Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank   My name is Joseph Habedank and I’m from Xenia, Ohio. I served as baritone and then lead singer for the Perrys from 2003-2013. During this time, I established himself as a songwriter, often co-writing songs with Matthew Holt and Rodney Griffin. I also formed a publishing company with Holt called Habeholt Music.

   In 2013, I stepped down from the Perrys to enter a rehab facility to fight an addiction to prescription painkillers.

   After my recovery, I launched a successful solo career, releasing Welcome Home on the Daywind Records label in 2014. In November 2019, his song "Shame On Me" reached the number one spot on the Singing News Top 80 radio airplay chart.

   As our team does concerts it really easy for you to look up at some young guy in a suit and think, I don't know anything more about him when I left and when I got here and if you give me five minutes of your time before I sing my last song, I want to tell you what God has done in my life. I really believe that my story can either help you or somebody that you know. I was raised in a great Christian home but I was raised around an awful thing called addiction. I had a brother who was introduced to drugs at an early age and he quickly went from being a drug abuser to a drug addict and a lot of people don't know the difference. A drug abuser is somebody who goes out and parties on the weekend and they'll use drugs on Friday and Saturday and then go to work on Monday and they're fine. A drug addict is somebody who uses drugs when they go out to party on Friday, Saturday, and they continue to use those drugs Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, because their body is so dependent on the chemical that that drug produces in their brain and I watched my brother go from being an experimental drug user to somebody who was absolutely addicted and dependent on any sort of drug. I'll be honest with you growing up, I didn't understand addiction. I really hated addiction. I didn't understand how anybody in this world could choose a substance over Jesus. I don't know how anybody in this world could choose a substance over a healthy relationship with their family and yet my brother continuously and consistently did that. As my brother's life started to spiral out of control, I noticed that on the flip side of that all my dreams started coming true. I joined this group when I was seventeen years old called [inaudible], oh, man, I tell you what, and all I ever wanted to do was sing gospel music. I love singing about Jesus. In fact, I counted the highest privilege of my life that I get to stand up in Anacoco, Louisiana, and sing about the greatest man who ever walked the face of this Earth, that is Jesus Christ.

   There is nowhere else, that's the reason I got in my Jeep last night in St. Louis, Missouri, and drove eleven hours to get here because I love the privilege of singing about Jesus Christ. I can remember all these dreams started coming through as I was traveling on this big bus. We were traveling probably about two hundred fifty days a year all over the country and the group started having a lot of success. I started writing songs, and people started recording my songs and I had a couple of number one songs that I had written and the group started winning awards, and then I started winning individual awards. I'll be honest with you; I thought my whole life was set out perfectly for me. I didn't have any problems in my life until one night, I got a call from my mom and I've got to take it. My mom, she's a single mom and so when she has three boys, so when you have three boys and you're the oldest who is me, a lot of times she relies on the oldest son as somewhat of the father figure. So I was used to getting this call but on the flip side of that, I was so tired of getting this call. So I picked up the phone and I knew it was going to be about Nate. I knew it was about Nate and I picked up the phone and she was weeping uncontrollably and she said, I don't know what's going to happen and I said well, just try to settle down and tell me what's going on. She said, well, I've just dropped your brother off in downtown Xenia, Ohio which is our hometown and she said I don't know where he's going to sleep. I don't know what he's going to eat. All he has are the clothes on his back and he looks like he's with a gang and I don't know what to do. I'm scared, will you pray. I got down on my knees and I pray the most arrogant prayer that I've ever prayed in my life. I said God, will you just take my brother's addiction away and give it to me because I can handle it better than he can. Now, I've never believed that God gives people addictions but I do believe that God in his sovereignty allows things to happen, to draw us closer to him.

   Not too many days later, I woke up, and I had a sore throat, not a big deal. I thought maybe I was getting allergies or cold or something but as the days went on, I noticed I wasn't getting sick but the pain in the back of my throat became more and more excruciating and so I took a light on my phone and I shine it at the back of my throat and I looked in the mirror and there was an ulcer and that ulcer, I'm not exaggerating when I say that ulcer was as big around as a quarter and that ulcer had abscessed into my face, in my jaw, up into my ear. The worst pain I've ever been in my life and I got on the bus and we're going to Franklin, North Carolina, drove all night long and I got there, there was a lady meeting us there to take us to her house to eat lunch. As I walked off the bus, this lady saw me holding my face in pain and she said how in the world are you going to sing tonight? I kind of played it off, I said I'll be fine, I'll get through it. She said well my mom is an elderly lady. She lives right next door to where we're having lunch and I think she's got something that will help you and I thought great. So I went to her house and I sat down to eat lunch and she walked right up next to me, and she sat down some medicine on the counter and she said I want you to take this medicine before you eat your lunch. It was two pills. She said, make sure you take this medicine before you eat your lunch or you might get sick but eat your lunch and you should start getting a little bit relieved. So I did, I took the two pills and I ate my lunch and I can vividly remember walking from the dining room into the living room in this woman's home and she had a lazy boy recliner and I sat down started watching TV, and she was a wonderful lady because she had ESPN on and she's watching basketball. I never forget within five minutes of me sitting down in that chair, that pain medicine that she had given me started kicking into my bloodstream.

Let me tell you something, that night, every problem that I had in my life at that moment was gone. Every insecurity that I had as a young man and I had a lot of them disappeared and the devil begins to whisper in my ear. All your life, you're this scared kid from a broken home. You just want people to like you. You're an introvert. You're not real good at talking to people and this pill makes you outgoing, talkative, and fun, and people like you. This pill makes normal people feel abnormal but it makes you feel normal. Well, anybody who's ever become addicted to anything, let me tell you, it doesn't happen overnight but little by little I begin to be reintroduced prescription narcotics until I was taking anywhere from ten to twelve hydrocodone pills or oxycodone every day in my life. I woke up one day broken and embarrassed and ashamed and scared. I didn't know how in the world I got here. I ended up losing my job, singing which was my life. I loved it. It's all I've ever wanted to do and when that happened I went and got help and there's a lot of great Christian people that I know who are anti rehab and that's okay but I always say this, if God can use a donkey, he can use a rehab.

   I checked in there and I took my red King James Bible which I have with me tonight and I read it every night. I started reading about this guy named David, and you all know the story of David but let me tell you something I could really relate with David. Here's a guy who's a singer and a songwriter, and man, had he messed up and that same Bible says what? David was a man after God's own heart, and I've heard of my entire life but I could not reconcile in my mind how the Lord could call a murderer and an adulterer, a man after his own heart and the Lord spoke to me and said it's not that he fell. It's not that David fell. It's what he did when he got up.

   All of a sudden, I began to think God, if you can fix David, could you fix me? If you could heal David, could you heal me? If you can use David, is there any way somehow some way that you could use me? and that's been twelve hundred and forty one days ago today that I've been off of all prescription pain medicine and I travel all over the country to let people like you know, that Jesus is just as capable today of breaking changes, he's ever been.

There's probably a grandparent in here that’s got a grandchild who's struggling. There's probably a parent in here and you wish more than anything your child would be with you in a revival service on a Monday night but you haven't heard from him. You don't know where they are and you're scared. Can I encourage you? Jesus is still in the business of setting people free. He is doing business of building lives and there is no alcoholic, there's no drug addict. There's no one, there's no sin greater than the blood of Jesus Christ. What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make us whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Will you sing that with me tonight?

Recorded songs:
Jailbreak – Philippians Acts 17:22-40
Religion isn’t workingJudas

Joseph's Hearing His Voice Testimony

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