Trevor overcomes addiction’s grip that took hold in childhood

Trevor’s addiction started gradually as a result of surgeries and injuries he experienced in middle school. After a freak soccer accident, Trevor had knee surgery at 12, and a couple years later, had to have another. “The second time is when I got the steady supply,” said Trevor of the piates he was prescribed. “At first I used it for its prescribed purpose, but I found myself using it when I didn’t need it."

At 16, Trevor also had completely reconstructive stomach surgery—he was born with some medical issues—and was again given drugs for pain consistently for the next two years. “I’d use it whenever I wanted,” he said. “I’ve always had a prescription or access to it. It was my drug of choice until I got to (college). I got off of it only because I lost my connection.”

Trevor had started drinking heavily, and decided to go to college far away from his Moorpark home. “I went to the University of Mississippi—I just wanted to party,” he said. He continued to drink a lot and started using cocaine and other drugs. “I started to figure out I had a problem,” he said. “I was getting into fights, losing friends, doing things most people wouldn’t consider normal. My girlfriend at the time said I should cut back and I was able to, but I couldn’t stop. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t.”

Trevor returned for treatment for his alcohol and drug abuse after his mom showed up on his Mississippi doorstep. He stayed local and entered the Moorpark College Exotic Animal Training & Management program at America’s Teaching Zoo. “Everything was pretty good for a while, but I started to get overstressed. I was overwhelmed with life and I was hoping I could drink a little and just relax. But I couldn’t.”

Trevor still graduated from the Zoo program and worked for a year after that. He then moved to Arizona, and while things looked good from the outside, it didn’t match what he was feeling. “It was the most miserable I’ve ever been,” he said. “By the end of it, I was suicidal and depressed every day. I was drinking to feel OK, not even to get drunk.” Trevor said he had been raised in church, but never really had Christ in his life. At this point, he was struggling so badly, he decided to pray. “I grew up listening to Christian music, so I typed into my Pandora ‘Christian music’ and got focused on God,” he said. “I started asking for help for the first time ever. This song came on by Newsboys called ‘Breakfast’—I had heard it when I was a kid. And I just started bawling. It just hit me finally: God’s always been here, He’s always cared—I’ve been the one who is away from Him. I was crying and crying and then fell asleep. When I woke up, I called the Mission.”

Trevor got to the Mission in June 2021. “When I got here, I was broken,” he said. “In the past, I’d always have a plan. I’d always focus on making things happen the way I wanted them to. I didn’t do that here. I walked in, and I felt included right away. That made me think I should stick around for a couple days. Sitting in classes, listening to the teachings, I connected with it, and decided to stay a little longer. It wasn’t until I was
three months in that I fully decided to stick it out. I started really digging in then.”

Helping in the food distribution lines to the homeless at lunch and dinner really had an effect. “Tangibly giving back really helped me see. I was seeing the other side, where I would be if I left—because I had nowhere to go. This was the first time I’ve chosen to be sober and clean for me and no one else.

“I was going to classes, going to church, doing whatever I could to learn how to live a Christian life. My life has changed—my health, spirit, mind—all from this place and the services it provided me. I’m not anxious, I’m not depressed—I’m happy and joyful and the fruits of Spirit are growing in my life daily.”

Trevor said the encouragement he received from interns and past graduates helped while in the program. He also received consistent Biblical advice from Chaplain Carl (Cormier). “Also just having real friends who support me and just want to see me grow in Christ—that kept me hopeful for the future.”

Trevor officially graduated March 29, and the ceremony to celebrate that milestone is this month. He will be staying at the Mission as a two-year ministry intern. “In the past, every time I would get sober, I’d run back to my old life,” he said. “Now I’m trying to build something completely new. I want to give back.”