Before coming to New Directions I had followed my addiction to lows that I thought were reserved for others of weaker character. I came to realize, however, that with my drug use I had slung my character right out the window. Not only did I lose my self respect, but I also managed to lose possession of my home, and custody of my two sons, Henry and Kenny.
I began experimenting with drugs and alcohol at a young age. In junior high school I was already boozing and smoking pot. In 1980, when I enlisted in the Navy, my behavior didn’t change. In fact, my substance abuse even landed me in the brig for 60 days.
After leaving the Navy I was soon supporting a wife and two boys – yet I continued to drink and use drugs. I got hooked on speed, and that became my undoing. I would stay up for days, then sleep for long hours and miss work. Finally, I was fired.
When my wife died, my father-in-law took us in, giving my sons a more stable environment. But my drug use continued. In fact, I had turned into a junkie. When my father-in-law died, my sons were sent to foster homes. Soon, I was living on the streets.
Then, one day in 2007, while I was trying to get food stamps and hotel vouchers from the State, I was informed about New Directions. I entered the program and was welcomed with open arms. Slowly but surely I began to grow spiritually. I also gained confidence in myself by accepting my powerlessness and the strength gained from a loving God.
New Directions helped me by changing my whole way of thinking. Also, I had a very strong incentive to get and stay clean: I wanted my boys back. So, I kept my eyes on the prize, and grew in my recovery.
Today, thanks to the tools I was given at New Directions, I have earned back my role as a father. I have a job now, and a home in which to raise my sons. Kenny, my older son is enrolled in Mt. San Antonio College and doing well. Henry is a junior at Charter Oak High and is involved with the choir and drama departments. Both of my sons share my love of music, and a trust fund has been set up for their education.
I know that the road of life will never be perfectly smooth, but I am confident now that I have the tools to deal with adversity. I know there is a reason I was chosen for God’s work.