Forced to grow up too fast, Richard says, “The core of my being was just figuring out how to survive.” At five years old, Richard was kidnapped by his mother and her boyfriend – a pedophile. Hunting them down, Richard’s father beat the boyfriend to death.
“My mother left me at a bus stop,” Richard remembers. Abandoned and alone, Richard and his siblings ate out of garbage cans until the police found them. Their parents were imprisoned, and the children bounced around in foster homes – they were eventually split up.
At just 17, Richard moved out on his own, seeking escape from this instability. He worked as an artist while also climbing the ladder in the restaurant world, becoming a chef in Manhattan.
Desiring a family of his own – and the stability he imagined would come with it – Richard got engaged. But when he discovered his fiancée had cheated on him, the devastation crushed him. He began drinking heavily to cope with his pain.
Struggling daily with the temptation to drink, one day Richard prayed, “Lord, give me some sort of break from life, some way to get myself together.” The next day – Christmas – he heard about the Mission.
Today a graduate of our sister Mission’s Life Change Program, Richard shares, “I’ve been relieved of my desire to drink.” Beyond recovery, Richard says, “The Mission gave me a family, a family of brothers in Christ.”
After graduating, Richard completed the Mission’s internship program, serving in the kitchen, and receiving leadership training. As an intern, Richard also enjoyed opportunities to mentor other men and encourage them along in their own journeys of recovery.
Recently accepted to college, Richard hopes to become an art therapist in the future. “The Mission provided the stability I needed,” he says. “If you put the work in, the Mission will change your life.”
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