Roger’s father was an alcoholic. He wasn’t very functional, and while his parents didn’t divorce until he was 11, Roger doesn’t remember him around much even before that. Roger’s siblings struggled with alcohol and drug addiction, and when Roger hit his late teens, he too started following in the family footsteps. “I didn’t start drinking because I wanted to escape anything really,” he said. “It just seemed like the thing to do in 1977. It became an addiction at 22. I was very aware of it. I didn’t get into any trouble at all. But that’s God’s doing—he’s had his hands on my whole life.”
Despite his addiction, Roger held down a job as a cook for years, going in six days, 48 hours a week. He also got married, and when the couple found out they were expecting a daughter, Roger knew he wanted to get sober. “I knew I needed to quit, so I did,” he said. “I prayed, and it was a miracle. He delivered me. I had tried to quit before, but when I really cried out to him, I got sober, and I stayed sober for 13 years.”
Roger and his wife were going to church, but he admits that their marriage was rocky, especially at the beginning. “Even though I was sober, I was verbally abusive,” he said. “It got a lot better a few years into our marriage after some counseling.” But after 14 years of marriage, Roger and his wife divorced in 2003, and he slowly started drinking again.
“By 2004, I was already hooked again,” he said. “I left my job on my own terms, but if I wasn’t drinking, I probably wouldn’t made such a hasty decision. My stepfather got really ill and my mom needed help, so I moved in with her and cared for him for a couple years. Then she took a turn for the worse. For her last three years, I was her caregiver. The last time I drove her home from the hospital, it was so she could be home when she went to be with the Lord. I had been going to church with my mom. Even though she was ready, I wasn’t prepared when she died. I started to drink so bad, I couldn’t function. After all those years, it finally caught up with me.
“I made her her favorite dinner the night before she died—baby back ribs and scalloped potatoes. (After she passed), I started getting drunk before noon. I was numb at first, and then it really hit me. I had no desire to work, and no desire to hang out with anybody.”
It took Roger’s daughter, now grown, pleading with him to finally reach out for help. “She said, ‘Daddy, I love you. Please, go get help.’ I said ‘OK, when?’ And she said, ‘Now.’ She handed me a list, and the Ventura County Rescue Mission was at the top. It’s the only one I called. I thank God that she is as stubborn as I am. I didn’t think I’d last more than two weeks. But after a couple weeks, I knew I was here to stay. That was another miracle. I had zero withdrawals. I had no desire to drink again.”
Roger got to the Mission in September. “It was really awesome,” he said. “Everyone here was so good to me, so respectful. They treated me like I was something special. To see how God works here, and the love that is here, it’s been amazing. There are two reasons that I came here aside from getting help to quit drinking: to reestablish my relationship with God and for restoration. That’s what I’m really here for—restoration.”
Roger is grateful for the relationship he has with his daughter, now 30. “I don’t have to tell her about God, I just have to let her see it in me,” he said. “She’s
elated. I praise God that through all of this, I always had a good relationship with her. She’s been nothing but a blessing my whole life.”