Robert C. grew up as a baseball fan, living in Atwater Village near Dodger Stadium. He remembers his drug and gang-ridden neighborhood as a place where everyone knew each other through the generations, like “one big family”. Robert’s single mother was protective, sending her children to private schools to keep them off the streets and away from those gang and drug activities.
Busy with school and sports, he spent his free time playing ball with friends on the block. But Robert’s nights of childhood fun turned into nights of smoking weed and stealing beer with his friends. In high school, he added mushrooms, ecstasy pills and house parties on the weekends to his list of favorite things. Still, Robert maintained a 3.5 GPA. He won a baseball scholarship to Cal State Long Beach where he earned a degree in Kinesiology. The success continued when Robert was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks and played professional baseball. That was, until he started using methamphetamine. Robert’s off the field lifestyle seriously affected his performance on the baseball field. When he quit the team, life after baseball was a difficult time. The drug use that began as a weekend pastime became an everyday thing. Robert was working for the City of L.A. and doing some coaching – and smoking meth every day. He couldn’t turn to family members and friends for help with his substance use disorder, most of them were caught up with the gang and addiction.
In the space of one month in 2017, the life he knew changed forever. His dad passed away unexpectedly, his mother was dealing with breast cancer, and Robert separated from his girlfriend of ten years. The pain of all these sudden changes resulted in a worsening addiction. Robert lost his job, stopped coaching baseball, and became homeless, camping by the L.A. River.
He remained homeless until June 2020 after he had his first child, a beautiful girl. “She’s the reason I checked into recovery. My mom called me and said the social worker was going to put my baby up for adoption. I couldn’t let that happen. With the help of God, my family, and L.A. CADA, I’ve been able to stay sober, I haven’t failed a drug test, and I was finally granted custody of my daughter. Today I’m just waiting on housing to complete the reunification with my daughter.”
Robert says he’s grateful to have a program like LA CADA as part of his recovery. “The counselors, group meetings, and individual therapy meetings are a big reason I am sober today. The opportunity to share in groups and in therapy have helped me reflect on the past and talk about emotions I never confronted that before because I was avoiding my feelings by getting high.”
After securing housing for himself and his daughter, Robert plans to go back to school and to attend law school when the time is right. He wants to thank L.A. CADA for the opportunity to be a monitor at one of agency’s Recovery Bridge Housing sites. He says, “I hope to help clients when times get tough by sharing words of inspiration, coping skills, and perhaps part of my story.” Robert, we are proud of you for keeping your sobriety by giving it away to others.