“Sine Amore Nihil Sum– Without Love, I Am Nothing…”
Born and raised in Atlanta and it’s suburbs, in a “MadMen-esque”environment with high expectations, impossible to meet, Jack Varnell eventually turned to the streets seeking the acceptance and approval which proved so elusive at home. Struggles with identity and purpose brought confusion about messages delivered from family, church and authority figures on issues like honesty, integrity, and success.
Disenfranchised as a result, he remembers making a conscious decision that if good behavior, good grades and playing the “golden child” didn’t beget the attention he craved, perhaps acting out would, and fell into a life of skipping school, leaving home, and alcohol and drug abuse.
As his reliance on the lifestyle and drugs increased, and after being arrested many times for minor offenses before becoming an adult, he found himself in State Prison for a robbery charge at age twenty, facing a potentially long sentence . Through this experience, more than a couple miracles, and several years of trial and error Jack has emerged clean from drugs for nearly twenty years, and has devoted a substantial amount of time to remedy the injuries done to self and others.
As an addiction counselor, he co-founded and ran Foundation House, near Atlanta – a recovery residence for homeless and indigent and clients coming out of State run institutions of various types. In doing so, he created a family modeled environment for nearly one-hundred men and women who found a piece of what he sought all his life. They came, and lived, and were even responsible for their own treatment fees and living expenses. And their lives were permanently changed as a result.
Ever the student Jack attempts to add to his blessings daily through work, self sacrifice and introspection. As a writer, poet and artist he attempts to shine a light on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that life, and circumstance can bring. His aim is to live as an example that with effort, a willingness to believe, and take action towards a new way of life, a different life can be had.
It is a big world, and there is lots of pain, and hate to be overcome. Often the missing components are the knowledge that things can be different and the belief of one person in another, and in the better life we all aspire to. The answer to hate, whether manifested outward or inward, is Love, and Jack has tattooed on his arm the Latin phrase:, “Sine Amore Nihil Sum” … Without Love I Am Nothing.