As a child, when you are treated differently by your parents than your siblings are, you can feel it. And this “black sheep” feeling that Daniel had from his own family as a pre-adolescent was enough to cause him to act out. It wasn’t that he was treated badly, but he didn’t get the attention and love that his other brothers seemed to get. And he was painfully aware. He started acting out in small ways, short-temper, fussing, then he started breaking things. Purposefully targeting objects that his family members cherished, it wasn’t long before his parents felt that they had to act, however, their form of discipline wasn’t the usual route of a grounding or even physical discipline. Instead, he was sent to a boys’ home at age 13. He was left there for about a year, and then he returned home. But the neglect and the feeling of difference was still there. To wipe it out, he turned to drugs at age 16, eventually starting on heroine, opiates, and oxycontin. He got into more trouble and at age 18 he was sent to another boys’ home.
Although his streak of trouble was far from over, he was able to get his GED while he was at this ranch. He stayed as long as he was able, but at 21, he aged out of the program. He had no where to go, no one to turn to, and any bridges that he did have left were all burned while he was deep in his addiction. With no idea what to do next, he took off walking and hitchhiked across the country, from Kentucky to Seattle and everywhere in between. While he struggled with the regret and shame of the things he had done while he was in addiction, the drugs had a hold on him, and they wouldn’t let go. He was in and out of detox centers and rehabilitation facilities, trying his best to get a hold of sobriety, but nothing seemed to stick. The cravings were just more than he could handle.
Then he found Gospel Rescue Mission. He could tell right away that this place was different. He checked in, got cleaned up, and he’s been sober since December now. He’s finally past the cravings, and since we are a clean and sober living facility, it’s easier for him to stay clean without being triggered by others who are obviously using. He developed a strong relationship with God and relies on Him to better himself. While he’s worked some odd jobs and cash jobs here and there, he is eager to get to work. “I like staying busy because it’s less time that I have to think about things.”
His ultimate goal? Right now, it’s baby steps for Daniel. He wants to be in a place of his own, supporting himself, and paying his own way. He dreams of one day helping others who have walked his same path as a peer recovery support counselor. And while these things are important, most importantly, he has a 3-year-old son that he misses greatly and wants to reconnect with. He’s on good terms with his son’s mother, and he knows that with his faith in God and some hard work, he can make that vision a reality.