Abel is grateful for the restoration he’s experienced with his family.

Abel is grateful for the restoration he’s
experienced with his family.

Abel is no stranger to overcoming life’s challenges.

A severe accident left Abel’s mom injured to the point where it was difficult for her to hold a steady job. Abel and his brothers ended up living in a hotel room where the boys cared for their mother.

Abel’s main weekly chore was the family’s laundry. “I would bike each Sunday with two trash bags full of dirty clothes to a laundromat,” he said. “The owner ended up giving me a job repairing the machines.” Abel went on to become a diesel mechanic.

For years, Abel held that job, got married, and started a family. “I made good money, but wasted it,” he said. “I was paying the bills for my family, but drinking took over.” It had started off slow. “I hung out with the guys after work—a few beers after work led to many others and an angry wife.”

Abel would miss out on time with his kids and often came home after they were asleep. Eventually, Abel’s alcoholism led to two failed marriages.

The disappointment of two divorces and the heartache he caused his children led Abel into a deep depression. The depression only increased his drinking and caused major health problems. With declining health and no place to live, Abel moved in with his adult daughter who now had a family of her own.

“I was living with my daughter, but she did not like my drinking and was tired of me coming home drunk,” he said. “That is why I ended up on the streets.” For 13 months, Abel was homeless. “It was cold, so cold. I don’t want (to do that) again.”

During his time on the streets, he would often pass by the Central Coast Rescue Mission. “I would walk by the Mission and see the guys,” Abel said. “They were happy, and I knew a few of them.” After many months of homelessness, Abel chose to go into the Life Recovery Program. “The staff was really supportive, and they wanted me to change my life,” he said. “I wanted to change my life.”

The staff has been instrumental in Abel’s recovery, and they are seeing Abel find God. “God has removed much of Abel’s shame around his addiction, reconciled him to his family, and provided a new pep in his step,” said Luke Johnson, the Mission’s program manager. “We’ve also seen God answer prayers around his physical health, which I know Abel is oh-so thankful for.”

Abel sees the impact the staff has made in his physical and spiritual healing. “The counselors here are amazing, and I could not be doing this without them,” Abel said. “This place has completely changed me. I have been through other programs and didn’t change, but it is the Bible that is changing me. God has changed my life completely. He died for me and still accepts me day by day.”

Learning about the Bible through the devotionals and praying have deepened his relationship with God. “I have the scriptures in me, and I am never going to let go.”

Abel is so excited about knowing God that he looks forward to sharing it with his family. “I want to share the Word of the Lord with them (his grandchildren). My family knows God and now I can talk with them about Him.”

Abel’s recovery is noticeable, and he says others see him and ask if that’s really him. “I could not be happier,” he said. “I don’t want any negativity and I want to be with my family. I want to be what my family wants and needs me to be.”

Abel is looking forward to continuing his healing and recovery journey in the Life Recovery Program. “This program is the best thing I have ever done,” he said. “There are steps of learning, but it is worth it all.”