“I was born in Fountain Valley, California. My mother was very young when she had me. Now over the course of my school career, I went to 15 different schools. We moved around a lot. So I never felt a part of anything, I didn’t have solid friends I could confide in and I spent a lot of time by myself. I remember we would move at the end of school years and it was summertime, which was great. But I would spend that summer by myself. Riding my bike around and all that. So when I got to High School I finally decided I didn’t want to move around anymore and I moved in with my Grandma. I remember that I wanted to be somebody finally. I didn’t know who I was, what I was and I had spent most of my childhood with my mom dealing with her adult problems. I wanted to be the popular guy I had always seen on TV, I wanted to be known for once. And so I did. Started playing sports, started getting recognized and of course, I discovered alcohol. When I drank it just felt right, I had confidence, I could be that guy and people seemed to like me more. In a short time, I needed alcohol to do everything. I had always been told by people that I had a problem saying no. And that’s how it was with my drinking, which quickly led to DUI’s, pills, and eventually heroin.”

“Skipping way ahead, I ended up homeless and living on a boat that was on a trailer. I finally got to the point where I wanted to kill myself so I started taking shots of heroin that I thought would take me out. And that happened twice and I finally woke up and decided I needed to do something different. I wound up in detox and something was different for me. It was just a huge relief to be there. Typically people are pissed off in those places but for me, I was ecstatic to be there. After that, the friend of my mom’s I told you about helped me get down here to Brazos. I got here and was finally introduced to the Steps and really tried to do everything right for once. But even then I looked for loopholes and broke rules as I’ve always done. And it came to my 60th day here and I was told that if I broke another rule I was gonna be kicked out. In all honesty, I didn’t think there was any way I was going to be able to make it 30 more days. But I just paid attention and started thinking about what I did before I did it. It was tough. But on one of them multiple times, I went through the steps in that period, I was given some clarity. I found out that I could do a lot of things that I didn’t know I could.”

“Since then I’ve grown a lot. God has given me way more than I could imagine 3 years ago and has helped me understand myself better. When looking back over my past, I had to develop a different way of looking at it all. Instead of poor pitiful me, who moved around a lot and didn’t have friends, I started to flip that around and find the good that came out of that. I can now go anywhere and meet and talk to anyone because of how much I did that growing up. Other things I learned were how after being here and working for a year, I start feeling an urge to leave and make a change. I had to think back and realize that I am so programmed to move every year when that lease is up. And with that comes a feeling that I can start half-assing at the end because I know I’m not going to see these people again. So I had to really think about that. Instead of wanting to run or burn the whole thing down at the end of the year, I had to stop and realize that was the way I used to be, not the way I have to be now. And now I’ve been here 3 years. I mean, I’ve never been anywhere for that long in my whole life. To be wanted, known, and trusted in a place like this, with the keys to everything… that’s huge for me because I wasn’t always a trustworthy person. I’ve been in a relationship for a while now too. And she’s got an 11 and 6-year-old. And they call me Daddy. I never ever pictured myself having a family. I take them to school every morning, get them out and hug and kiss them goodbye. That’s just not the person I thought I was or thought I could be. And now I’ve got little people that look up to me. It’s mind-blowing. I mean, I ended up finding a family and meeting the love of my life in Whitney, Texas of all places. I’m a part of something in a way I never have been before. Who would have thought that would happen? Who would have thought any of this would?”