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Gabriel Escobedo

My name is Gabriel Escobedo, and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic/addict. I am 24 years old
(as of 4/2/2023), and I have been living in the Antelope Valley for about 20 years. I have 5

months and 3 weeks, clean and sober.

My earliest memory of my addiction, that I can recall, began when I was 8 years old. I was
staying the night at my grandmother’s house with my cousin. We were staying up late watching
King of the Hill in the living room. I remember telling my cousin, “I’m gonna drink when I get

older. Maybe not smoke, but I’ll drink.” Then he said “Yeah, me too.”

I was born Mexican-American, so drinking at family gatherings was part of what I knew as
tradition. Birthdays, quinceñeras, baptisms, holidays, graduations, and everything in between. It
was normal to my family; that the adults got to drink, and the kids went to play.
I had my first beer at 14, when my friend asked if I wanted him to bring it when he came over. I
remember it was warm… but exactly how I imagined. The taste and the effect.

Ever since that day, I knew drinking was for me.

I began stealing beer from coolers at family gatherings, then stealing liquor from my parents and
other family. At 15 years old, I bought my first marijuana edible from someone at high school. I
tried, to the best of my ability, to conceal any indication that I was drunk or high. Deep down, my
family began to know that something was off. I knew that they were suspecting something too.
So my family insisted I drink with them, instead of having to sneak around and hide away from
everybody. They told me to chill and have a few beers, and to stay off the liquor! I began to
drink beer with them, then head back to my room and drink the liquor that I had hidden. I would
spend my weekends, and eventually the free time that I had during the week, drinking and
smoking weed with my friends down the street. When I got bored, I went to drink and smoke.
When I was upset, I went to drink and smoke. When I was happy, I went to drink and smoke.

No matter what I was feeling, I had to have it.

At 18 years old, I totalled my first car from drinking and driving. I felt like nothing was going right,
that my life had no purpose. Several drunken, destructive, and regretful nights thereafter.
My dad then brought up the suggestion of attending aviation school. I figured it would get me
out of having to take several classes in community college, and possibly a university, to pursue

a degree in electrical engineering.

So at 19 years old, I began attending aviation school in Victorville while trying to work a part-
time job at Popeyes in Santa Clarita. I was still not happy. I made sure that every time I was at
work or school, I had weed and liquor. Even going as far as having my co-workers, who were of
legal drinking age, to buy alcohol for me. I drank too much on a break one day during my shift
and began to exhibit signs that I was definitely intoxicated. I was fired that day, and I definitely
said what I had to say to the managers there; out of anger. I continued to attend my aviation

program, while showing up high and/or drunk.
Then my classmates began to notice and become concerned.

At 20 years old, I completed my aviation school and passed my exams for my certification. I
applied to a company called General Atomics, and I would be hired under the condition that I
obtain my certification. I was well-paid, and had more than enough money to buy alcohol.
I eventually started working evening shifts, ending at around 11:30 pm, and found myself buying
alcohol every night. I would drink every night, every weekend, and eventually while I was on


By the time I was 21, I found myself drinking to my heart’s desire. I began creating more
problems amongst my friends and family. At 22 years old, I began to drink and use on the job.
Eventually I quit my job and spent ALL of my savings on alcohol and drugs. I started spending
more nights in jail, going to mental health units, and soon became convicted of DUI. Self-harm
was beginning to worsen. I felt no hope for me. I had my first suicide attempt, and was reported
to police by some passing bystanders. I went to the mental health unit for the first time.
Spending a week there, away from alcohol, I made an oath to refrain from drinking. When I was
discharged, I was doing well for a few days, until I decided to buy some alcohol.
In May 2021, I was taken to the mental health unit once more. This time I was depressed,
angry, destructive, hostile, and terrorizing my family. Once I arrived at the facility, I was offered
a choice by my parents over the phone. Either go to rehab, or live on the streets.
I chose to go to rehab, because I feel I didn’t stand a chance out there on the streets. I was
introduced to AA meetings, the Twelve Steps, and the big book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I
began to see where I may have gone wrong, but I couldn’t accept that I could NEVER drink
again. Completing the treatment program, I left with about 5 months clean and sober. They
helped move me into a sober living, and shortly after, 2 days later, I got high again. I was kicked

out and I felt hopeless once more.

I remembered I had another option, another phone number for a sober living. A place called

New Road.

In October 2021, a friend in recovery helped me get myself and my belongings to the New Road
sober living, and I felt so grateful. I felt like I was in the right place. I was given a chore, a time to
wake up, and a set of rules to follow. A structured living environment. I was doing so good
during the 2 months I was here! Then I began to seek an easy way out. I was offered a place to
move out with another housemate. No chores, no wake up time, and my own room! “I’ll do
great!”, so I thought. A few weeks later I was using drugs again. At this point, I was given
another choice by my parents. Either stay and pay my own way, or have their financial support
by moving to another sober living. Out of fear, I went to the next sober living.
I was doing good again, until I wasn’t. I began to use a lot of cocaine. I eventually began to drink
and use psychedelics. I was beginning to self-harm again, and was reported to emergency
services by the house manager of the sober living. I returned to sober living after my trip to the
mental health unit, this time with medication. I swallowed all of my medication and drank alcohol
along with it. Not even a day back at the house, I was taken back to the mental health unit.

I was kicked out of that sober living, and was left with my car, my belongings, and my addiction.
I spent a week drinking, using drugs, and causing trouble. I showed up drunk to an AA meeting
one night and rambled to some people that were there. I was about to leave the meeting until
someone told me, “If you get in that car, I’m calling the cops!”. I was not willing to be caught
drinking and driving with a suspended license and a recent DUI on record. So I stayed and they

offered to let me stay the night at their home.

I talked to my parents, and they offered to help me get into treatment once more. Asking me

“This is it, right?”. It’s always easy to say “Yes”.

In March 2022, I entered treatment again. This time I did 45 days in residential treatment, and
transitioned to another recovery house for 44 days. This meant I had 89 days clean and sober
at the time. On the 89th day, I had my drug dealer deliver to me at the recovery house. $1000
worth of cocaine. I relapsed once more, and was discharged. I attempted to come back to New
Road, but I was not willing to discard my cocaine. I spent just under a week finishing all of what I

had. I was determined to finish.

Sometime in June 2022, I came back to New Road. I was glad to be back! Once again, I was
given a chore, a time to wake up, and a set of rules to follow. I drank once more that same week
and continued to relapse in August, September, and October. I began to realize that I was
impatient, and the longer I continued to revert back to drugs and alcohol, the longer it would

take for me to get where I want to be in life.

October 9th, 2022 is my clean date. This is the day I stopped using any mind-altering
substance, drugs and/or alcohol. I did what was required at New Road sober living. This was to
abide by all house rules, attend meetings, find a sponsor, get into my stepwork, and take on
anything else that was asked of me here. I have to continually get out of my own way, and do

what is suggested by my sponsor, and New Road management.

New Road has provided a substance-free, structured living environment for me to grow,
recover, and enjoy life in. I have found a family here that I never thought would love, support,

and welcome me as much as my own.

Who I can turn to.
Who I can relate to.
Who I can talk to.
Who I can trust.
Who will support me in my recovery.
Who will accept me for who I am.
… Regardless of what I think.
At New Road, I feel safe. I feel at home.


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