From Abuse to Insanity, to Hospitals, Jail, and Finally Back to Sanity and Five Years Sobriety through Faith

Starting in early June of 2001, I was hospitalized for OCD, panic disorder, and suicidal ideation, which was exacerbated and became unmanageable because of abuse and neglect that I suffered at the hands of my wife, Lisa.


My first stay at a mental hospital was in June 2001 at Valley Hospital in Ridgewood NJ following an incident of false arrest perpetrated by my wife Lisa, which resulted in jail, ejection from my home and loss of parenting time with my son. Basically, she took a missing persons flyer to the police and said that I gave this to her and told her, “The next time you see your son, it will be on a flyer like this”. The judge might have convicted me, but thank god I was able to produce an email where Lisa tells her sister that she is going to “Hit me with charges so damn nasty, that I am going to shit my pants”. Lisa did this same thing to her first husband, a school principal. Having done this before, she was well acquainted with the law and knew that if she made this false charge, the police would have no choice but to arrest me and that a judge would have no choice but to grant her a temporary restraining order. And because she didn’t know that I had the letter that she wrote to her sister, she fully expected that the temporary restraining order would become her permanent advantage in the divorce proceedings. About a week later, when the matter came to court, I was able to produce the email that Lisa sent to her sister and so the Judge Kathryn A. Brock exonerated me of all charges and allowed me to return to my home. The judge did not however punish Lisa in anyway for having me falsely arrested. Emboldened by the judge’s lack of action, Lisa abducted my child the next day. This caused me a complete loss of mental function. This was because, I was myself kidnapped by my father when I was a child. Lisa was well aware that I had been kidnapped as a child and knew that kidnapping my son would break my mind. As a social worker at the State Prison, my wife was trained in, and taught, anger management, conflict resolution, and behavioral modification to volatile prisoners. (She was eventually fired for having a relationship with one of the inmates.) In any case, she could have used her social skills to work out a reasonable and amicable closure to our relationship but instead she chose to use her knowledge of my vulnerability and her knowledge the legal system to destroy my mind and my life. In this state of agitation and poor mental function, I was arrested for attempting to rescue my son from a threat I perceived, that he would be taken from the country to her brother-in-law’s armed compound in Guatemala. For the next six months, I found myself locked up in various mental institutions and then spent another 3 ½ months in jail for the attempted rescue of my son and also for repeatedly breaking a restraining order by calling Lisa in attempts at reconciliation. What was I thinking?!! I wasn’t thinking; my mind was broken.


My father and stepmother checked me into Valley Hospital for fear that I would take my own life. My stay lasted for one week where the psychiatrist pumped me full of lithium because he had misdiagnosed me as Bipolar. Therapy consisted of playing with clay and drawing pictures of “My special place”. This special place is apparently very important to therapists because every therapist I have seen since has discussed with me this special place. More on the special place later.


My second experience with therapy was at a facility for sex offenders called Keystone in Pennsylvania. Even though I had only had sex with two partners (my first and second wives) during my entire adult life. The thinking was, that since I was obsessed with the thought of having sex with my wife, then I must be a sex addict. In truth, the only forms of currency I had, that were negotiable with Lisa, were sex and money. And since I had already given all of my liquid assets to Lisa in an attempt to save my marriage, (I say “my” marriage because Lisa was married to someone else when she took her vows with me), the only thing I had left to give, was sex. It was not sex I was obsessed with, but rather the fruitless effort of trying to earn her love. I now know from reading the Bible that real love cannot be earned, only freely given and gladly received.


Anyway, the therapy in that facility consisted of hugging stuffed animals while listening to each offenders horrifying and unspeakable childhood tales of rape, incest, and abuse. Everyday in this facility made me sicker and more suicidal by the hour. And in order to save what was left of my sanity I chose to sign myself out.


This infuriated my father who was sure I was a sex addict and had the unpleasant task of caring for his miserable sick son who was unable to stop pining over his vicious and cruel wife. My father knew that the first part of my recovery would have to start with hospitalization in a locked facility. So he had me escorted to the best mental facility that 1000 dollars a day could provide. His thinking was that I needed to be in a locked facility where I could be medicated and where the medication could be given time to work. His thinking was correct, but the facility turned out to be a dangerous place. Here is what happened.


At the facility, The River Oaks Mental Hospital in New Orleans, I was placed under the care of a gifted psychiatrist by the name of Doctor Hauth. The doctor understood my mental disorder immediately and prescribed the correct medication, which I still use today. Unfortunately, the medication does not take effect right away. So, time in a locked, controlled environment was required before any other type of recovery could be worked. Had the doctor been of lesser skill and prescribed another medication, my recovery would not have been possible.


Now please allow me to tell you how the lack of a safe, and spiritually healthy environment, at this and my next hospital nearly cost me my life.


Along with my new medicine, Doctor Hauth prescribed for me 30 days at his facility during which time the medicine would take effect. During this time I was denied contact with spiritually healthy people and was also therefore denied contact with the Holy Spirit whom I was desperately trying to receive. Instead, I was exposed to therapists and therapy where I received treatment and analysis, but no human contact.  The patients that I lived with were even sicker than the sex offenders I met at the previous institution. The majority of these patients were cutters. These were people who hated themselves so much that they mutilated their bodies with anything they were able to find for the purpose. These people had scars over their entire bodies from knives, razors, cigarettes and the like. The other patients if not cutters were people who had attempted suicide, usually multiple times. It was from these people that I learned to move from suicidal ideation to suicidal action. And it was from this environment, completely devoid of any contact with loving human beings, which made me lonely and hopeless enough to try and take my own life.


During my stay at River Oaks, my wife Lisa called me against her own restraining order on several occasions to let me know how difficult her financial situation had become. I was overcome with remorse that she should have to suffer this way and so I promised her that I would take my own life at the earliest opportunity so that she could have the insurance money. She called me back on a few more occasions to make sure that I knew that the insurance company was not likely to pay on a suicide and that only sickness and accidents were payable. Although I cannot know why she told me this, in my sickened state, I took this to mean; “If you are going to do it, then make it look like an accident”.


Although River Oaks created in me the ability and desire to take my own life, it gave me no opportunity. But the opportunity came the day after my release.


After 30 days, Dr Hauth decided that the medicine had taken effect and that I must leave his facility in spite of warnings from my parents and one of his therapists that I was likely to attempt suicide. My father could not have me anywhere near his family or his business where I used to work, and so, he entrusted my care to the Rogers Memorial Hospital in Wisconsin. Rogers was famous for their therapy with victims of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And as I was diagnosed with this disorder, it was only natural that I should go there to receive their special therapy. As it later turned out, I did not have a severe case of OCD, but rather a strong desire to be loved, and a false notion learned in my early years from my father, that if I only tried hard enough to deserve it, I could earn all the love I wanted.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder usually manifests itself in behaviors such as constant hand washing or extreme fear of touching dirty things like toilet seats or doorknobs. So for an OCD patient with these manifestations, Rogers special therapy consisted of spending hours a day touching toilet seats and recording on a scale of one to ten how it felt. So imagine my surprise and shock at finding a ward full of patients touching dirty things and noting their feelings down on a piece of paper. I called my father immediately and told him that this was not the place for me. But he made it clear that this place offered the best therapy that money could buy and that I was not welcome home then or in the future. He made it clear that this was the only place for me. But I had learned during my stay at River Oaks, that I did have another option. So I took a pocketknife and sharpener that I had been saving for the occasion, and sharpened the knife to a keen edge. I then felt for my carotid artery. I first took a few light strokes and found that there was no pain. So I forced the knife deep into my neck and pulled across with all my strength. But even with all my strength and all my determination, I could not break the artery. So I sharpened the knife again and made another attempt, again with all my strength. Still, I could not break the artery. I can find no reasonable explanation for this other than intervention by something much greater than myself. Call it whatever you want. I call it a miracle performed by my Father in Heaven.


I finally gave up and walked to the nearest institution employee and presented myself to him. I was loosing a lot of blood, but not enough to cause me loss of consciousness. The police and an ambulance were called and I was taken to a local hospital for stabilization, and then, I was flown to a larger hospital where a team of surgeons put me back together.


As a result of my attempted suicide, the state of Wisconsin committed me to a state run mental hospital called Winnebago. There I spent the next 4 months. At this facility, I spent a lot of time talking with my social worker Ed Meyer. This was the first human contact I had had in over 3 months. And while this contact was comforting, the conversations had no spiritual content. And as a result, I left the institution with the same problems I came in with.


On the day of my release, I fell right back into my relapse behavior of trying to make contact with my wife Lisa, which was a direct violation of a restraining order. As a result, the police asked me to turn myself in, which I did right away.

I spent the next 3-½ months at the Union County Jail. This is where I grew in the Holy Spirit by reading the entire Bible, and through fellowship with other Christians. It was here at the Union County Jail, that I had found the love I had been missing all my life. And it was here that I gained the knowledge and matured in faith enough to beat my addictions, and change my behaviors forever.


I have been free from jail for almost 5 years now. And during this time, I have never returned to my relapse behavior of contacting my wife Lisa. I no longer have need of that sick relationship because I have discovered the true meaning of love.


Since my release from jail, I have written a software package that is an expert system that, itself writes accounting software and business applications. So far, I have sold one copy of my expert system for $10,000. Also I work as a cab driver. But most importantly I have been a father to my two children, and a friend for my first wife Irene.


Today, I will be asking that the court no longer consider me mentally ill or dysfunctional in anyway. In order to make my plea in a reasonable context, I will be presenting letters from various doctors, but also, I will need to address the following topics:

What is the Holy Spirit?

Does the Holy Spirit have the power to heal?

By what process does the Holy Spirit heal?

Why the 12 Steps are only partially successful:

Why anger management is only partially successful:

Why therapy is only partially successful:

Why anger management and therapy are mandated by the courts:


What is the Holy Spirit?

It is easy for a lawyer to understand what it means when we talk about the spirit of a law. I think we will all agree that the spirit of any law is the frame of mind that the author was in when the law was written. This frame of mind might include the author’s emotional state, the author’s reasons for writing the law, the wording of the law, an idea of what he hopes to accomplish, and an idea of whom he is trying to help.


A law by itself is just words, but it’s spirit can be transferred from one person to another through the written word. And its spirit can grow as more and more people read and discuss this law.


The Holy Spirit is simply the frame of mind of Jesus Christ. It is kept in the written words of the Bible, and it lives and grows in the people who read, discuss, understand, believe, and do. It is this frame of mind that our founding fathers thought most worthy. And I imagine that for this reason, they dictated that the Words of Christ be placed in all courtrooms, in hopes that from this book, people would remember and be guided by His Spirit.


Does the Holy Spirit Have the Power to Heal?

The Bible itself is full of accounts where insane people have been brought back to sanity by virtue of the Holy Spirit. But if that is not enough, than I am here to bear witness that the Holy Spirit has brought me back to sanity. If this is still not enough evidence, than there are millions of people in this country and abroad that have experienced for themselves and are willing to testify about the healing power of Jesus Christ. Also, there are thousands of written accounts of prisoners that have been rehabilitated by the Spirit of Christ of which this is only one.



How Does It Work?

Once you read the Bible and accept what Jesus tells us about how much Our Father cares about each and every one of us; All of a sudden, we are able to see all the miracles that He is working for us all the time.

Miracles, such as people moving in and out of our lives just when we need them.

So it is no longer necessary to create unhealthy dependencies on just one person.


Miracles such as receiving unexpected but needed money.

Now it is no longer necessary to be fearful about where the next dollar is coming from. This makes giving a painless and joyful task.


Miracles such as receiving signs, inspirations, and ideas.

Now it is no longer necessary to obsessively worry about tomorrow, next week, or next year. This makes for living a richer life right here, right now.


Miracles such as receiving answered prayers.

Now we have faith that God will directly intervene in our lives when asked.

This makes fear ridiculous and so we spend more time in joy.


I have no way to count all the miracles I have received in my life, but the two most notable are:

1. My inability to take my life despite my full strength and effort to do so.

2. On one afternoon in jail, when about half my sentence was over, I had finished reading the Bible from cover to cover. After I closed the book, I looked up towards my Father and said to Him, I understand why you saved me and I understand how you want me to live. So will you please let me go? Well about 2 hours later the guards called me down from my cell and told me that I was leaving. I told them that there was some mistake; because there was still half my sentence to serve out. They told me with a smile that I could stay if I wanted to. Well of course, I chose to leave. But after I had been out for only a few hours, I was on the verge of calling my wife Lisa against the restraining order in another attempt at reconciliation. But as I was reaching for the phone, my lawyer called me and told me that the jailers had made a mistake and that I was to turn myself in to serve out the rest of my sentence.


Now you make be thinking that this is all just a collection of meaningless incidents, but to me it was my Father demonstrating to me that he could hear my prayers, and that he had the power to free me from jail. But He would not give me freedom till I was ready to receive it.


Why The 12 Steps Are Only Partially Successful:

While I was in jail I attended every type of recovery program that was available to me. These included:

1. Reading the Bible, attending church, and discussions with fellow Christians.

2. Attending anger management.

3. Attending 12 Step meetings.

4. And upon my release from jail, I spent more than two years in therapy / anger management.

I believe that theses experiences qualify me to make comments comparing the usefulness of all these treatments.


The 12 Step program works on a principal of enlightened self-interest. The premise is that the participant affects his own recovery by assisting others in theirs. This method of mutual encouragement does help many to control relapse behaviors, but this is where the treatment ends. The root causes of relapse behavior is little if at all addressed, So, the 12 stepper never gets to move past the activity of avoiding a relapse. This is why you see 12 steppers who have been clean for 20 years, but still consider themselves addicts.


This is not the case with an addict who has been healed by faith in Jesus Christ. Once a Christian has understood, accepted, and practiced the gifts given by Christ, no more effort is required to prevent relapse behavior. This allows the former addict move past addiction and to focus on the joys of living in the Spirit of Christ.


Why Anger Management Is Only Partially Successful:

Anger management gives the anger-addict the tools to prevent relapse behaviors, but no reason to do so other than fear of punishment. But angry people are not afraid of punishment. So at the end of the day, you have an anger-addict with all the tools necessary to prevent relapse, but without any inclination to do so.


The believing Christian on the other hand has a very strong reason to avoid getting angry, and that reason is the love of Christ and the desire to obey His teachings.


Why Therapy Is Only Partially Successful:

Therapy is a means through which a patient can discover the origins of relapse behavior. But just as with anger management, there is no incentive to change, and there is nothing offered to replace relapse thinking except of course the special happy place that patients are encouraged to draw.


Now if you will just take a moment to compare the special happy place and toilet touching against the richness of a Christian life, I am sure that you will find therapy to be a ludicrous solution to a serious problem and a ridicules substitute for the healing power of Christ’s Spirit.


Why Anger Management And Therapy Are Mandated By The Courts:

Because this country was founded by Christians who were not free in their own countries to live their faith, the courts were given no powers to mandate faith. And this is as it should be. But the public demands that the courts mandate some program in order to help the convict reduce his chances of reoffending. So in response to public pressure and out of real concern, the courts chose the most acceptable and perhaps least politically objectionable method of intervention. Therapy and anger management are often chosen because they are considered by the public to be a medical science. But my experience has shown me otherwise. Personally, it has taken me from a place where I was considering suicide to a place where I was able to commit the act with full intention of ending my life. And so I ask; what kind of science is that? Scientific results are supposed to be repeatable and predictable. This is not the case with therapy. And further more drawing pictures of my special place and touching toilets is not science or medicine. It is however, the best that the courts can mandate.



When I was finally released from jail, I saw my probation officer as often as she directed until my probation was over. I saw my psychiatrist and took all the prescribed medicine until I was healthy, happy and functional again. And I attended psychotherapy every week as directed by the courts until my probation was over. But the one thing the courts couldn’t mandate is the one thing that has made all the difference: True belief in the miracles I experienced. I will be forever grateful to Judge Katherine R. Dupuis, and to the Union County Justice System for placing me in jail, for providing me access to medicine, a safe place to stay, a Bible and to the inmates and ministers who helped me grow in knowledge and faith. They have done what the doctors alone could not.


After a man has suffered a serious illness like pneumonia or has sustained a broken back, there comes a time when the man may be considered well again. Well I have been out of jail for 5 years now. Since then, I have never returned to my relapse behavior of attempting to reconcile with Lisa or acting on my own to recover my son when he is taken. In fact, when Lisa absconded with my son to Guatemala this past year, I asked the courts for help rather than acting on my own and the courts revoked her passport. I am an involved and loving father, I am an activist for Social Justice, and I work hard at driving a cab. So I ask now to be judged in the courts by my merits and by what I can offer my son rather than by a sickness for which I have shown no symptoms in 5 years? 


Sincerely and faithfully,


John Shearing