Kevin Natale Interview #2

  • June 20, 2012
  • #7863

When disability strikes, many turn to addiction to cope with the life altering circumstances. Kevin Natale, a quadriplegic, shares how he overcame substance abuse through Christ.

Kevin Natale Interview #2

Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and I want you to meet our new intern here at “Joni and Friends.” That’s right, we have internships here at the International Disability Center and we love it … absolutely love it when those interns come to us with disabilities, interns in wheelchairs, and certainly Kevin Natale, who is our new intern here at the International Disability Center is joining me today here at the microphone. Thanks Kevin for coming.

Kevin: No problem. Thank you.

Joni: Your first day here at the International Disability Center. You know, the last time we met we talked a little bit about your story of how you were shot by a mentally deranged neighbor who came to your door with a gun, chased you through the house . Oh, my goodness what a horror story that was, and shot you, you fall to the kitchen floor paralyzed … but you have this smile all because of Jesus Christ. What a difference he obviously makes in your life.

Kevin: Yes, He does for sure.

Joni: Well, He led you to Biola University where you studied Organizational Leadership with a specialization, I gather, in addiction among people with disabilities.

Kevin: Yes. Obviously at 14 when your life is just turned upside down you find any way you can to cope with the situation and unfortunately—or fortunately—I look at it as a positive something I went through to where I got caught up in addition trying to cope with the situation I was in.

Joni: What sorts of addictions?

Kevin: Alcohol, marijuana, and as far as even crystal meth.

Joni: You know I remember when I was first spinal cord injured back in the hospital, there were many of my fellow-quadriplegics in the hospital who struggled with addiction. It was just too overwhelming: the quadriplegia was too much stress in their lives and they looked for escape. Is that the key here?

Kevin: Absolutely! You are just trying to find any way of just coping with your situation, just numbing your mind to the idea that you are never going to walk again. You are never going to be the same person that you were before and you are just trying to find an escape. I found it in drugs, just trying to numb the situation and trying to figure everything out.

Joni: Tell me, just how prevalent is this among people with disabilities?

Kevin: You know, to be honest with you it is one of the reasons that I wanted to get involved in your ministry because I know how ramped it is just in normal, able-bodied people. It’s an extremely prevalent thing in just our world in general, so coming here I really wanted to research how prevalent it might be. I figured normal, able-bodied people deal with addiction and I have to believe that people with disabilities have had the same thing even if it is just with prescription drugs.

Joni: Absolutely! We will be able to direct you to the primary sources that can provide a lot of that information for you and it will be fascinating to see the statistics show us. Well, Kevin, you are so inspiring me sitting here looking at your smile, hearing your story. No doubt there are many listeners struggling with addictions, looking for ways to escape their life circumstances. I wish they could see you. In fact, you know what, visit my radio page today. We are going to post a photo of Kevin on my radio page at joniandfriends.org so you can see this guy’s smile and know that he is an overcomer in Christ. Thanks Kevin!

Kevin: Absolutely! Thank you very much.

© Joni and Friends

 

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