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When Tony first arrived at the Rescue Mission, the biggest burden he carried was regret. “The most hurtful thing about being an addict and an alcoholic was how can I make up for my past? How can I make up for my past mistakes and failures?” Tony shares.

As a child, Tony just wanted to belong, especially after his parents’ divorce. So he began spending time at a friend’s house, including time with his friend’s father, looking to fill the void his own father left behind. But then that father allowed them to smoke weed and drink beer.

But that wasn’t enough, he still felt empty and alone. And his drug and alcohol problem got worse. He bounced around between his mom and dad, and went in and out of rehabs. So he joined the military, hoping that he would find his way in life.

“The military gave me a foundation and helped me grow as a man,” Tony says. While deployed, he became accustomed to the constant adrenaline rush and the excitement of having a purpose. But when he was eventually discharged, Tony found he was lost without the strict discipline of the military. And the overwhelming void of not belonging once again filled his mind and controlled his emotions.

To cope with it all, he started using meth and before long became homeless.

But there was one ray of hope in his life. He became a dad to a beautiful girl. So he came to Orange County Rescue Mission hoping to put the pieces of his broken life back together.  “I realized I have to take care of my daughter,” he says. “I’m not just destroying my life, I’m destroying my daughter’s life.”

At the Mission, Tony began to heal through the compassion and guidance of staff. He also found the unconditional love of God, which filled his soul with so much gratitude he didn’t need anything else. Not drugs. Not alcohol.

Tony shares: “I never thought after all the wreckage I’ve done, that it would be possible to recover from all that. But knowing that He loves me . . . it’s a relief. I can surrender. He loves me no matter what.”

Tony is so thankful to have his life back.  Today, he lives in an apartment at Tustin Veterans Outpost with a place for his daughter to sleep and a kitchen to cook her meals. Best of all, he has a positive, new direction for his life, free from the drugs and alcohol that used to control him.

Thank you for transforming Tony’s life with hope!

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