This couple was radically changed by God. They were ex-drug addicts and dealers but are now helping others be free from the cycle of hopelessness and addiction through the transforming power of God.
Rich Walters journeyed on stormy seas. “For the longest time, I was in this never-ending cycle of drug addiction and alcoholism,” Rich told CBN News’ Prayerlink. “I just couldn’t seem to step out of it. I was living a life of complete and total failure and desperation. It was so, so, so, bad. It was to the point where you overdose multiple times, and there are times that you are literally welcoming death.”
He also wrote that “we’d spend hours even days bagging up dope to be distributed all across our state.” He recalled, “we were both some of the most wanted criminals in our valley.”
“I felt like I didn’t have any reason to even be here on this earth,” Shay told CBN News. I just had no hope.” Shay Walters, Rich’s wife, was in a vicious cycle of helplessness and hopelessness. She survived multiple suicide attempts and overdoses by the time she turned 25. She was also charged with nine felony drug charges and faced 22 years in prison. The Walters were in a very deep, dark pit of desperation and addiction.
But this hard blow turned out to be a blessing. “I could not imagine my life the way that it was anymore. And that is when I had a genuine and humble moment that I cried out to God, and I asked Him to intercede in my life,” she recalled. “When God is the only person in your cell with you,” Shay added, “that led to a very special bond with Him.”
Their transformation led them to build Peer Solutions. It is a behavioral health facility in Parkersburg, West Virginia. They are now using their voices and platform to minister to almost 1M Facebook followers.
“For whatever reason, God continues to sustain you and keep you alive long enough to get you to a place where this miracle can take place in your life,” Rich said.
“Now, the court system actually sends people to us. They trust us to help their people when they’re in trouble and they need help.” Rich used to be the public’s enemy number one in their community, but he is now a “pillar of this community.”
“The healing that we’ve seen take place, the chains of addiction being broken over people’s lives, that’s not us. That’s because we have God going into every situation with us,” Shay added.
West Virginia ranks second after Vermont with the most number of drug overdoses annually. Last year, the number increased to 62 percent. But the Walters believe that “God is a God of second chances.”
They helped a satanist surrender his life to God and end the vicious cycle of drug addiction, alcoholism, and almost committing suicide.
Rich left his followers with this encouraging note on Facebook: “God has a habit of recruiting from the pit and taking two low bottom violent drug-addicted criminals and turning them into disciples. God has a habit of equipping the worst society has to offer and using them to win souls. God has literally done the miraculous on our lives. We are walking, talking miracles.”
He concluded his post with this message, “God literally changes us to the point we are no longer recognizable in our old ways.” Once broken, now restored. If God can save Rich and Shay, He can indeed do it for anyone.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26