Bobby was born and raised Butte County, California. His childhood was rough; abuse and mental health issues framed his upbringing until he couldn’t take it any more and he ran away to the unforgiving streets of Sacramento at the age of 16. Life wasn’t much better on the streets, which left Bobby desperate for relief from the constant chaos and uncertainty. He checked himself into a group home initially, but quickly decided to move on to be with his mom, who was living in Everett, Washington at the time. So he packed up his things and headed north to be with her.
Shortly after moving to Everett, greater opportunities led them to the Chelan/ Wenatchee area where he found work at a packing plant, and met the woman who would become the mother of his two precious children. At the age of 19 Bobby found himself a new father, and quickly rising in the ranks at work thanks to his hard work and attention to detail. He was promoted to heading up quality and quantity control, and was also working towards buying his first home in Leavenworth. Things were looking good for a kid who had been given less than most, and found himself with an opportunity to do more than just make ends meet. However, something else was growing too. The drugs started off as just a once in a while or at a party type thing with his girl and him, but as they so often do, the drugs began to demand more and more attention as the addiction worsened. They became weekend warriors, followed by everyday users. They were stuck, and it was ruining their lives.
The fighting got physical between the two of them, and Bobby ended up in prison, which he admitted was the right call; he was out of line. In addition to prison time there was also a no contact order placed on him that he wasn’t aware of. On getting out Bobby’s girlfriend found him and the relationship, with all its baggage, ensued until they were stopped by authorities and Bobby found himself in prison again, only this time it would be for 5 years. Depression got bad and then everything fell apart.
On the outside the kids’ mom wasn’t doing very well either, and ended up striking a deal with the state that backfired on her, and as a result she and Bobby lost custody to their kids. The kids were adopted and there was nothing Bobby could do from behind bars. Around the same time Bobby’s father passed away, and all the guilt of not being there for anyone that mattered to him due to his actions grew deeper, consuming him more times than not. Upon getting released in Spokane in 2017, Bobby was able to quickly gain employment and an apartment, but he couldn’t get free of the guilt, shame and depression that continued to haunt him. It was too much to bear and the addiction won over again. In an attempt to get away and start over Bobby moved back to Everett with his sister. However, upon finding out that his mother, who was still in Spokane, was sick and on the streets herself, he decided to come back to help her. He couldn’t see a way to help her from afar and she needed him more than a job would allow. So, he chose the streets to be with his mom over pursuing his own freedom.
The streets and the addictions are ruthless companions that always take more than they give, but sometimes they seem to be the only thing keeping the pain and the chill of death away. Bobby painfully explained how meth had ruined his life, and still to this day stalks in the shadows waiting for any opportunity to steal the next opportunity. Yet it is also the very thing that has enabled him to survive some brutally cold nights with enough energy to keep moving so he doesn’t freeze to death. A torturous rock and in impossible hard place. He wants out in the worst way, and he knows he needs help.
As we talked I saw a 31 year old man who has a huge heart for others. Who deeply misses his babies and regrets many of the decisions he’s made in his life. At the same time, Bobby is not a man who has completely lost hope! He’s here at the shelter with his mom making sure she is alright and not alone. He’s been sober almost 4 weeks, and while he has already gotten off the suboxone and heroin, he knows he needs to get into a program to kick his last addiction: meth. Yet, he refuses to leave his mom behind. He refuses to leave another family member in their time of need, an he’s determined to help her get into her own housing where she can be safe and cared for, and until then his future is on hold.
For now getting clean is step one. He is focused on that and that alone. He knows that if he is going to accomplish his goal of getting his mom cared for, getting his own place, getting back into the workforce, and out of the DOC’s crosshairs that his addiction needs to be dealt with first. If he’s not clean, nothing will move forward. This is the plan, this is where Jewel’s Helping Hands really helps.
Bobby said, “if it wasn’t for Julie Garcia and her team, I would probably be dead right now. She’s like a second mom to me with how she loves me and helps me move forward.” At the shelter Bobby gets help with medical, housing and support getting back on his feet. And because he’s not fighting for his life every night he has been able to remain sober more and more. Gaining these little victories gives hope and sets vision in peoples hearts. For Bobby, he sees himself sober, giving back to the homeless community through Jewel’s and working with his hands again in construction. But for now he’s going to continue to help out his mom, and even give the shirt of his back to his fellow roommates like he did when one of them had their bag stolen.