I was born in Peru and adopted here when I was very young. After what seemed like a normal childhood, I struggled with alcohol in my late teens. I dropped out of college after two years and, for the first time in my life, I felt completely lost. Depression and more drinking didn’t help. By age 27, I was living out of my car after my parents told me I had to leave—that they were done enabling me.
When I became suicidal, they sent me to Utah for a 90-day rehab. I ended up staying out there, sober, for three years. It was a fresh start in a new place. I would have stayed longer, but my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. I got a place in Rockford and came back to spend whatever time I could with her. My parents both got to see me sober through that time, which was a huge blessing for them.
But, much as I tried to stay sober, I couldn’t—especially after my mom passed. I got evicted and, in July 2019, things got so bad that I thought I was about to drink myself to death. I called an ambulance, and at the hospital my nurse told me something that would change my path forever: “God doesn’t want this for your life. He has better plans for you.”
Then she told me about Rockford Rescue Mission, and I knew it was worth a try. It took me two separate times in the Life Recovery Program to truly change. The first time, I only let myself do surface-level work, not digging deep into my past and how it affected me. I didn’t lean into God, or others. After I left, I relapsed briefly. But after I returned, deeper relationships grew.
I learned a lot about myself after that relapse. For a lot of my life I suffered with low self-esteem. I think it’s because I looked at all my deficiencies and what I didn’t have, instead of the gifts that God did give me. Today, I know He can use those gifts. I look forward to finishing college, helping others with addiction and bringing them to God.
My father died last spring. I know he loved me, but he never really gave me the guidance of father-son talks. When I open the Bible today, I feel like my Heavenly Father is talking to me and giving me direction that I didn’t get. God has spoken to me through people, through His Word, and I just want to continue on this journey with Him.