“I CAN STILL REMEMBER THE DRIVE TO THE CHURCH. I WAS HIGH OFF HEROIN DRINKING A CAN OF COCONUT WATER.”
Hello, my name is Thomas. I am 35 years old and was born in South Korea. My mother and aunt adopted my brother and me when I was four and my brother was two. I have a type of dwarfism called Achondroplasia. My childhood was in a loving caring Christian setting. I did well in school until I got to the 7th grade. Unfortunately, as I entered high school, education wasn’t as important to me anymore. Making friends and trying to fit in where my main focus. I starting skipping classes and running with the wrong type of people drinking, smoking, doing drugs. I barely graduated high school.
I took some community college classes but never got a degree. I threw away my early 20’s by drinking, going to clubs, raves, and house parties. I did manage to get an entry-level position as a banquet cook at the Portola Hotel and Spa. My mother and my aunt finally thought I got some sense in my life so they asked me to get my own place. I had saved a little money and was employed full time with a respectful company that offered health benefits, a 401K, and vacation time. In six months I drained my savings account and was in credit card debt while still working full time.
This is when it started getting really bad. A former friend was selling Vicoden and offered me one. That one pill changed my life for the worse. I was hooked. It’s true what they say “One is too many and a thousand is never enough.”As my addiction got worse I needed stronger pills and started snorting 30 mg Oxycontin. Maintaining my full-time job and hiding my addiction was a daily battle. It all came to a head one day when I found an iPhone in the break room of the hotel I was working at and took it home thinking I could sell it. That night the cops came to my house with the owner of the iPhone and asked for it back. The police officer said that I was lucky that the owner didn’t want to press charges or I would go to jail. A few days later at work, the human resource department called me to the office and said that a staff member notified them about the iPhone and because I didn’t turn it in when I found it they had to let me go due to theft. Losing my job of eight years I fell harder into addiction. Getting pills was becoming more difficult so I switched to smoking black tar heroin on tin foil. At this time I was living with my brother rent-free but with no job.
One day I figured out his debit card pin number and that night stole it to take money from his ATM account. He found out because the bank called him and sent him pictures of me pulling out the money out. He was going to kick me out but didn’t, which should have been a wakeup call but it wasn’t. I was later caught by the apartment manager smoking heroin in the Laundromat and was asked to leave the complex. Homeless and living in my car, I started scamming EBT cards by selling them for cash to random people and canceling them so I could re-sell them. I parked my car in front of my parents’ house because that’s where I felt safe. It crushed them seeing me in their front yard knowing that I needed help and only God would be the answer. They prayed every night for me. One day my mom ran across the Bridge Ministry website. She printed the application and asked me to fill it out and see Mike Casey. I can still remember the drive to the church. I was high off heroin drinking a can of coconut water.
Sitting in front of Mike Casey in his office, he asked me if I was high. I told him yes. He then asked me to go home to detox and come back in a week. At this moment I heard a voice in my head saying, “Tell Mike to call your mom and have Mike tell your mom the same thing he’s telling you.” Later on I knew it was God telling me this because God knew that if I had left Mike’s office that day I wouldn’t have come back. Mike told my mother the same thing he told me and sent me on my way. The rest was up to me to follow through with.
My mother locked me in my room for a week. I can honestly say that it was the worst week of my life vomiting, sweating, and feeling like the whole world was falling on my face, but I did the week sober and came back with a clean urine test for Mike. I successfully completed the year program by participating in church activities, volunteering at the Second Chance Thrift Store, and helping out at the church’s Grille restaurant as a cook. Staying busy and looking towards God for my spiritual faith and daily guidance has been the key to my sobriety to this day. The Bridge Program is a wonderful place to grow in your sobriety and faith in the Lord. With that being said I am happy that I have three and a half years sobriety and am working two jobs – one as a waiter at the From Scratch restaurant and the second paid position at the Second Chance Thrift Store. With the Lord’s blessing and that of the Bridge, I’m sticking around because this works. “Trust in God and all things are possible.”