How Surrender Helped an MMA Fighter Conquer Addiction

Former MMA fighter Jacob Leckich explains how his fighting career led to him becoming addicted to pain medications and how he came to realize that only a true surrender to faith would allow him to conquer his addiction.


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My name is Jacob Leckich and I’m from Biloxi, Mississippi. I grew up kind of fighting a lot and had an older brother and we fought a lot, so fighting was something that I very much did often. I kind of learned how to actually enjoy fighting. I was 15 years old when I actually got into MMA, which is mixed martial arts. And I started training Brazilian jiu jitsu and Muay Thai, which is theMuay Thai is Thai-style kickboxing and Brazilian jujitsu is the submission grappling art of it. It composes some wrestling and some of the submissions.

I started fighting around the age of 18. I did it for a couple years, but with fighting came multiple injuries and with those injuries came multiple surgeries, which later on led to taking of a lot of pain medication. It wasn’t until probably around that third surgery that I realized that the pain medication was no longer just a cover-up for the pain. It had become something I was physically addicted to, that I physically had to have pain medication to get out of bed, to do the normal things of life, I had to have pain medicine.

Probably about four or five years of that before I actually got help with it. I had gottenI just had surgery on my left shoulder and my mom and my girlfriend at the time had picked me up from surgery. And we went to the pharmacy to get my pain medicine prescription picked up from them. And I hadwithout telling themalready gone and picked up the pain medicine from the pharmacy, and I had already taken the whole bottle of it. That was kind of the first time that the whole pain medicine problem kind of came to light.

I was in a relationship for about 10 years. And it got to the point where, you know, she no longer wanted to be with me. And I totally understood that. I had become totally enslaved to the pain medication, and it wasn’t for another two years after that that anything actually happened. I had come to the point where I had lost the job that I had. I was the manager at the gym that I fought out of. I had lost that job. I had lost the house that I was living in. And it was literally just me and my dog left, and we were living in a car. And it got to the point where my parents finally said, “You could bring your dog Leonidas over here and we’ll take care of him, but you can’t come here.”

You know, I was at a really, really low point in my life then. I got down to about 119 pounds. I was really, really skinny. I was in really bad physical health. And what I did was, I brought my dog to my parents, dropped him off, and then I went and I parked my car down the street at the Walmart. And I walked back and I jumped over their fence and I went to sleep in the shed in the backyard of their house. I was at a point where I was just done. I was completely destroyed, completely defeated, and I was really tired. A couple days later, my parents found me out there in the backyard sleeping, and they finally realized that, you know, this was really, really bad and they told me I could come inside and that we’d figure out something, you know, to get me some help.

So it was very difficult initially. I had trained my whole life basicallybeing an MMA fighter and Brazilian jiu jitsu grapplerI always trained how to impose my will on other people, how to never give up, how to never submit. And that was something that developed in me through all the sports that I’ve played all of my life growing up and everything like that, and I finally got to the point that I knew I was defeated. I knew I had tried everything that I could to try to get off the pain medication on my own. I did everything. I’ve tried all the secular-style programs and everything and it just wasn’t working.

So I finally got to where I got to go to a place called the Home of Grace, which is a faith-based recovery program. And about 10 days or two weeks into that program, I was in a chapel service one afternoon and a pastor was there just preaching the message and he was preaching about Jesus, how Jesus died on the cross for all of us. And that if we placed our faith in Him that we would be saved and we would have eternal life. And at that moment, I knew that God was calling out to me in that moment. And I knew that what I needed to do is, I needed to get on my knees that night and I needed to surrender my life to God.

And my whole life, like I said, I was fighting to impose my will. I was fighting to never give up and never surrender. But I was so defeated mentally, emotionally, and physically and I know that God was calling out to me. Then finally that night I decided to give my life to Jesus and I went and I got on my knees on the altar and I just told God, “God, if you can use me, use me. If you can make something out of this life that I’ve already destroyed and I’ve already ruined, please do it, God.” And I bent my knee to Jesus that night.

And it was almost instantaneous. The moment that I prayed that prayer on the altar that night, God came down and he saved my soul. But he made himself very well known to me that night. I was still very physically sick and the withdrawal symptoms were coming off the drugs. But God came and comforted me in that moment. And He let me know that he was very much real, that He was very much there and that I was very much His now.

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