“At Rubicon, they talk about building networks and connections all the time. Your network can help you find a job, your friends can be there to support you when you feel like you can’t go on, but the biggest gift that my sobriety and my stability have given me has been earning the trust of my wife and daughter again.”

I remember my first day at Rubicon. I waked into this room with a bunch of people I didn’t know, and we were all so nervous. All of us had these really hard stories, and we were all thinking about how impossible it was going to be for any of us to change. The workshop on that very first day was called “Positive Thoughts” and our workshop leader shared her own personal story. Her challenges were different than mine, but just as hard, and she got past it. I knew right then that if she could do it, I would too. I still think about what I learned in that workshop today.

During the two-week core workshop, I gave it my all. I showed up everyday. I was on-time. I asked questions. One of the key things I heard that week was, “the more you bother us, the more we’ll help you.” So I never went away. After every class, I would stay after asking, “How do I get help with this? How do I get help with that?”

And then every night I would go home – which at the time was a residential treatment program—and get on the computer and search Craigslist for job leads. I managed to get five interviews set-up before the end of the first two-week workshop.

That first job interview was tough. It was at a placement agency, and the first thing they asked was how come you haven’t worked in so long. I was honest with them. I told them the whole story, drugs, jail, homelessness, everything. The woman doing the interview was so blown away by my story that she grabbed somebody else in the office and told them my story, and they grabbed someone else, and by the end of the interview I was sitting at the table with the supervisor and six other people.

They kept telling me how great my application and resume looked — which, of course, Rubicon had helped me with — and my candor about my past. It was a great experience. After that first interview I was like ok, I can do this. By the end of my first two weeks of working with Rubicon I had job.

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t my dream to be 31 and working at Top Dog earning minimum wage, but I remembered what my coaches at Rubicon told me; it’s easier to get a job once you have one. So I kept that job, and worked my butt off. Other people noticed the change in me, too, and I was offered a one-year internship at City Team Ministries in Oakland. I crushed that internship, and at the end of the year, I was offered the program manager position for the residential treatment program. Now, everyday, I am helping people start the same journey that I took. Since I started in October, I’ve referred more than 30 people to Rubicon!