During the most difficult season of his life, the now Executive Director of Adult & Teen Challenge, found God in a coffee shop of all places.
Daniel Emond's testimony is one of battling addictions along with spending time in jail just to get out and sell and do drugs once more. But it doesn't end there.
"In my first year of University, my father was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease. I wanted to become a medical doctor. I was reading a textbook and ended up basically reading my father's death sentence."
That was the beginning of Emond's hopelessness, which lead to him to attempts at numbing his pain through alcohol and drug use.
"I was addicted from 18 to 25 years old. I used hard drugs, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, mushrooms, anything to numb the pain," he says.
Emond dropped out of University and started a vicious cycle of addiction. He tried multiple addiction programs and even a 3-month residency but none of it stuck.
"I had a sin problem and I needed to be healed and saved from that."
After different attempts to get help and find a way out of addictions, Emond ended up in jail.
"I was bunked with a man named Jason. He had more serious charges than I did," says Emond. "There was a prison chaplain that would come to the unit we were staying in. Pastor Morrison would come and asked everyone if they wanted to come to chapel."
Jason asked if Emond wanted to join him at chapel, in return for a bag of chips.
"I figured hey, I like salt and vinegar chips, sure. I'll go to chapel with you."
After attending chapel and hearing how Jesus' blood can set sinners free, singing 'Kumbaya', Emond thought everything he heard was very weird. It didn't connect with him at the time.
However, his cellmate Jason ended praying the sinner's prayer that day.
"He came back and started telling me how all his sins were forgiven and he was unusually happy. I didn't take it seriously."
A little while later Emond was released from jail and ended up getting a job as a roofer with his uncle.
"One night I ran into an old friend. They invite me to go somewhere and next thing you know, I'm using drugs again. I went down deeper than I ever had. I ended up selling drugs and using them too."
During one evening, a drug deal had gone wrong and Emond was considering hurting someone really bad. Before that, Emond headed over to his mom's house. She was afraid of her son and wouldn't let him in, but she asked if she could take him to a coffee shop for some food.
"I was sitting there, telling my mom that I don't care anymore and I'm always going to be like this. I told her I was going to do some bad things, that it wasn't her fault, but that she might not ever see me again."
Emond's mother started crying at the table, being handed this terrible news, when a familiar and divine face walked through those same doors.
"The guy looks right at me and starts walking toward the table. A tear welled up in his eye, as he said 'Daniel, Daniel, don't you remember me?' I didn't and he said, 'It's me, Jason'."
Two years had passed since the cellmates shared a space in prison.
"Jason had been down the street at Springs Church, worshipping God before he walked in and told me how God had moved on his behalf and completely changed his life."
While Emond had sunk deeper into the world of drugs, Jason had taken the one-year program with Adult and Teen Challenge.
In the coffee shop, Jason said to Emond, "Whatever you're going to do, God wants you to know that you're not supposed to do that. He sent me here to tell you that. He's real and you should come to Teen Challenge."
Emond shares how that night he and his mom met God in a coffee shop.
"That began my journey as I didn't go and hurt someone, and rather went home with my mom."
In early 2006, Emond walked through the doors of Adult & Teen Challenge where he spent a year recovering from addictions. After that he took the year and a half leadership program that they also offer their graduates.
This year Emond took over as Executive Director of Adult & Teen Challenge of Central Canada.
"I can't tell you enough that Jesus is the answer. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He sets us free from addiction. Teen Challenge is just a vehicle that allows Jesus Christ to be the leader and the King."
Emond is also married. He and his wife Katie have a son and daughter.