As he lay in bed, delirious from drugs, Roberto felt himself slipping away. Crack cocaine had been consuming his thoughts for years and his body for months, and now it finally seemed to be taking his life.
When he was a teenager, skipping class and drinking beer with his friends, Roberto never would have predicted that drugs could one day ruin him. Everything had seemed fine, even as he transitioned into smoking marijuana and using cocaine.
He felt in control. He even married and started a family, but increasingly, his money and time were spent on drugs.
His mother began to suspect drug abuse, and she put Roberto in a rehabilitation center. He emerged a new man—until he discovered crack cocaine, a highly addictive and dangerous narcotic. His mother paid for a second treatment plan, then a third, and a fourth.
Nothing was working for Roberto, and he continued to feed his addiction, even as his body deteriorated. That night on the bed, as he felt himself fading, Roberto weighed 120 pounds.
“I thought I was going to die,” he said.
His mother decided to try one more treatment plan that she had heard about from a friend: an ADRA center named Pro Vida (“pro-life”). She loaded Roberto in her car and drove to the remote state of Bahia in Northeast Brazil.
Pro Vida is one of four ADRA projects in Brazil designed to promote recovery from addiction. Pro Vida alone has helped more than 800 people since 2001.
“I didn’t think it was going to work,” Roberto said. “I had already been to four different treatments, some of them among the best one can find.”
Pro Vida was different. It was more than just plans and processes, which had all failed him before. It was community, it was friendship, and it was spirituality. Never had Roberto received spiritual care like he did at Pro Vida.
The skilled and loving staff offered prayer and Bible lessons in addition to detox and lifestyle changes.
“Pro Vida saved my life,” he said. It’s a message that Roberto is now spreading all over Brazil, to children and adults alike. He is especially active at public schools in his native state, where he shares his experiences with students and urges them to avoid drugs.
Roberto has been reunited with his overjoyed wife and children, as well as his mother, who never stopped praying for him. He is using the lessons he learned from ADRA’s program to stay healthy and strong and provide a good example for his children.
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