My mom passed away when I was only a year old. Because of that, my siblings and I went to live with our Grandmother in Michigan. With her, we grew up involved with our church, singing in the choir, volunteering at nursing homes and stuff like that. But for some reason I always felt like I was missing something in life. I rebelled in school and found myself getting into trouble a lot.

Eventually when I was 15, I moved back to MN and began to live with my Dad and stepmom. Living here, I still hadn’t found that “place” that I was looking for. Life felt hectic, and I often felt different than my stepsiblings. My rebellious streak turned to stealing cigarettes, or lying and saying I was going to the library when really, I was going around the corner to smoke.

Cigarettes soon became weed, and during high school that’s where I put my focus. Smoking weed became my identity, I thought I was this cool guy and if I had enough weed and I smoked it, people would accept me. I guess in a way, I was seeking that acceptance. I didn’t really have father figure that was around much, and I thought I was living a lifestyle that was okay.

I started drinking and partying around 16, which eventually led to joining a gang. I had been struggling with my identity, and I think I put this mask on of this hardcore gangster kid. Thinking my happiness was in the crime that I was committing; I didn’t know any other way to be happy.

Things got really bad. I was committing crimes, drinking, fighting; and thinking the whole time that this was my purpose. In the midst of everything, my son was born. His mother and I dropped out of school and tried our best to take care of our family, but things quickly unraveled. I started going in and out of jail and wasn’t taking life seriously.

Life was passing me by. Over the next 7 years weed and alcohol were my go-to for everything. I was drinking and driving and had multiple DWIs. I kind of just gave up on getting a job, gave up on school I gave up on everything. I was stuck in the mindset that this was the only way to live.

Cocaine entered my life in 2018. Quickly my life was consumed with chasing the feeling of that first high. I remember times I couldn’t pay my rent because I spent all my money on cocaine. It became so bad that I started neglecting the things I was doing for my son. I was spending all my money on drugs, clothes, clubs and superficial things that I thought were life at the time.

Looking back, using cocaine brought so many different painful things. One of the things that really gets to me today is how I used to do cocaine and my son would be in the house; I would just have him go watch TV or play with one of his games. I didn’t even realize how much he wanted to be with me. I was so focused on either smoking weed or using cocaine that I’d just neglect that time with him. I wish I could go back and get that time back.

My son’s mom and I broke apart, and I began to bounce from house to house. My life just kind of went down the drain, I turned into this empty person with no emotions and no feelings. When I first started using, I always had friends that were there for me… eventually I stepped back and started asking… “Where were these people? Where are these “friends” that taught me this path and gave me this outlook on life… where are they now?” When I was young, I thought I was popular with drugs, but now that I’m older and addicted… now there’s nobody there for me. Now I’ve lost people and my family doesn’t want to be around me, and I can’t be around my son. I had all these contacts in my phone, but no one to call.

I had no reason to live and no hope. This is where I think God started moving in my life.  I was finally arrested, and was in jail for three months. My first day there, I met this guy who started telling me about MnTC. I filled out an application, and at my court hearing the judge ruled for me to get treatment. One week later I was at Mn Adult & Teen Challenge.

Coming here, it just didn’t feel real. I think it was a feeling of God’s grace and finally feeling like I had somebody that loves me in the world. I had always felt this emptiness in me, and for the first time felt something working in me. My first day here, I just remember feeling so surreal and so happy.

I really started tapping into the work here, I started memorizing bible verses. I remember one week in particular during a special worship service; seeing God’s love just bouncing in the Chapel…it was life-changing. In that moment, dedicated my life to Christ. I’m just beginning to understand what God’s love is in my life. God works wonders through the Holy Spirit and through His love for us. I really believe that if I put all my faith in him… my life can be so much different.

Today, I get to be a new father to my son. I used to think that buying things for my son was how I could show him love, and it was based in all these superficial things. Now, my son and I spend genuine time together. I see his character, see who he is and get to be present. I know where I belong.

Your donation will go towards:

$25                 Brand new bedding for one client
$50                 One day of room and board for one client
$75                 A tank of gas to transport clients to and from classes and activities
$100               Ten Life Recovery Bibles
$250               Curriculum books for one client
$500               One day in the schools for our Know the Truth Prevention Program