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Miguel aims to be a good example to his 4 children

Miguel said his girlfriend first caught his eye when she moved into his neighborhood when they were teenagers. They started dating when he was 16, and a year later, she was pregnant. “It was hard,” he said. “I didn’t have much time to have fun. I dropped out of high school and started working. I’ve been working most of my life. My mom and dad supported us.”

Miguel’s girlfriend and the baby moved in with him and his family, which included his parents and younger brothers, in their North Hollywood home. Miguel worked different jobs, mostly construction. They had another child four years later. It wasn’t until he was 26 that he got caught up in drugs. “She never did any of that stuff,” Miguel said of his children’s mother. “She went to school, got her cosmetology license and started working—she’s been working ever since.”

Miguel, now 47, has not used consistently, relapsing here and there. “I’ve used maybe five years total,” he said. “I’ve relapsed, then gotten better, then relapsed, over and over. The periods were short though—three months max. It would be a month here or there and then I’d be sober for a year.”

Miguel said each relapse started off the same—with alcohol. “I would think, ‘I should be able to have a beer. I should be fine. I should be able to just have it, set it down, and go on with my life.’ But I end up getting drunk and going for the drugs. The relapses are always the same.”

Miguel’s most recent relapse resulted in trouble with the law. “I got off work and someone offered me a beer,” he said. “I drank, and I ended up getting high again. I didn’t go home for a couple of days. I went to my dad’s house—he has a restraining order against me because of drugs in the past.

“They are fine with me staying there as long as I’m not on anything. But when I was there, they could tell. They got upset and called the police. I got arrested and went to jail.”

Miguel had tried programs in the past, but says this time is different. “I don’t want to do this anymore,” he said. “It’s hard to explain. Every time I’ve failed, I’ve been so mad. How can it be so impossible for me?”

Miguel reached out to the chaplain in jail and sought help. He arrived at the Mission on May 17. “I really like it,” Miguel said. They are supporting me and helping me through this. We are taught from the bible in all the classes we do, and I believe in that. I haven’t been able to do this thing on my own. I believe God can help me. They are teaching me things from the bible, and the bible is from God. My main goal is to learn more about God and to get closer to him.”

Miguel is still with his children’s mother. Their kids are 5, 12, 26 and 30. His adult children come and see him and he talks to the others on the phone. “I want to be a good example,” Miguel said. “I want to be there to teach them more about God. I want to be as the bible describes a good father and a good husband and I want my family to see that in me.”

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