Eric was born into a world of gangs, drugs and violence. My dad was in prison. My mom was a drug dealer. I had two brothers murdered, he says. When he was a little boy, he promised himself that hed never be like his father, never use drugs or disappear from his children’s lives. But, when he was just nine years old, Eric started using meth. It took complete control of my life, he says. Eric’s mother was in and out of prison and, during her incarcerations, he stayed in group homes, slept on friends sofas or lived on the streets. I remember sleeping under a bridge for a week, or finding half eaten burgers and being so thankful, he says. He managed to graduate from high school, but continued using and stealing to support his habit. Then, one day, when he was 28, Eric came face-to-face with his newborn son, and his broken promise to himself. It took me looking into his face to realize what I͛d become. I was my dad, he says. That’s when I knew something had to change.

He turned himself in on burglary warrants, telling the detective that he wanted to change. I said, I have a son. I can’t do this anymore. That detective helped me get into The One Year Addiction Recovery Program at The Mission at Kern County. Eric was an atheist when he arrived here at the Mission, but not for long. The staff’s unconditional love totally changed my perspective. I felt Gods mercy, he says. When he graduates, Eric will enter our Next Steps Aftercare Program, He will live in transitional housing, begin to work and continue to learn how to live his newfound life in Christ out in the world.

My perceptions of what a man should be have changed… Everything has changed. Because of your generous support, the dark times men like Eric face are transformed into bright futures by God’s love. ͞I get down on my knees every morning and thank Him for being a part of my life, He says.

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