Hector returns to the mission after post-graduation relapse

When Hector graduated from the Mission’s program in July 2018, he was hopeful for the future. He had spent the previous 20 years in the oil industry and, as he neared graduation, Hector reached out to his former supervisor. “He was proud of me and told me to come on back,” he said.

What Hector didn’t consider was that returning to his life offshore, where his drug use was most prevalent, would make it easy to slip back into his old habits. “I was all pumped up about going back, but I neglected to remember everything I was taught. Going back to the same environment I knew when I was in my addiction wasn’t good. I started working with the same guys, going back to the same spots after work. It was a perfect beeline straight back. It didn’t take long. It was only a month or two months after graduation before I picked it up again.”

Hector was in the mission’s transitional living program, and even though he was only there on the weekends, his relapse became apparent. He was asked to leave the mission’s apartments. “I think that hit me harder than anything,” Hector said. “It finally clicked. I felt so remorseful for not giving it my all. I thought about letting everyone down.

“I realized that when I graduated, it was more about being happy they wanted me back at work. It was more like, ‘I got this.’ It wasn’t like, ‘Please, let everything you’ve been taught be there when you need it.’ It was an egotistical over confidence.”

Hector continued to work offshore during the week, and lived in hotels or in his car when he was off. “I was in line (for meals) for a while, with the homeless,” he said. “Everything was a lot darker for me. I’m almost 50. This time it was real. That place I escaped to with drugs, it was the darkest, as far as my mental state.

“I was so isolated. I knew the Mission was a positive place. It was the most positive place I’d ever really felt comfortable in.”

After urging from his son, Hector returned to the Mission. “Coming back, everyone accepted me with open arms,” he said. “I didn’t feel like, ‘Well, Hector, we are going to need to keep an eye on you.’ It wasn’t like that. It was more, ‘Hector, what do you need?’ It made me feel like I wasn’t a failure.

“I’ve needed to come back and open my eyes and open my ears this time. I’m more receptive to things now, more receptive to things I need to change. The first time I was here, I’d hear what people were saying, but I wouldn’t really think a lot of things applied to me. I’m forcing myself to really listen and read the bible. Sometimes this is what it takes.”

Now, having been back for nearly seven months, Hector is looking toward the future. He knows he won’t be heading back offshore. “For the first time in my life, I’m asking God to show me what he wants me to do,” Hector said. “I can’t go back out there. It’s time to move on. God kind of let me know that it was time to start all over. I need to do some major housekeeping. I need to gut the place out and put up new walls. And let God be the architect. So that’s what I’m doing.

“This place, with it being free, with all the volunteers, it’s a miracle. It’s a testament to how God works and how God loves you. And it feels good. It gives me hope.” ~ Hector