Anyone who knew John Woods back in the 1980s and 1990s knows the lifestyle he lived.
He was on drugs, got into fights, was in jail, and cared about only one person – himself.
Today, he is 47 years old, a 1984 graduate of Ashville High School and has been given a new lease on life.
He will be the first to tell you, had it not been for the saving grace and mercy of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, he would not be alive today.
Woods wants to share with everyone what Jesus has done for him, so much that he has written a book about his life that will be published Oct. 1.
The book is titled "HEIGHTS Can Change." HEIGHTS stands for How Everyone Is Getting High Tonight.
The book is being published by Margo Holliday-Bush with Bush Publishing Company. There are two offices, one in Orange Beach, and the other in Destin, Fla.
Woods said people need to get on a spiritual high rather than getting high on narcotics and drugs.
"I wrote this book to show people what God can do for even some of the worst people in the world," Woods said. "I want people to know that God can make a difference in the lives of people. God gave me a vision to try and help someone else."
Woods said for 26 years he was like a snake, on his belly, crawling around doing harm.
"But I went from being on my belly to being on my knees," Woods said.
"When I talked to the Lord while I was on my knees, he gave me the strength, wisdom and knowledge to stand up. You have to hit your knees before you are able to stand. When you are lying face down, there is no way you can stand straight up without hitting your knees first. Now we can bow willfully, or He can make you bow. I didn’t bow willfully to begin with, but God finally made me bow."
Woods said the Bible says many are called, but few are chosen.
"I feel like I am one of the chosen ones," Woods said. "For 26 years I did what I wanted to do, but during that time I feel like God was processing me. Correction leads to direction. I had to go through a lot of corrections to get to where I am right now."
When asked if he thought God had given him a second chance, Woods said, not just a second chance, but several chances.
"There were so many times that I should have died," Woods said. "But God carried me through, even when I thought I was big and strong."
In the 26 years Woods was on the streets, running with the wrong crowd, getting high every night, all he loved was himself.
"Now, I’ve learned to love God first and then love my neighbor," Woods said. "Today, I have the guts to walk away from anything that could harm me."
Last week, Woods was back in Ashville and had the chance to speak before the Ashville City Council.
"I appreciate the opportunity," Woods said. "I wanted them to know God had changed my life. I respect the leaders at Ashville. I think they are working together, and I believe the city is growing. I plan on going and speaking to high school students at Ashville soon, just like I did last year."
Woods said he has not been called to be a preacher; he simply has a testimony. He asks that you not look at the messenger, but the message he has to share.
"God is telling me to share with people here in Ashville, St. Clair County and the entire world," Woods said.
Woods turned his life around five years ago in a jail cell in Etowah County when he asked Jesus into his life. He has also been drug-free for the same amount of time.
"It’s been the best five years of my life," Woods said. "I can’t go back and change the 26 years I was a drug addict. But I can sure live for Him today."