After nipping a drinking problem in the bud when he was young, Marco spent a decade as a music director and playing keyboards in the church band. He led praise and worship for years, and did well, until the pandemic hit.
When church services ceased, Marco felt a shift in him. “I got really complacent,” he said. “I went and stayed with a friend and I started drinking again. We really were just drinking all the time … I knew I needed a Christian program—I needed to be rooted again in Christianity.”
After seeking help from his daughter, Marco entered the Mission program. He moved over to the transitional house after six months, and one day decided to bike to the liquor store. “I didn’t have a good enough foundation,” he said. “I left for two months, drinking up and down the coast. I knew I needed to come back. I felt back at home when I returned. These people are so great.”
Now, five months into the program this time, Marco feels solid. “As spiritual as I was, I am so much more into the sobriety part of it this time,” he said. “I’m taking classes for addiction and alcoholism. I get a (prescription injection) that keeps the cravings away. Between that and God—I’m all the way, 100 percent, completely devoted to him—life gets better every day. I’ve completely surrendered to the Lord.
“This time, I’m doing this thing not for anyone else—just to get right with God and quit this obsession with alcohol,” he added. “This time, I’m going to graduate. And after the program, I’m going to stay up here on the Central Coast. I’m moving up here and my goal is to find a church where I can play and worship God for the rest of my life and retire here. I want to keep helping people—it’s the best way to keep yourself right. I have a passion for helping people, I really do.”
Marco has already found a way to start giving back. He knows the Bible well, and has been teaching a class for the past two months on three books of the Bible—Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. “A lot of the guys don’t know the Old Testament. Luke (the Mission’s program manager) encouraged me to do it. … If someone doesn’t know the Bible well, I tell them to come to me, I can help them out. I give all the glory to God.
“My mindset is totally focused on Jesus. He’s blessing me every day.”