“When you look into those eyes, there’s that connection and he’s captured my heart,” Roberto shares, “Everybody knows he saved my life.”
When Jose was a toddler, Roberto was brought into the emergency room at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore on July 6, 2010. After decades of abusing alcohol and drugs, it wasn’t his first time to be taken to the hospital’s behavioral health unit. Roberto shares he was a binge drinker, and frequently came to the hospital to detox, leave and later return to drinking–only to become hospitalized again. But this particular time, Roberto found himself in intensive care and was exhausted of fighting.
“I remember thinking, ‘this is it’… I remember thinking I’m not going to make it,” Roberto said, when he suddenly remembered his son. “I knew I was going to lose him if I survived, or I’d die and not to be there for him. And that just changed me, and I knew I had to do something now.”
Roberto’s love for his son pulled him into his journey to sobriety. He shared it wasn’t easy, but after multiple attempts to get sober in the past failed, his passion to be there for his son and dedication to his late mother, who always wished for him to become sober, gave him the strength to focus, heal and recover.
“I was truly blessed… I really wanted to change and what I was learning started to make sense… and positive things started happening. I owe my sobriety to the 12-step program and to the people here who didn’t give up on me,” Roberto said.
And that’s why Roberto is so supportive of a new community resource center to help people recovering from addiction and behavioral health issues to be created at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore. He hopes it will help more people on their journey to sobriety by providing them with a place to learn, reflect and connect with others on their journey.
“When you’re in the thick of addiction, you don’t know who you are; you don’t know what you don’t know, but the reality is that you’re not alone and resources like this (the center) can help more people see that,” Roberto said.
Today, Roberto is a single parent and he cherishes the time he spends with his son, who is almost eight years-old. He continues to try to heal relationships with family and friends he lost during his years of abuse.
“I have a new lease on life, and I’m supposed to be here right now,” said Roberto, “I feel blessed to have this knowledge and I want to help others succeed, too.”
Proceeds from this year’s Generation of Pride event will support the new Community Resource Center at Aurora St. Luke’s South Shore. Help make a difference by visiting give.aurora.org/generationsofpride.