Tony grew up with loving, supportive parents, but somehow as a teen, he always felt a magnetic pull towards the bad crowd. He started to experiment with drugs and alcohol. All too quickly, it took hold and soon he had become entrenched in a world of drugs, which eventually led to a life of violence and crime.
Throughout his 20’s Tony knew he was out of control, but couldn’t seem to find his way out. Then, on one dark day, the chaos and crime boiled over.
“I was a cocaine addict, and I was selling to afford my using,” says Tony. “I was leaving a dealers’ house when a dispute erupted over money. I was on drugs and wasn’t in the right state of mind. I just wouldn’t back down and neither would they.”
Tony spent the next 11 years in prison.
When Tony finally got out of jail, he was homeless and felt totally disconnected from the outside world. Sitting down to a hot meal in our community was the beginning of a new chapter for Tony, but it was anything but easy.
“The amount of healing I had to do seemed impossible,” says Tony. “I didn’t feel like I deserved love.”
Little by little, Tony developed trust and rapport with his caseworkers at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. He signed up for the Momentum Ministries recovery program which he embraced fully, determined to build a better life for himself.
Although shedding the past and healing from trauma has been a hard journey, there have been moments of joy along the way. The biggest change in Tony has come in quieter moments, through prayer.
“Devotions have become an important time for me,” says Tony. “When I’m alone with God, it really sinks in that I have been given a great opportunity here, and I don’t want to waste it.”
Today, Tony is in line for affordable housing and is ready to start looking for work. There is still a hard road ahead as Tony continues to heal from addiction and the ravages of his former life.
“There are no words to say how grateful I am for this second chance,” says Tony. “The love and support I’ve been shown is what’s made it possible to believe in myself. In everything I do, I want to give back and live a life to honour this gift that has been given.”