Nick Robert’s family noticed a difference in him when drinking began to take over his life. They recommended the Long Beach Rescue Mission, a safe place he could get clean, gain purpose, and restart his life.
By Gina V. Ramsey
After serving nine years in the Marines, Long Beach native Nick Roberts, 33, found himself drifting aimlessly in life. “[While in the service] I developed a nasty drinking habit,” Roberts recalled.
Even after an honorable discharge from the Marines and ‘giving the civilian workforce a go,’ Roberts couldn’t shake his bad habit.
The oldest of five kids, Roberts grew up in a difficult environment. When he was only 7 years old, his parents separated, leaving his mother unable to cope with the break-up. Eventually when Roberts was 11, he and his siblings were removed from the ‘abusive’ environment by Child Protective Services and placed into a foster home for a month while his parents fought over custody. Ultimately, his father was granted custody of his five children.
After high school, with no real plans other than to ‘work part-time and attend college,’ Roberts and his brother decided to enlist in the Marines Corps. It was during his years in the Marines that the drinking began.
“It was a way to fit in,” said Roberts. “I fell in love with the feeling that drinking had on me.”
When he got out of the military in 2015, Roberts became a valet for a parking company and worked his way up to Senior Operations Manager. In spite of his work progress, he continued to drink heavily.
“Until one day, I had enough with everything and thought the world would be better off with me out of the picture,” Roberts said.
Thankfully his family noticed his self-decline and decided to intervene. Trying to get sober on his own did not work for Roberts, so his family convinced him to try the Long Beach Rescue Mission.
“My life was in shambles,” Roberts said. “I was broken, hurt, and lacked purpose.”
Two days after his 30th birthday, in September of 2018, Roberts entered the Mission.
For almost 50 years the Long Beach Rescue Mission has provided food, shelter, clothing and spiritual guidance to the city’s homeless and less fortunate populations. Besides their two main safe shelter facilities (The Samaritan House, a shelter for homeless men; and the Lydia House shelter for women and their children), the Mission offers several other services. Individuals looking to make a fresh start in life are encouraged to participate in one of several faith-based programs structured to heal and guide someone away from homelessness and addictions, as well as provide life-skills.
Roberts stayed at the Mission for the duration of the one-year New Life Program which focuses on helping participants who are experiencing homelessness, addiction, or just need to get their life together. It took Roberts time to adjust to his new home, but eventually he learned to appreciate it. He credits his nine years in the Marines with helping him during this chapter in his life.
“The Mission saved my life,” Roberts said. “It helped me realize how disconnected I was and it brought perspective. It brought me to a point of knowing and understanding the need for Jesus in my life. I turned my life over to God and have not looked back since.”
After graduating from the New Life Program in October of 2019, Roberts was offered a position with the Mission as the Volunteer Program Coordinator. Since then, he has been promoted to the Project Coordinator position.
“I have the best job,” Roberts said. “I love working with people, and [the chance] to offer my own experience to help others get their lives back on track.”
Roberts is also concentrating on his future goals. He’d like to continue with his education and “to go where God needs him.”
“Right now, I will continue to help those who need help and use my story and experience to help model success and the power of change through Christ.”
Every night, nearly 1,900 people are homeless in greater Long Beach. WE WANT TO CHANGE
THAT. We welcome those in need with daily essentials to help them recover from homelessness, hunger, addiction and poverty and give them the opportunity for long-term, sustained life change through God’s love and the generous support of our Long Beach community. Together, we can make a difference in countless local lives! Learn more at lbrm.org.