Even though Andrew knew his father, the two did not have a relationship, leaving Andrew’s mother as his No. 1 supporter. They had a great relationship “My mom is my best friend,” he said. “She never gave up on me.”
When Andrew was 12, he reached out to his father in an effort to have a relationship. It was during a holiday visit that his dad provided alcohol for him and his stepbrother. “I remember coming back from my dad’s and asking friends about weed and drinking,” Andrew said. “I got weed from a friend’s brother and (I started getting into drugs) after that.”
Andrew’s outgoing personality drew attention, and he was eager to try new things. “I was always a troublemaker, but I did more foolish things at the new school because there was more freedom there,” he said.
Andrew’s drugs of choice became more dangerous. He went from smoking weed to using psychedelics and methamphetamine. He was suspended often for drugs and ultimately expelled. He moved to a specialized school where he was able to graduate, but his drug use continued. After high school, Andrew found heroin and fentanyl.
Throughout his early 20s, Andrew’s addiction overtook his life. “I could get a job, but couldn’t keep it. I just wanted the money to buy more drugs. I stole from my mom to buy drugs and sold her belongings to buy drugs.
“I lost my mom’s trust, but I couldn’t stop doing it (drugs).” Andrew would be gone for days living on the street and then go back to his mom’s house only to shower, and sleep. “It devastated her. She blamed herself, but it wasn’t her fault. I had just decided that drugs were more important than having a real life.”
One night, Andrew’s mom found him overdosed on the bathroom floor in an attempted suicide. She pleaded with him to get help. “My mom was yelling at me saying I have to go to rehab and I said, ‘OK,’ even though I was still fighting it,” he said. They called Hayden Roush, program manager at Renewed Hope, and Hayden said they had room for him.
The program has given Andrew respect for life. “I never thought I’d make it to 27. If God has kept me alive until now, then that means I have a purpose,” he said.
The Bible studies are helping Andrew learn about God. “I know I am here for a reason, and the only way to know that reason is if I listen to God,” he said. The program has provided space for Andrew to “block out the noise of the world and just focus on growth and sobriety.”
Andrew remembers going to church with his mom growing up, but never knew Jesus. A month into the program, Andrew started connecting with God. “I started to accept that there is a heavenly father who loves me unconditionally and that He has created me in His image, so I need to be like Him,” he said. Andrew has been baptized along with many of the other men in the program.
Andrew is also learning the power of forgiveness. “I am learning to forgive myself because God has forgiven me,” he said. “Who am I to say I am better than God and not forgive myself or others?” With the help of the program, Andrew is not letting his addictions define him either. “These things that I have done are not who I am, because I am a child of God and I have value. But they are part of my testimony and the journey that I am on.”
Andrew is excited to continue his recovery at Renewed Hope and is thankful that the staff has made him feel loved. “I want everyone to know that Jesus is my Lord and Savior!”