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I navigated life with emotional demons. 


I guess everybody has their own level of trauma. 


Mine began in my childhood. I endured constant mental, physical, and emotional abuse from my family, who were all drug addicts. In my home, drug use was everyday life. I started using drugs when I was a little kid. Real little.


Everyone around me used drugs and drank. If people didn't do that, I thought something was wrong with them. That was the world I lived in. I didn't know any church-going people, people who wanted to help others, or people who were unselfish. I didn't know a single person like that. Everybody was out for themselves and didn’t mind who they stepped on to get it. 


So, I didn’t know that an alternative to that life existed. 


When my father died in my early 20s, I didn’t have the right toolkit to cope. Where could I even begin? I dug deeper into what I knew to alter my emotions. So, eventually, the drug was thinking for me. I was 100% addicted to opiates. It was the only thing that mattered. The drug was more important than anything in life—down to my own life. I was in the worst state I’ve ever been in, and I didn't feel that I had any reason to be on this earth. 


I attempted suicide many, many times. 


I failed every time.


You can never feel like more of a failure until you fail at killing yourself. I mean, that just magnified that low feeling. I lost myself deeper and deeper into substance abuse. I didn’t want to feel anything. Being numb felt better than navigating any emotion or thought. 


But I’m still here. 





I thank God every day I wasn’t successful. God had bigger plans for me than I ever had for myself.


Everything came to a head one Friday in 2016.


On that September 16 day, as I was rolling myself off a park bench I was sleeping on—I was homeless, jobless, penniless, addicted to drugs, had my three kids taken away from me and placed in foster care, lost my girlfriend at the time...I had nothing—I prayed to God in a way that I never had before. I didn’t really know what to say, but I knew I was done living that way. I told Him if He helped me out of the mess I was, I would do whatever He asked.


I then hopped on the train and found my way to a rehab center, where I spent four days on methadone to help me come off the heroin. 


On September 21, the facility offered me the last dosage of methadone.


I refused it. 


It was almost like a challenge to myself because I figured God had done so much for me already. He had kept me alive to see the beginning of what was looking more and more like a new chapter, so I was going to use Him as my recovery from that point on. 


And it felt like He was really in every move I made from that point. 


Shortly after that, I started attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings. At one meeting, I met a church-going, godly woman. She told me about a church program looking for men to unload delivery trucks for their food pantry and soup kitchen services. She said we’d be paid a stipend and provided free lunch. 


At the time, I was still piecing my life together. I didn't have a job; I didn't have anything. And it may sound silly now, but I really needed money for laundry. I remembered, too, that I had made a promise to God that I’d do whatever he asked of me. 


So, it seemed like the perfect idea. 


A divine opportunity. 

That's what led me to the Men’s Transition Program. It was more than I expected. In addition to the work we were doing, there was also a Relapse Prevention Program—that was the other condition of being there. We had to sit down as a group and talk. That was the most uplifting part of being there. It was similar to NA meetings but with many resources, from emotional support and job training to free legal advice. And because it was so structured, it also helped open my eyes to the different ways I could navigate my recovery.


After being there for a few months, I wanted to see the otherside of the food pantry and soup kitchen. I had been part of the food programs before as a guest, so I wanted the opportunity to give back as a volunteer.  


When I went one day, I was introduced to a woman named Emily Farley who owned a bakery and was hiring people from different transitional programs. 


Another divine opportunity. 


She gave me a job. I worked three days a week in her bakery.


I didn't make a ton of money, but it was enough. It was a step up. I went from being homeless and looking for scraps to working two jobs. Soon, I was in a transition home, and after saving enough money, I was able to rent my own room. 


Now, I was able to focus on fighting to get my kids back. I began by looking for a full-time job so I could rent my own place and have enough income and benefits to support them. My brothers at the Men’s Transition Program pushed me to take a test for a unionized job at an HVAC company.


I passed. I now had a good, stable job complete with higher pay and health benefits. I was able to buy a car and get an apartment. 


Everything was falling into place.


With my life finally piecing together, I became more and more emotionally available. After a year in recovery, in 2017, I reconnected with a woman I had known since childhood. We hit it off instantly, and we've been together ever since. We’re now married.















At the same time, the legal team at the Father’s Heart Ministries was helping me navigate the foster care system to get my kids back with me. Their mother struggles, and still struggles, with addiction, so if I didn’t do something, their lives would forever be altered in a way that I could never forgive myself.


I kept on with the legal process and did all I was asked to do.


In 2020, I was granted custody of my three sons, who are now 16, 10, and 9. They’ve been with me since and now live with me, my wife, and her daughter (my daughter), who’s 14.









With everything falling into place, I knew I needed to make more money for my family. I took a test to work for the city of New York and passed.


Today, I am a sewage treatment worker for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. 


Soon, I might be signing a contract on a new home for us. 


This journey upward has been fueled by God. He's guided me from the moment I surrendered and said I was tired of being tired. And the process all started at the men’s program. 


Since that September 16 day in 2016, I've never used a mind mood-altering substance ever again. 


The Father's Heart Ministries opened every possible door that has helped me in every way. God used them to change my life. They taught me how to work with others. They taught me how to take care of myself. They taught me that the world was bigger than my problems. They taught me to love me again.


The men's program, especially, really brought all of us men closer to the Lord. It felt more like family. We prayed together. We worked together. We ate together. We really built a tight bond and camaraderie. So much so that we all decided that we would get baptized together. It was spiritually enlightening, like God was speaking to and through us. And through helping each other and being there for each other, we were helping ourselves. 








The program steered me in all the right directions. 


But what has been most powerful in my journey was the symbolism of how God revealed Himself to me and healed me in such a unique way.


Since I was young, my biggest issue—the thing that held me back for so long—was my painful relationship with my father. Mainly because of all the abuse I endured with him. 


I felt unloved and unseen, and I never really forgave him. I carried that with me since childhood. 


When I rolled off that park bench that day and connected with God, I also heard Him tell me that I needed to forgive my dad. I heard Him tell me that I had to let that burden go; it was the thing that was weighing me down—dragging my life further into pits I never belonged in. 


And then I showed up at the Men’s Transition Program, and lo and behold, what's the name of the church?


The Father’s Heart Ministries. 


It so touched me. It made me realize that God was always there. He was the Father I always needed and always had. 

I walked into The Father’s Heart Ministries' building, learned that the slogan was: “Daddy’s not angry, you can come home," and I never left.


This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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