The goodness of God can be seen all throughout Evan’s life. Evan was raised alongside his older sister in Fallbrook, Calif. by two loving and committed parents. “I had a great childhood, and my parents are still married to this day, and school was great,” Evan said, adding that he has good memories of growing up playing water polo and hanging out with friends.
Evan was dedicated to school and his sports. He had met his son’s mom at 15, and at 20 they married. “I never drank or did anything like that growing up, but the weight of being a young father and husband and in debt was too much, so I turned to alcohol to numb it all,” he said.
The debt came from gambling, something Evan and his wife had started doing together. “We would gamble, lose all the money, then grab a bottle and head home,” Evan said. This pattern went on for years. “I can’t really not connect them (drinking and gambling) because they are so tied together.” Gambling, drinking, and financial troubles took a toll on the relationship and the two divorced.
Evan stopped gambling, however, the addiction to drinking remained. Evan’s addiction also affected his relationship with his parents. “Addiction runs throughout our family and my parents could see it happening to me,” Evan said. “They had to keep their distance to protect our relationship because they could not support my lifestyle.”
By age 27, Evan’s drinking intensified, and he started smoking marijuana daily. “Being away from my son made me depressed and I didn’t want to feel anymore, so I drank and smoked more,” he said.
Evan saw his situation escalating to homelessness. He knew he needed a place to find freedom from his addictions. His Uncle Leonard volunteered at the Mission and knew they could help. Within a few days, Evan found himself in a warm bed, with food, and on the road to restoration. “Before coming here I didn’t know where I would go if I died, but now I’ve fully surrendered to God,” he said.
Throughout the years Evan had hopes of restoration with his family. “The program has done everything I have prayed for,” he said. “I am at peace with my family. My ex-wife and I can fully love our son with no bickering or fighting. We are at the best place we have ever been.”
God’s goodness can also be seen in the guidance and support Evan has found in the staff. “Evan came in scared, hopeless, full of shame,” said Chaplain Luke Johnson. “In his time here, God has transformed him into a man of hope and holiness. He’s eating up God’s word, praying, leading in the house, and has seen God quickly mend his relationship with his family and son.”
Evan is also grateful for the relationships he’s cultivated. “The program has given me friendships with the other guys—they encourage me. Seeing other men turn their lives around and get their families back is one of my favorite parts of being here.”
The future is exciting for Evan and is giving him the freedom to think about life beyond drinking. “I am at peace and truly happy,” he said. “God has entered my heart and I am now able to start dreaming and not limit myself.”