It may not have been the conventional way to do it, but that’s why Waylon Jennings was the ultimate outlaw.
In a lengthy feature in the November edition of Guideposts Magazine back in 2017, Waylon’s wife and fellow country legend Jessi Colter shared an inspiring story of his ultimate redemption and journey to finding faith.
You can read the full thing HERE, but the part that stood out to me almost more than anything was the fact that when Waylon did finally quit his bad drug habit for good, he did it cold turkey.
Instead of going to a hospital or rehab facility when he was ready to quit, like his friend Johnny did, Waylon decided to rent a house out in the Arizona desert, clear everything on the calendar, and camp out there until he was clean and had everything out of his system.
And if that sounds crazy, that’s because it is, and of course not the way any medical professional would recommend doing the process, but we all know that Waylon was simply a different breed.
Jessi recalled that March in 1984, when she watched her husband in pain both “physically and emotionally,” as his whole body “screamed in anguish”:
“The ordeal was painful, physically and emotionally. Every bone in Waylon’s body screamed out in anguish.”
I can’t imagine how hard that must’ve been for her to just have to sit by and watch him in such severe pain in every possible way, essentially helpless, but she later found comfort in knowing how much Waylon appreciated her just being there and praying for him:
“Later he wrote how my presence, my prayers, made a difference. Somehow he quit on his own and managed to stay sober the rest of his life.”
Jessi also importantly noted of the ordeal:
“Let me be clear: I do not consider Waylon’s way to sobriety a template for others. I would never encourage anyone to rely, as he did, on sheer willpower.
It can be a recipe for disaster. I thank God that Waylon made it work. And that I knew enough to stay out of the way.”
In the early 2,000’s, the couple packed up and moved to Arizona for good (Jessi’s home state) from Nashville, where Waylon would live until he passed away in February of 2002.
Behind every good man is an even better woman, as the old saying goes, and these two were a power couple that not only left a trailblazing legacy of incredible outlaw country music, but true and unconditional love.
Here’s to the late, great Waylon Jennings and the woman who helped save him physically and spiritually, Mrs. Jessi Colter.