Man Inspires Struggling Drug Users From ‘Beyond The Grave’

By Victoria Kim 11/21/17

A Florida man live-streamed an inspiring message to anyone battling drug addiction...from inside his 3-by-3 coffin. 

John Edwards
John Edwards Photo via YouTube

A Tampa man spent three days buried alive, to drive home the message to struggling drug users that there is still hope no matter how bad things have gotten.

John Edwards, originally from Ireland, held his morbid demonstration in a grave plot outside The River at Tampa Bay Church, according to Fox 13. He was buried Sunday, and came back above ground Tuesday afternoon (Nov 21).

From inside his 3-by-3 coffin—outfitted with a small shelf, a lamp, and tubes that sent down food—Edwards fielded calls and messages from fellow drug users, answering questions and praying via live stream.

“Addiction will rob everything from you, and then it will take your life,” he said to a caller named Michelle on Tuesday afternoon. He shared that Christianity changed his life when it was introduced to him by the right people. 

By that point, he’d taken drugs for 24 years. He was homeless and said he overdosed “about 20 times.” On top of that, Edwards has suffered many health issues including cancer (twice), a liver transplant, and hep C (but he is now recovered).

Now he’s built 27 years of recovery, and uses his experience to inspire others and tell them that they, too, have a future.

“I’m raising my voice up to bring hope to the people,” Edwards told Fox 13

During his live stream, Edwards rejected interview requests from journalists so he could speak with his viewers. 

His outreach efforts are intertwined with his faith in God. “If you have problems with drugs or alcohol or depression, we’re here as a beacon of hope to come and to give people a better future,” said associate pastor Jayson Williams.

Edwards shares his recovery efforts with others through his website, Walking Free. He is candid about the fact that his only qualification for this type of service is the only one he needs: he’s been through it. He has been in and out of rehabs—some of them “abusive,” he tells a caller—and psychiatric hospitals when he wasn’t living on the street.

Go to his website or YouTube channel (also called Walking Free) and you’ll find videos that walk you through Edwards’ own step-by-step guide to recovery. 

“Just because you’re struggling and you have a lot of pain in your life… If you just want to get rid of the pain, that is not enough reason for you to get your life together,” says Edwards in his introduction video “Are You Ready?” 

“Just wanting to get out away from the abuse, the hurt, and the rejection that you have felt in your past will not propel you into a life of freedom.”

“You’ve got to be prepared to do certain things,” like change your friends, your home, or your job, says Edwards. “That’s how you find out you’re ready.”

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr