Scott graduates after ‘hardest 10 months’ of his life

Scott is honest about his alcohol abuse, admitting it started when he was just a kid. “Alcohol was my first love,” said. “I never drank to drink. I drank to get drunk. It was a way of life for me.”

He earned a scholarship to play football in college, but lost it due to his drinking. He worked in sales, first in the mortgage business, then in the healthcare industry. “Even though I didn’t have a college education, I got this career, and I was flying all over the country consulting for healthcare facilities,” Scott said. “I started drinking like crazy to destress.”

Scott’s drinking cost him his first marriage. When he met a woman in Philadelphia, Scott moved there and worked for General Electric for a bit before getting married again. The couple returned to California. “I had a decent amount of success, and my wife too,” Scott said. “I was doing well enough career-wise that after I relapsed again, things didn’t all go away right away. I tried to get sober while I worked. I was fired and changed jobs a number of times.”

Scott and his wife divorced five years ago after 17 years of marriage. “I started this cycle of going to rehab, staying clean for a few months, and relapsing. I was living in rehabs, sober living facilities, relatives’ house—I haven’t technically had a home in seven years. In December 2018 I burned all my bridges and moved into my truck.

“Methamphetamine was my primary drug of choice and I noticed my health declining,” Scott said. “I’d wake up and my hands would be stiff, and my toes would be yellow and purple. I was having to find a place to shower before work—I only had the energy for two each week. I’d hustle at gas stations, telling people I left my wallet and needed a couple dollars for gas. I’m an articulate guy, so no one thought I was loaded. At lunch, I’d try to hustle a couple dollars to get something to eat. One of those lunches, I was sitting in my truck, trying to get something down, smoking meth, when Pastor Ed called.”

Ed Carey, retired pastor at Hope International, had long been a mentor of Scott’s, and was aware of his struggle with drugs and alcohol. “He told me about this program that was going to open. He said, ‘It’s long-term. After that, they help you find a job and get back on your feet. But it’s 10 months. You have to commit.’ I just broke down crying. He said, ‘Scott, I will never give up on you.’ I just heard the voice of God in his.”

Scott was the first client at Renewed Hope, the mission’s men’s program. He arrived last August. “In my 55 years, it’s been the hardest 10 months of my life,” Scott said. “It has not been easy for me to change. I’m not one of those miracle stories where God hits you with a white light and everything is better. I had to fight my way through. I’ve tried the patience of a lot of guys here, and they’ve been gracious and loving and patient.”

As the program progressed, Scott had some realizations. “There was a paradigm shift for me. I started to accept that the drug and alcohol use was more of a sin issue than I gave it credit for. I was of the mindset that I was a victim of a disease. And while I still believe it’s a physiological issue too, at the end of the day, I’m responsible for my actions.”

Scott also started recognizing some deep-seated wounds and got counseling to work through them. “I started learning how to not respond out of woundedness. Everybody here has been very loving. I’m in a place where I’m learning how to accept and receive love, which is not something I do well. I’m very grateful, truly.”

Scott is graduating this month, and is looking for work while in the transitional living program. Scott’s mother has passed, but he says his relationship with his father is as good as it’s ever been. “My wife is gone—there is no hope for restoring that relationship, but I have an 11-year-old daughter,” Scott said. “I pray every day and every night that God allows me to start talking to her sometime soon. That’s been the hardest part.

“My hope is that people understand that a program like this is more than just men getting clean and sober and putting their lives back together. It’s about the families that are attached, it’s about kids getting to have their dads back in their lives. It astounds me how there aren’t more of these places