Finding the Mission is One of the Best Parts of my Journey
Hi. I’m Alfonso. I found the Mission by accident, and it was one of the best accidents ever!
For a lot of years, my mom played the role of both parents in my house. She helped me build a strong work ethic—if I want something, I needed to go out and get it. At a young age I was working, and doing well in school until I hung out with the wrong crowd. I began skipping school, smoking marijuana, and lost some grades from bad attendance. After dropping out, I still got a GED and tried some college, but lost my focus after my cousin died. Deep depression followed, and a minimum wage job wasn’t paying the bills.
Another cousin and I started selling drugs, which led to a bunch of consequences I was not prepared for. People watched me all the time. I had to watch out for robbers. Others were jealous of my money. About 6 years were gone in what felt like the blink of an eye. My kid got older and starting asking questions—that was the worst. Then I began using the drugs. My suppliers pulled back, and I started lying and stealing so I could keep using. There are only three ways out of that lifestyle – clean up your act, go to jail, or end up in a box in the ground. I feel like I’m one of the blessed ones because I’m still here to talk about it.
Of course, there was more trouble. A few relationships went poorly, and one partner turned me in to authorities. That was a mixed blessing. It led me to a place where I lost everything that I had, but it started a long period of sobriety too. Even though I cleaned up and got out of the drug lifestyle, I still struggled to make a living working in low wage jobs.
To Boston I came, and by accident I found the Boston Rescue Mission. Coming here, I really felt like I got to start from the ground up as a sober person in a community of sober people. It was great to see the kind of programs here that other shelters don’t have. Now I have a safe place to work on paying bills, finding better work and housing. It took courage to look at myself, see problems, and take steps to improve. I’m living proof that donations are working, and they’re very much appreciated.