After Jail And Hospitals, Anthony Finds Peace At The Mission

Aug 29, 2019

Anthony grew up with parents who were alcoholics and was not interested in following that path. “My mother was functional—she’d cook, clean, go to the gym, do laundry, and then drink. My father on the other hand, he works in the oil rigs, two weeks on, two weeks off. The two weeks off he would just drink.”

Anthony’s parents divorced when he was young and his mother raised him and his two siblings as a single parent. “I never liked alcohol or any kind of drugs—I didn’t want any of it,” he said. “But after I graduated high school, my pride came in. I had my diploma, my license, a nice girlfriend and a job. I was a nerd in high school, and I wanted to feel that party lifestyle. I got drunk for the first time on Champagne at my graduation party. Once I had that rushed feeling of being buzzed, I fell in love with it.”

In college, Anthony started hanging out with some older guys. “I felt like I was hanging out with the big boys,” he said. “First it was all fun and games. Then it started getting deeper. I was drinking with groups, then with a drinking buddy, and then I was drinking alone. I lost control.”

Anthony got kicked out of his mom’s house and quit his job and college. He tried living with his dad and his wife, but the stay was short-lived. Anthony was in a homeless shelter when his brother invited him to church. “I didn’t know anything about Christ,” Anthony said. “I didn’t even know how to pray. I was so broken and hurt at that time. I went to Victory Outreach, and I prayed to God from my heart. I told him, ‘I need family. I need some kind of support around me. I feel so alone.’ I cried inside the church. Right then and there, God answered my prayer, on the spot.”

Anthony ran into some cousins, as well as an uncle. “God literally started putting family in my life. I went up to them, spoke my heart, and told them what was going on in my life, about my addiction. I don’t know why I did that. Maybe the Holy Spirit was in me.”

One of Anthony’s cousins talked to the pastor and got Anthony into the men’s home at Victory Outreach. “I started reading the word and praying. I got a job. Everything was nice and beautiful and peaceful. I was sober, and it was amazing. But I wasn’t ready. I had one foot with God, one foot in the world. I was young, ignorant and selfish.”

Anthony left the program. He relapsed and his addiction worsened. He started showing up to work hungover or drunk. He spent time in jail. “I became an embarrassment,” Anthony said. “I started wondering, ‘What is the point of life?’ I started hurting myself, cutting myself because I was depressed. I never thought alcohol would be depressing. I’d heard it before, but I never believed it. I’ve been in and out of psychiatric hospitals, in and out of jail, but I wouldn’t learn. I’d think, ‘What’s next, death? Maybe that’s what I need.”

Anthony went to Ventura where he has some family, but they weren’t happy to see him still in his addiction. Discouraged, Anthony went to the local Walmart and called 911, telling the operator he had a gun and intended to hurt people. “I was done,” Anthony said. “I didn’t feel like I had any other options. Eight cops showed up. I wanted suicide by cop. Luckily they didn’t shoot me and kill me. They arrested me for drunk in public.”

Anthony’s mother told him about the rescue mission. “I was so tired, physically, mentally, spiritually. I’ve been to hell and back. I got here in April and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Nothing has worked for me. But being in this house is working for me.”

Anthony said the mission’s classes have helped him with some anger issues he also carries. “Normally I bottle up my feelings and then I explode like a volcano,” he said. “Here I can open up. We talk a lot about Christ and what he’s done for us. We are sinners. We don’t deserve anything. But by his love and grace and mercy, he’s chosen us. There’s a plan and there’s a purpose.

“I feel the Holy Spirit in me at times. When I read scripture or go to church, whatever I’m facing that day from my past, it’s like God’s talking to me in a way. He’s giving me the answers.”

After “10 years of miserable hell,” Anthony said he’s taking it one day at a time. “That’s all I can do.”


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