Gospel Singer Joseph Habedank's Journey Through Addiction, Towards His New Record

Joseph Habedank
Daywind Records

Gospel singer Joseph Habedank of Daywind Records.

Joseph Habedank -- longtime member of the successful gospel group The Perrys -- is branching out on his own with a new solo album, Welcome Home, that was created as he emerged from the crucible of addiction (to pain medication) that eventually saw him check into Nashville-area treatment facility Cumberland Heights. He said it is a disease that runs in his family.

“I grew up in a wonderful Christian home, but grew up around addiction with my brother. He had a really serious problem with drugs,” Habedank tells Billboard. “He was introduced to narcotics in his early teen years. I grew up not understanding addiction, and had resentment not just toward my brother but also toward the disease. Several years later, when I first moved to town, I remember getting a call from my mom who said ‘Nate’s in trouble. I need you to pray for him.’ Sadly, that was probably one of the only times I remember kneeling down and praying for my brother. I prayed a completely arrogant prayer, something like ‘Lord, will you take his addiction and give it to me.”

The singer strikes an honest tone when discussing his own path toward addiction. “I had an ulcer come up on the back of my throat, and I was introduced to pain medication. I can remember taking the first pill, and falling in love with the feeling it gave me. I ran out of the medication, and my throat got better. I began to be re-introduced to it over the next couple of months, and eventually I was taking between 10 to 12 hydrocodone or oxycodone a day. It’s a miracle I’m here today... the Lord picked me up out of a pit. It’s been a hard journey. [Now] I see addiction for what it is -- it’s a disease of the mind. A lot of people in the Christian world want to fight the fact that addiction is a disease. I know now that it is. I’ve learned so much about how to relate with other addicts.”

The award-winning singer-songwriter tells Billboard that releasing an album on his own, as well as the promotional process that goes along with it, has been very rewarding. “It’s been a real amazing journey. I’m just really grateful I get to sing, and I don’t take it for granted. To be able to share these stories and songs has been incredible. We just got back from Dallas, and will be going to Canada in a few weeks. We’re real excited to let people hear the message in these songs. My biggest passion is to help people. I really feel like this record can do that. I hope the messages on the album resonate with people everywhere.”

One of the highlights of Welcome Home is “Wonders With Water,” inspired by Habedank's dive into the biblical importance of life's most important evolutionary building block. "I remember coming into the meeting room with Tony Wood and Sue Smith, and saying ‘Hey, I want to write a song about water.’ I had the first two lines, and it took them a while to hop on board with the idea. It’s amazing, when you start reading the scripture, how many things the Lord actually does with water. I began to study it, and we learned all these things about the rainbows, and Him parting the seas. I won’t give away the hook, but I love what it says about Him still doing wonders with the water today.”

Wood and Smith also helped to pen the powerful “Now I Know Him,” which talks about the “big picture” that God has for our lives that we sometimes don’t see. “He doesn’t put us through stuff because He wants to punish us, or because He’s mad at us. I don’t believe that. He puts us through stuff to pull us closer to Him. When we go through things like divorce, health, or financial problems -- we think God is punishing us. It’s more Him saying ‘I see you drifting, I want you to be my kid again. I want you to come to me -- not just when you need something, but just to talk to me.’ There’s so many times we fail to do that, when we’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. This song speaks the truth in my life. I feel like I know Him today in a way that I never have before.”

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