already had plans for Julian, even in the prison. It turned out that one of the prison guards was a Christian and gave Julian a Bible.

Julian opened to the book of Job, and God began working in Julian’s heart. Julian had always self-identified with Job. After all, he had suffered greatly and lost his children too. Job gave Julian a reason to feel even more self-pity.

But, this time, God opened Julian’s eyes to something new – something he hadn’t noticed before. Job’s response to all the horrible trials:

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21)

Julian’s response to his own trials? “Poor me, poor me… pour me another drink.”

Similar circumstances, and yet radically different responses.

Peace At Last

Julian repented of his sin in the prison. He repented of the false idols and identities he had created for himself.  He recognized that he, and he alone, was responsible for the choices that he had made and the pain he had inflicted on others.

As a result of being on sleep medication for such a long time, Julian went through major insomnia, staying awake for days on end.

But, even in this, God’s purposes were good. Julian spent all day soaking in God’s Word, and, at night, he would study with the prison guard who had brought him the Bible.

With his identity firmly rooted in Christ, Julian finally had peace. 

Julian Weber – Remade

God’s blessings to Julian continue to flow abundantly. After being released from prison, Julian was eventually reunited with his children, and through a series of incredible circumstances, he married his second wife, Natalie.

Julian Weber has been free from his addictions for 9 years. Today, he shares his experiences with other men fighting the same battles that he once did with drugs, alcohol, and pornography.


Drawing

Win a “Rebellion to Responsibility” workbook from Julian Weber. A fantastic resource for those struggling with addictions (including drugs, alcohol, or pornography).

We’ll select 3 winners next Monday.

Winner must live in the United States.


Show Notes

Photos from Julian (with his commentary)

2010/2011 during the height of the addiction
2010/2011 during the height of the addiction
2010/2011 during the height of the addiction

You can tell that I was out of it in all of them, with some irony in the funny glasses where I looked the same underneath.

A few months into recovery (2013)
A few months into recovery (2013)
Family photo today
Julian Weber today, with his kid's names tattooed on his wrists
Julian Weber today, with his kid’s names tattooed on his wrists
Julian Weber - Addict Set Free
Julian Weber – Addict Set Free

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