Steven & Sophia Gonzalez
Steven and Sophia Gonzalez had two very good reasons to get a divorce: infidelity and addiction. On the surface, the couple looked like they had everything going for them. Behind closed doors, it was a different story.
Steven had an uneventful upbringing. His hard-working parents provided for their kids. Though they had alcohol in the house, it sat right next to the soda and Steven never gave it a second thought. He tasted alcohol when he was 13, but it was during his freshman year when he started to cross the line.
"I took a hit of marijuana and got hooked immediately," Steven remembers. "I quickly became more interested in getting high than doing my school work, so I dropped out."
He moved to Texas to get away from the "pot heads," but turned to alcohol to replace what was missing in his life. "At the age of 19," says Steven, "I had already received two DUI's, neither of which slowed down my drinking."
It was then that he met the love of his life, Sophia. Sophia had no idea that Steven was a ticking time bomb-- ready to go off at a moment's notice. His drinking kept increasing but she didn't realize how bad it was getting... Until she started getting calls from the hospitals and the police saying they found Steven passed-out drunk.
Together, the couple decided to get marriage counseling while Steven went through a 30-day rehab program. 30 days was as long as Steven could last without a drink. After rehab he immediately started drinking again.
To make matters worse, Sophia began an emotional affair with their marriage counselor. "I thought I could handle this emotional affair I'd begun with our counselor," says Sophia. "I figured that after a while I would feel normal and my conscious would die. But it didn't."
She had flashes of hope when she was with her children, but the reality of the situation would show up again. Thoughts of suicide became a part of her life.
"I literally had to kneel down, look my three children in their eyes, and recognize I was filling my own needs instead of theirs," she says.
The couple was hanging by a thread, and the futures of their children depended on their choices. Sophia broke off the affair with the counselor, and turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Both Steven and Sophia were drinking away their marriage.
By the grace of God, the couple stumbled across information about the Teen Challenge Family Center in San Jose. When they arrived at Teen Challenge, Sophia felt as if she was waking from a coma. "I wondered where I was, and how I got there," she says.
"Honestly, my plan was to come here for six months, or until I got back on my feet. And then we'd move on," recalls Steven. "I had no hope for real change, but God had other plans for me and my family."
Counselors and Teen Challenge graduates provide successful recovery to hurting people in their communities. The Christ-centered professional counseling offered through Teen Challenge works. Steven and Sophia are living proof.
Today, Steven, Sophia, and their children have a hope and a future together. They are now Directors of the South Bay Centers for Teen Challenge NorWestCal Nevada.