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Rickie looks to squash for good his battle with drinking
After Rickie finished high school in Lompoc and got his music degree from community college, he married, and the couple moved to New Orleans. Rickie’s wife was earning her law degree and he got a job at Tulane. The couple had three kids. But in 1998, Rickie and his wife divorced. “Going through that, it was a traumatic thing for me,” he said. “That played a part in my issues with alcohol. I’ve learned a lot more since.”
Rickie’s dad was in the Air Force. Aside from spending five years in Spain, for much of his childhood they were stationed at Vandenberg or in the area. So after the divorce, Rickie came back to California. He got involved with another woman, and they had two kids together. But his drinking continued to be an issue.
Rickie went through a program in 2002. “I had success when I stuck to the things I learned there, but I didn’t,” he said. “Then I ended up going to jail for DUI. I had three of them within a year. The car wasn’t moving, but I was in it and that was enough. I wanted to go to a program, but the court insisted that they wanted me to be punished. I went to jail for 11 months.”
Rickie had already applied to the Mission’s Life Recovery Program and was accepted. When he finished his sentence, he decided to still attend. “I’m here at the Mission trying to change things in my life. I’m working on myself. I’m feeling strong and confident in my sobriety.”
Growing up, Rickie’s dad was Catholic and his mom was Baptist, so he had experience with religion. “Being here and learning what I am, it is giving me the opportunity to identify with a God of understanding,” he said. “I’m having a more personal relationship with God. It’s a lot of intense study and devotion.”
Rickie is at a stage now where he’s starting to reflect on issues in his life in which he needs closure. “I have a chance here to identify these things that have caused me to want to medicate, and find some peace,” he said. “I’m getting some resolution, or at least I’m working to get to the place where these issues are more livable and I can handle them better. “I have a family that I love, a girl who cares about me,” he said. “I could’ve gone home if I wanted to. But I couldn’t go back to who I was. I’m reassured by the treatment I’m getting.”
Rickie says he hasn’t spoken with his sons in a year and a half. “The two daughters I have, I tell them I love them and they know I have problems and I’m doing things to make myself better,” he said. “My daughters are my bridges to my sons right now. I want a better, more consistent relationship with all my children. The main thing is to be strong so I don’t find myself in a situation where I’m self-medicating.”
Rickie had a music ministry in the past and hopes to get involved with something similar again. “I’ve been blessed spiritually with musical talents,” Rickie said. “I have a church home in Lompoc, and I’ve been feeling it on my heart to restart that. “I want to stay connected. If I could be that example, in terms of helping that next guy—I just want to share the things that are developing in me. I’m so appreciative of the program here and what’s being done. I’m getting so much out of it, and I know that.”
Rickie said he’s been “blessed with health, and doesn’t like a lot of idle time.” He has worked part time for Home Depot in the past and would welcome that again. He has some student loans he’d like to take care of, and is also interested in becoming a counselor.
“I feel like I could be beneficial to someone going through the problems I’ve experienced,” he said. “I’m being given the opportunity to secure my future, the years I have left in this world. What I’m being given—that spiritual foundation—it’s strengthening me. It’s making my life much more secure and positive, and allowing me to be in service to others as well.”
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