Daniel is sober, newly married, 5 years after graduation

Daniel with his new wife.

Daniel with his new wife.

Growing up, Daniel’s father traveled a lot for work, which contributed to his parents’ divorce.

Daniel’s mother remarried when he was 7 and he didn’t have a relationship with his biological father for several years. But in junior high school, after getting into a fist fight, his mother sent him to live with his father. “I was just excited to be reunited with my dad,” Daniel said. “I missed him for all those years that I didn’t get to see him.”

Things weren’t always rosy, though. “I played sports for my school while I lived with my dad but he would drop me off at games and he would go to a bar.”

Daniel’s father is now sick as a result of his alcoholism. “I am working on my relationship with my dad because he is getting older,” Daniel said. “As I get older, I understand that it was the alcoholism—that wasn’t really him. It was his addiction.”

At 17, he was arrested for snatching purses. The police also found clothes in his car that Daniel had stolen from the mall at the time of his arrest.

“I ended up going to prison for three years for stealing a purse with just $40 in it,” he said.

Daniel completed his sentence and was released 10 days before his 21st birthday. Soon after, he married. They were together for 23 years and had two children together. But things took a turn when a health issue necessitated painkillers. “I was prescribed Tylenol with codeine, and I loved the feeling,” he said. “That was the start of my 16-year pill addiction. That was a super hard battle.”

Daniel started feeling ill whenever he ran out of pills, which led to him trying meth, which he used for four years.

“The addiction was horrible,” he said. “I was using while I still attended church. I was in denial. I didn’t think anyone was on to me.”

But people were noticing. Daniel and his wife divorced. And some church friends told him about the Mission program. In 2017, he decided to give it a try, and it helped him battle his addictions and get back on his feet. He still has fond memories.

“My favorite part of the program was the Bible study and fellowship in the morning,” he said, “and the way the other men in the program were cheering for one another to succeed.”

Daniel graduated from the program in 2018. He’s now sober and recently remarried. “I’m proud of the way we have grown in the Lord,” said Daniel of he and his new wife. He’s also pleased that he kicked cigarettes for good a year-and-a-half ago.

Daniel plays the drums for his praise and worship team at church. His future goal is to play music geared towards the youth. “If we don’t step up and do something for our kids, we won’t have a future. We won’t have a tomorrow.”

Matthew 6:33 is Daniel’s favorite scripture: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” He knows relying on God’s guidance is what got him to where he is today.

“For anyone who has realized what they’re involved in and want to figure out what to do, if they were to just seek what God wants them to do, everything would be OK. If we get in our own way, it just goes bad.”