Rutherford County, TN - Parent Joe Kincaid vividly remembers crying and praying for his son, Sam, who used drugs and dealt illegal drugs to support his habit in December 2018.
“’Lord, please bring him back to you,’” Kincaid said. “I was willing to accept whatever that meant. Essentially I just released him. It could be death or a 180-degree turn, which, thankfully, that’s what transpired.”
Within hours, Sheriff’s Detective Christian Wrather arrested Sam. “What I was praying to do turned out to be a beautiful dynamic,” Kincaid said. “Christian has been a part of it.”
Sam, now 23, started his road to sobriety the day he was arrested. He was released from jail and started rehabilitation immediately. He’s been sober since then. He credits Wrather for being part of his success. “He saved my life by stopping the destructive task I was on, simply by the arrest,” Sam said. “Judging how this turned out, I think it was divine intervention.”
Wrather said Sam was 19 when arrested, younger than most offenders the detective had arrested. “He being so young and going down that dangerous road stuck out to me,” Wrather said.
Sam said he entered Cumberland Heights Still Waters Recovery, a 12-step immersion program he described as boot camp program. “I have a very large place in my heart for Still Waters,” Sam said. “They got me sober.”
He later entered Simply Living where he spent 20 months with 12 other men fighting the disease of alcoholism. He worked on his character defects and improve his life.
Sam and two other men completed the Simply Living program and rented a house together. He’s been working as a union bricklayer for four years. He has a girlfriend, a dog and a home.
When Sam completed rehabilitation, he was committed to making a change in his life. Because of Sam’s rehabilitation and drive to change, he entered a plea, was assessed fines and court costs and placed on probation. He’s paid almost $5,000 in court costs.
Two sponsors took him through the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. He meets with his sponsor and the young men he sponsors every week. The cornerstone of AA is service to others. “If I’m not being helpful to others, the chance of sobriety is slim,” Sam said.
While Sam was in rehabilitation, his father texted Wrather about Sam’s progress. In each text, Kincaid repeatedly recognized Wrather’s role in Sam becoming drug-free. “You played a huge role in saving my son’s life,” Kincaid wrote. “For that I am eternally grateful.”
His Christmas present to his father each year is a chip showing another year of sobriety.
Sam credited his mother, Andrea Gian, for her support. “She encouraged me to better,” Sam said. “She’s a real inspiration to me.”
Wrather said Sam followed his recommendations and those of his attorney, Darren Drake, to change his life. “I just felt like he was worth trying to give a chance to fulfill his rehabilitation,” Wrather said. “He has proven beyond expectations that he embraced that opportunity and has affected others in going down that same path.”
Wrather and Sam last saw each other earlier this month when Wrather was in court for another case. Wrather testified for Sam, who was trying to get his fees reduced. “I said Sam had been a model example of what an individual can accomplish if they are serious about their addiction and rehabilitation,” Wrather said. “Although he’s still young, the massive court costs and fines are a hindrance.” The judge reduced the costs and Sam thanked Wrather for his intervention. “Sam was able to tell me in person, directly, that I saved his life,” Wrather said. “I told Sam he was committed to turn his life around. He was able to do that because of his family love and support they gave him.”
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