Mission at Kern County

Rico's Story

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When Rico started drinking at 15, he never dreamed that alcohol would take over his life. “Hanging out with friends and drinking after school was something everyone did,” he says. “But I’ve been struggling with alcohol ever since.”

When he was 19, Rico married, and over the years, he and his wife raised six children, attending church together and volunteering in ministry. But Rico continued battling alcohol. “I’d get sober, but I always relapsed,” he says. “My marriage got rocky, my kids lost respect for me and I walked away from God. I had so much shame.”

Finally, his desperation drove Rico to call a friend who works on our staff. “I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. Is there any room at the Mission for me?’ And he said, ‘Sure. Come on.’”

Rico entered our Christian Life Training Discipleship Program, where Bible studies, chapel services, life skills classes and faith-based counseling led him to a life-changing encounter with Christ. “I had a head knowledge of the Lord before, but now He’s living in my heart. I’ve turned everything over to Him,” Rico says. “I’m joyful and peaceful.”

“I’m a different person. The transformation is amazing.”

Rico hopes to reconcile with his wife one day, and his relationships with his children have already been restored. “I got back all their respect that I’d lost,” he says.

A graduate of the program, he’s now in our transitional housing, saving money while he works as a house manager for Bakersfield Recovery Services. “I love my job because I get to work with those who are struggling like I did. I let them know there’s a way out.”

As Rico celebrates this Thanksgiving, he feels incredibly thankful for your compassion and support – and how it’s given him a fresh start in life. “I was lost, but the Mission gave me all I needed to get back on track. They gave me a second chance.”

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