Miguel Ronquillo

My name is Miguel. I’m 37. I’m a grateful recovering addict. I’ve been in recovery for a little under two years now. I grew up in California. My family is Hispanic, but we aren’t a traditional Hispanic family from Mexico. We’ve been in California for many generations.

I grew up in a Catholic church, did baptism, confirmation, First Communion, all of it. I grew up feeling there was something lacking or something more involved with the church than what I was getting. But I did what I was told to the best of my ability. Church really wasn’t part of the family structure, not like your typical Catholic family. Mexican families go on holidays, weddings, and funerals, that’s it.

My parents did the best they could do with what they knew. There was a lot of neglect, and abuse in the household. I grew up never really getting the emotional support that a child seeks. I was left alone a lot during the weekends to do what I pleased from a young age until I left home.

I stayed away from school because of the abuse I received from my father while trying to learn things. My father was an engineer, so math came very easily to him. I struggled and he wasn’t the greatest at teaching me, or the most gentle.

My parents ended up divorcing when I was about 17, but they were separated before that and their relationship wasn’t the greatest. I lived with my dad, moved away from my comfort zone to a town two hours away from where I grew up. Sort of took on my own identity. I started selling weed and had been drinking a little before. Got in with some bad crowds.

Before I knew it, school was over, and my dad kicked me out, left me on the of the highway and said, “You’re on your own.”

I started doing whatever I could to get by. I was a regular worker and always had jobs but never maintained them. I got bored. There wasn’t enough money.

I stole iPods, PSPs, and Nintendo DSs from Target. My guilt overran me and I turned myself in. Got probation for that and then got arrested for DUI at the age of 21. Never paid my fines, never went to do my community service. About a year and a half after getting my DUI, I got caught and did a couple weeks in jail. God’s grace saved me. They wanted to give me a six months sentence but the judge said, “You’re a working member of the society. I want you to go and do your job. Go back to work, and if you ever want your license back, pay your fines.”

By the age of 25 I was working as a waiter, driving for delivery, and just getting by at an apartment with a couple of friends. Then I met a woman who now is now my wife. She was a Christian. At that same time, I met a couple of men while working a job that were Christians. These two men started talking about Christ and right away had me hook, line and sinker. I knew of God, but I didn’t have a relationship with Him. I knew that there was something more to this life.

I came to Christ with those two men. They taught me. They introduced me to a church. With my wife growing up in the church, it was like all of it met at once. Got involved with this church. Got to know the pastor really well. He had the similar background as me.

Things started changing. I didn’t know at the time that God was changing it. I thought I was changing things for better.

An opportunity came for me to go to Lineman School, which is now my job. I was giving it to God at the time. I’m doing this in Your name. I want to go into this field, carry Your name, and be with You, and have You be with me, and spread this light over other men. I knew the field was a stressful environment with a high divorce rate, high drug abuse rate. I went into it full heartedly in it for God.

Not too long afterward, my job became about me: making more money, getting a better job, working all the hours that I could. Long story short, my career brought me over to Delaware, where I’ve lived for six years. I got a great job at PECO, financially it was great. Spiritually and familywise, it was not. It took me away from home a lot. I was stressed out all the time because my phone was always ringing to come in and work. Always tired. No relationship with the family.

My dad had been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. My dad and I had renewed our relationship and grown together. After a year of working for PECO my dad passed away. It took a lot out of me. I had to go back to California to handle what you normally have to handle when somebody passes away. My brother was stressed out because he had to deal with a lot of it. He was living with my dad. The poor guy had to deal with the brutality of his sickness and cleaning up after him. I felt bad because I wasn’t there to help.

While I was there I ended up using cocaine. I had used before through my early 20s. It was a party drug once in a great while. But when I was there, it really took hold of me. I told myself it was making me feel better. It was helping me get through what I needed to get through.

When I came home and went back to work, I broke my ankle severely and was out of work for two years. The doctor told me I would probably have a limp and might not go back to my job. This career that I had worked so hard for was taken away from me in a heartbeat.

I was depressed, angry, upset, you name it. I didn’t know how to handle those emotions. The cocaine use became a lot heavier, especially because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was at home 24/7. I really couldn’t move. The drinking got heavier, and heavier, and heavier. I was in complete denial about being an alcoholic.

I got sent to a counselor for my depression. The counselor said I was an alcoholic. I looked at him and said. “I drink a 6-pack, my family would drink a 30-pack, that’s an alcoholic.” I was in complete denial. Didn’t say anything about the drug use because I was on workman’s comp. I didn’t want any of that being taken away. I hid it for two years.

I don’t know if my wife didn’t know, or if she knew something was wrong and just didn’t know what it was. She came to me one day and asked where all the money was that should have been in the bank account. I told her I had a drug problem.

I ended up doing outpatient treatment and thought I was doing well. I was about to go back to work but had been technically terminated. I went out and used. Later that day I got a call from work saying they were going to bring me back. I came in, did a pee test, and  peed dirty. Went to another outpatient treatment facility. Once again did well enough to get back to work.

I was there for six weeks in an office catching up on safety tests. Got frustrated, got annoyed. I was like, I’m going to go out and party. I’m going to get my frustrations out and have a weekend to myself. I ended up using and came back Monday to another pee test. I know God was intervening with my drug using. He was telling me that it wasn’t what I needed. There was something else out there.

Went back to outpatient treatment. I told my counselors, “I’m struggling, there’s something missing and I don’t know what it is.” The counselors told me, “No, you’re all right. You’re struggling. Struggling is part of it. Just keep pushing forward.”

My wife found out that I was using and kicked me out. I was living my mom, who had moved to Delaware to be near the grandchildren. I was still using and stole $1400 from my own account. It came to the point where I was crying while using, asking myself, “Why am I doing this? I don’t want to be doing this anymore. God please help me.”

I was sent to a recovery center. My first day I walked in very nervous thinking it was going to be like county jail. Had my guard up. This is where I started seeing the miracle happen. I went to my room, and then went to another room with three tables. Walking around, pacing, nervous, went back to my room, couldn’t sit down, so I went back to the room with three tables and now there was a Life Recovery Bible. I picked up that Bible and went to my room and started reading.

In the back the 12 steps were all laid out. When I read Step One I started crying. It made me realize what I was throwing away. And that was myself. That was my family. That was any kind of love that I thought I deserved or wanted in my life. I had given up on it, thought there was no such thing. Came to realize that Christ was what I needed. He was the one that was going to love me the way I felt I deserved to be loved, or I wanted to be loved.

While in the Recovery Center I met a gentleman named Zack Bib. God was putting somebody in in my life that was going to walk me through learning how to live life again. I got out was doing all right for the first month. Then I had a really bad craving; an urge to use, as we call it.

I called one of my buddies that I met at Recovery Center and he took me to a Christian-based recovery meeting. Zack was there. Faith-based meeting all about Christ. I thought this is what I need. It felt very uncomfortable because there was a bunch of men and women that knew Bible verses and were so far along in their walk. I didn’t know if that’s who I am. I knew that there was something there that I needed. Got connected with Zack and Christ opened up a whole new world for me as soon as I surrendered my will.

I started seeing things differently. Things were no longer, “Oh, woe was me.” It was God putting me through something to make me stronger. And it took time for me to see it that way. I’ve been going to meetings now for almost two years. I’m strongly involved in Group. I help shed light on men and women that are suffering. They’re still in pain that are struggling. I keep my phone open for anybody to call. I don’t. I try not to deny anybody the light  that’s been given to me.

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