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Ernesto says he was “lost and broken” before coming to Another Chance House (ACH). “I wanted to die. I didn’t recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I needed help. Losing my father to addiction was the end for me. We’d used together…the drugs ended his life and mine was next.”

Ernesto cleaned up at a treatment center and returned to his home. He found work and life was going well. But, soon enough, he was partying with his coworkers and that started the spiral back to meth. This time the pit was deep enough that after a second visit to rehab, he knew he had to do something different. He needed to change his surroundings. Going home just wasn’t an option – but homelessness was the alternative. He had legal obligations, no driver’s license, no money. How would he ever become self-sufficient?

Ernesto heard about ACH from a former resident. He called the ACH waiting list for 60 days before the hope of a bed was offered. “When I got the call from James (ACH Operations Manager) he asked me, when can you get here?’, and I was like now! I walked through the door of the Main House Shelter 30 minutes later. That was the longest 60 days of my life, and that day was the beginning of my new life.

The structured home ACH donors provide for Ernesto allowed him to concentrate on growing in his recovery while laying out a plan for his life. Today, Ernesto leads 12-step recovery meetings, “Before, I wasn’t a people person. Now I love to do service work and give back. Leading meetings helps me in my recovery; it takes me out of myself and helps me grow.”

Ernesto found employment with ACH donors, Tom & Julie Fields, at Tom’s Appliance. The Fields quickly grew very fond of Ernesto and recognized the potential he had to help them in their business. Julie shares, “Ernesto was hesitant at first, but he quickly learned how to tear down and reassemble the appliances. Over time, he started interacting with the customers and soon he was selling off the floor. Today he’s our Assistant Manager. We trust him with every aspect of the business. He’s a key holder. He’s part of our family.”

Thanks to intense case management that ACH donors provide, Ernesto has been able to navigate his legal troubles and he’s repaid all outstanding debts to society. He’s paying child support today.  Ernesto has made amends to his children and he’s rebuilding relationships with his mother and his siblings.

“My life is so different today. I have joy. I can look people in the eye. I used to have a lot of anger and let little things get to me; today, I laugh and let the little things go. I have a great foundation now; I have friends in the recovery community and my brothers at ACH to support me; the Fields believe in me and they are helping me move forward in life and in my recovery. If it weren’t for the people who give to ACH, I wouldn’t have another chance at life. I’m so grateful.”