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Rich Explores A Growing Relationship With God

Oct 31, 2018

After graduating high school in Santa Maria, Rich and his girlfriend moved to the Central Valley, where he got a job welding in the oil fields. After a couple years, they married and had a daughter. “The marriage lasted 10 years,” Rich said. “I started drinking at the time—I’d have a beer or two and work in the garage. She wanted me to have a better career, but welding was what I liked to do. We both kind of knew we had done it all too young.”

A year after his divorce, Rich met someone else and they had a son. “That didn’t last too long because of the drinking on my part,” Rich said. “It would always end up in an argument. I just couldn’t keep a relationship the way the next door neighbor could—nice and calm. I just couldn’t do it. I just had to have a beer when I came home. It was one or two, and then it was more.

“After all that, I just stayed by myself,” Rich added. “I just became isolated and thought I was better off on my own. I never bought another house. I just kind of drifted from place to place. I’d just carry my stuff with me wherever I went, thinking, ‘Oh, it’ll get better next year.’”

As Rich isolated himself more, his drinking increased. “I’d have some before going to work—that’s how bad it got,” he said. “I just lost focus, lost sight. I’d think, ‘If I get a DUI, I could lose everything.’ And that’s exactly what happened. It was a big mistake.”

Without work or a license, Rich sunk into a depression. “I wanted to drink more than ever,” he said. “It was just screwing my mind up because all I wanted to do was go to work every morning. I just gave up. I lost my mind and went to a hospital. They asked if I was alright, and I said, ‘No. I just don’t want to live anymore.’”

After a couple weeks in the hospital, Rich got to the mission on July 1. “I’m trying to regroup, and they are helping me change my thinking and get back on track,” he said. “The program has helped me want to live a different a life, a calmer life, where you approach things differently.”

Rich is still exploring his relationship with God. “I wasn’t raised up in a church setting—it just wasn’t part of our lives,” he said. “About half of the guys here grew up in a Christian life—they know the bible without even opening it, where I’m still fumbling through it. I’m a new Christian. I’m trying to get the Holy Spirit inside of me.”

Rich’s dad, who is in his late-80s, is struggling with his health. “All this just came at a bad time—he’s ill, and I don’t have my life together,” Rich said. “I feel like I’m useless right now. But that’s how God works. Maybe he is getting me better so when I do go see my dad, he’ll be able to see it in me. He’ll see I’ve finally changed.”

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