James Cooper has been in recovery from meth addiction for five years and has already finished writing his second book.
The book, titled Recovery Rocks with Jesus, chronicles not only how Cooper found faith to help him overcome his addition, but also how some key people came into his life to provide him with the opportunities he needed.
Cooper’s first book, Life After Meth with Jesus, was about overcoming addiction, but Recovery Rocks with Jesus provides “the rest of the story.”
“The second book is not just my story, but it’s God’s story in a lot of different people’s lives,” he said. “I have several different people that wrote in it and gave testimonies, and it’s all about helping people.”
One of those people is Missy Mehaffey, who has known Cooper since he began his new journey five years ago by coming to Waynesville’s Pathways Center.
“My first question was ‘what can you do today that your future self will thank you for?’” she said. “That was when Cooper made the decision to change his life. It began with a question.”
Another major source of help and guidance for Cooper was the Waynesville Goodwill, which connected Cooper with a job at Giles, a job he’s held down for almost five years. Whit Whitmire, coordinator of Goodwill’s Waynesville career center, said the employment the organization can offer folks is a great means to continue their recovery, but that isn’t all.
“We not only discuss the work history and educational credentials with our clients, but we get to know them a bit,” Whitmire said. “Once we establish some level of trust, we can help them, and as their advocate, we can go to an employer that might be a good fit and plead the case that the lady or gentleman would be a great asset to the organization.”
“It’s given me stability, and it’s increased my faith immensely,” Cooper said of his work with Giles.
Whitmire also wanted to praise others within Goodwill who’d worked with Cooper to help him find his way.
“I have to give credit to my predecessor, Tess Sowder, and Maggie Leftwich,” Whitemire said. “They’re in the book as well. We try to continue that by mentoring and being a major encourager for Cooper to continue progress of recovery and work.”
Mehaffey said something similar.
“That to me is the key … it took a lot of different pieces in this puzzle,” she said. “It wasn’t just cooper or Pathways or Goodwill doing something. It was a unified effort.”
Mehaffey said she’s excited to see what lays ahead for her friend, James Cooper.
“His best is yet to come,” she said. “He made the decision to take the training, but it’s key that he hasn’t even reached the best part.”
Those steps include many things, including being more involved in his home church and even teaching karate lessons.
Copies of the book have now been made available to inmates at the Haywood County Detention Center and can be purchased on Amazon. In his interview, Cooper had one Bible verse, 2 Corinthians 5:17 that he wanted to include in the story.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
“The Lord is good,” Cooper added.