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Ismael’s Story

I was born in Mexico City.  When I was 11, my dad brought us here to the United States. I was in heaven and loved everything about our new lives, but my dad hated it here. He felt lost without anyone knowing who or what he was, and decided to go back to Mexico City. My brother and I didn’t return to Mexico with my dad; instead we went to live with my uncle, where we were both completely neglected. No one cared what I did or if I came home at night.  I started hanging out with older guys and smoking weed. I started partying and drinking heavily and ended up with alcohol poisoning when I was only 15.

I was so depressed in that life; I tried to take my own life more than once. I wondered why I wasn’t good enough for God to love me. I drank more and more to take away the pain.  I hung out on the streets.

At 17, while I was out one night, I was jumped and beaten; I ended up in a coma. When I was discharged from the hospital, I was determined that nothing like that would ever happen to me again. I began physical training and, over time, came to believe that aggression and physical violence would keep me safe. That’s when I was introduced to cocaine – between cocaine and alcohol, I was just sliding through life.

When I was young, I wanted to be a doctor. Now I felt like a street doctor — I was “helping” people with drugs.

I spent the next few years selling drugs and trying to believe that I was good man. I had money.  I was strong. I had a family.  I used drug money to buy my daughters everything they wanted, but I was never there for them. I pushed people away and never understood why. Eventually, I started to use meth. Like meth always does, it took over, and I lost everything.

But it was then that I finally realized, God loves me and had a plan for me.

When I came to MnTC, it felt amazing. I had all this pain in my heart that was poisoning me, and I didn’t even know it.  At first I didn’t recall many of the traumatic things that had happened in my childhood, but when I started counseling, I was able to remember things and also process them. I had been pushing those memories down and using drugs to ignore the pain my whole life.  Being here taught me how to accept love, and how to deal with life in a healthy way. I’ve also learned that people love me no matter what. I don’t have to be perfect.

God gave me peace when he told me I was worth something. He gave me purpose. He gave me peace, grace and love.