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Pedro reconnects with his children after finding hope to change
Pedro was only 8 years old when he started working full time selling tortillas with his mom in order to support his family, dropping out of school completely when he was in sixth grade. He was raised by his mother in Honduras and is the oldest of five sons. “My father left the home and I felt like I had to step up to the plate and help my mom care for my younger siblings,” said Pedro. “My mom later got married to my stepfather who was an alcoholic. He was a hard worker but he drank every day.”
Pedro himself started drinking when he was 17. By 24, he was an alcoholic. “It ruined my life,” he said. “It made me make bad decisions and mistakes.”
Pedro joined the Army in Honduras and served for four years. “I saw so many bad things in the Army,” he said. Pedro began smoking marijuana before coming to the United States when he was 27. “It was hard for me when I first came to the U.S. I had no family or friends. I felt lonely. I met some friends and started using cocaine with them.”
The cocaine use turned to crack before Pedro got sober for several years. But when he learned his father was in Los Angeles and relocated there, he started using again. He met his children’s mother—they have a 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. “She would plead with me to stop using and get sober so that I could be with the kids,” he said. “I left her and ended up living on the streets for 1 1/2 years, using more and more.”
On the streets is where Pedro was introduced to crystal meth. “That really destroyed my life,” he said. “I got so sick using that stuff. I started eating from trash containers. I was picking up cans and bottles in the street for money.”
In September 2021, Pedro met Hayden, Renewed Hope’s assistant program manager, at the shower set up in Hollywood. “Hayden asked me if I wanted to change my life,” he said. “I told Hayden, ‘I don’t have faith or hope. I don’t have any opportunities in my life.’ Hayden said, ‘Yes, you do. We can give you the opportunity to get off of the streets and off of drugs.’ That day I didn’t get help, but Hayden planted that seed in my heart.”
Pedro returned to the shower program a few more times and was always encouraged by Hayden. “On October 2, 2021, I was working across the street from the showers,” Pedro said. “Something in my heart told me that it was time that I made the decision to get sober. It was that voice inside of me. I decided to come.”
When Pedro first arrived at Renewed Hope, he had some challenges. “I was scared,” he said. “I didn’t think anyone in the world understood me and what I was going through. I didn’t talk to anyone. Little by little, everything started changing in me. I saw the love and support in this place. Now, I feel like these are my brothers.”
He has also been enjoying Bible study. “God is within me now,” he said. He has been working with a counselor and feels healthier than ever. “This is a beautiful place. Not only do they help me physically, but they also help me grow spiritually. It’s amazing and it’s a big change in my life.”
Pedro helps out at the same shower program where he met Hayden, and loves encouraging others to give the program a try. “I tell them there is hope and that they can change,” he said.
Pedro shared that while in the program, he received a call from his children’s mother, asking if he finally wanted to see his children again. They came to visit, and now on Saturdays, he enjoys doing outreach with them, distributing food boxes to those in need. “We enjoy this time together,” he said. “Helping others, it’s a part of my recovery. Its helping to heal the wounds I had open from my childhood.”
Pedro has been in the program for six months. He is looking forward to graduating and then getting back to work so he can help support his children. He wants to move into the transitional living program and go back to school to study air conditioning and commercial electricity. “I want to be an example to my children and show them that it’s never too late to go back to school. I want them to know that they can do anything.”
The last two years, Pedro’s family has stayed away from me because of his addiction. “They told me that I didn’t want to change and that there was nothing they can do,” he said. “When they found out that I was in a program they laughed and said I wasn’t going to make it. I know they don’t trust me because of my past. … I hope to have a good relationship with my father one day. I hope to hear that he is proud of me.”
Meanwhile, Pedro has been spending time with his children. “I got a pass over Christmas to see them in LA. They were so proud of me and hugged me because they saw my change.” He spent New Year’s in church with his children. “My son is proud of me. He said, ‘Dad, I like the work that you do, the work that we do together on Saturdays with the church—when we give out food to the people that don’t have enough.’ He made me cry. They push me to continue. This program has changed my life. I have a new hope here. I didn’t have hope before.”
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