At 17 years old, Manny packed up his life in Mexico and moved with his wife to the United States.
With a new baby daughter, and another on the way, Manny knew he needed to work to provide for his family. He found a job as a cook at a restaurant, where the money was good, but the hours were long and stressful.
The other cooks had a solution for their stress and exhaustion: alcohol. Manny decided to give it a try. But what started as a few drinks in the beginning quickly spiraled into complete dependence.
At first he was able to hide his drinking from his wife, and he continued to provide for his daughters and fulfill the role of a good father. But over time, alcohol became more and more the focus of his life until he could no longer hide the truth – from his family or himself.
“I noticed I had a problem, but I couldn’t stop,” he said. “I was poisoning myself.”
He went back and forth from detox to the liquor store, trying unsuccessfully to escape his addiction. But one week, he ended up in the hospital three times and needed to be revived. It was that third time – hooked up to IVs, alone in his hospital room – when he realized his life had become unmanageable.
“Something opened my eyes that day. I’m not this kind of person. What am I doing?” he asked himself. “For a while I left God behind me. But that night, I got on my knees and I started praying: ‘I don’t know what else I can do. I really need Your help. I will take whatever path You put me on.’”
The next morning, Manny was visited by the same social worker who had checked on him each time he ended up in the hospital that week. She expected him to deny he needed help like he had before, but this time he surprised her. He wanted to go to a long-term program.
“I wasn’t ready to let the addiction beat me,” he realized. He needed to be there for his family, for his daughters: “It’s not about me anymore.”
The social worker recommended the Mission’s Life Change Program, and when Manny learned it was a Christian program, he knew God had answered his prayer. When he got here, he made it his goal to stop talking and start listening – and he soon started noticing God in everything.
As he attended AA recovery meetings, chapel services, and Celebrate Recovery, everything began to make sense. Through the love and support of our staff and interns, he slowly learned to heal by opening himself up to others. As the Lord worked in his heart, he started regaining people’s trust he had lost in the past.
“I started feeling peaceful,” he said. “This is a safe place.”
Now, Manny has graduated our program. He has learned how to be a good, responsible father to his daughters, and he is working on restoring his family.
Because of your love and the care he received, Manny is celebrating new life this Easter. Looking back on how far he has come, he knows he can trust God to lead him day by day.
“I told God to leave me alone, but He was always right there with me,” he said. “He took all my ego so He could reveal a new person. It’s not a choice to go back to the past – just keep moving forward. Eventually, everything is going to happen in God’s time.”
To read our Easter 2022 issue of The Lifeline, click here.