My worst day today in recovery is better than my best day high. —Stanley Havili
The Mormon Channel’s “His Grace” series has tackled a number of difficult topics, telling the stories of real people who have overcome serious challenges through their belief in Jesus Christ.
The face of the latest “His Grace” video is former Cottonwood High, USC and Philadelphia Eagles player Stanley Havili, who recalls an addiction to painkillers that led to an attempted suicide. Havili, who now lives in the Salt Lake City area and works for Reflections Recovery Center, told the Deseret News that he first saw the video's finished project a few weeks ago.
"It's humbling to put it out there...and talk about it," Havili said. "Hopefully it helps somebody."
Identified just as "Stanley" in the video notes, the former NFL player talks about a college game against Nebraska, where he scored on his team's first series. Havili, a redshirt freshman at the time, had two touchdowns in that game, including the 50-yard run and a 5-yard TD reception that he references in the video.
Havili, who was selected as the 240th pick in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft, became addicted to painkillers during his first season with the Eagles.
“I just wanted to die," he says in the video. "I was ashamed that this football player, this NFL guy that had brought my parents so much joy, I’d now brought them so much sadness."
The addiction began in secret but was later discovered by his family. After waking up in the hospital after taking 180 pain pills, he got down on his knees and offered up a plea for help. “Help me,” Havili remembers praying.
“I remember the weight that was lifted off my shoulders,” Havili said. “I started to feel some peace. That I was going to be OK. I found this hope. And it grew. From then on my relationship with Heavenly Father was constant. I knew that I needed him. The only way for me to find peace was a power greater than myself.”
Later that day, Havili, who had previously planned to attempt suicide again upon checking out from the detox psych ward, met with his wife, who said she would give him 90 days to show progress toward recovery.
"That was essentially the first and biggest turning point for me in my recovery. OK, I have a chance to live 90 days. In the mind frame I was in at the time, I was going to succeed at ending my life when I checked out. So for my wife to give me those 90 days, I felt something answered my prayer," Havili siad. "I don't know what it was at the time. That was the biggest turning point of just hope, that if I can find hope I can possibly live longer than the 90 days my wife had allotted me in my mind."
Havili says this pivotal moment and decision to turn to God took place two and a half years ago. Today, he says things with his family are "awesome. ...My worst day today in recovery is better than my best day high."
While he still continues to face challenges, Havili said he now knows how to deal with them. He hopes this video's release will help others recognize that they are not alone and they can be helped.
"My hope is that if people who are struggling watch this video, they are not alone. What my life looked like on social media, what my life looked like from people looking outside in, and not really understanding the turmoil, the heartache and hardship I was my so-called picture perfect family through," Havili said. "It's like you never know what people are going through. You are not alone. It's OK to have struggles. It's OK to not do well. It's OK to feel sad. Emotions are healthy and I think if people watch the video (the message is) reach out. Don't hesitate to ask for help."