How I broke out of my family’s cycle of addiction

The following is a transcript of Tyson’s story. Watch him tell it in this video.


My dad was a drug dealer and a drug addict, and my mom was also a drug addict.

As a kid, I’d have friends coming to my house, and my dad was showing them love because they’re making him money. I didn’t get that kind of love from my dad, and I wanted that attention, right? I wanted this approval from my dad, so that’s when I started dealing drugs. Then when I started dealing, I wanted to know, what’s up with this? So then I started doing.

I was maybe about 15–16 when I first started smoking crystal meth. It just took one hit and I was hooked.

My dad, within a couple of years, got really big. There were a lot of guys looking for my dad, and he was always on the run, so he got into guns. I had gang members at my house just to protect my house and protect what my dad had.

One day, my dad was on his way out to make a drug deal, and my mom didn’t want him to go, and she tried to block the car. My dad pulls out a gun and he pulls it to my mom, and he’s going to shoot my mom. 

The cops were already looking for my dad, and within 20 minutes they raided our house. I mean, I’m talking like blocking off both streets, helicopters in the air. They gave my dad 10 years.

Before my dad got locked up, he sent me away to Colorado. What my dad doesn’t know, is that I took his connection with me. We had a name in Colorado and in Las Vegas. I took it and ran with it. Then we started making all this money. By this time, I’m already doing drugs. I’m already an addict.

Eventually, I just stopped selling drugs, I just wanted to smoke drugs. Within a year’s time, I was homeless on the streets. So I come back home to Hawaii. Again, within maybe a year and a year and a half’s time, nothing. I lost it all. I found myself homeless again on the sheets of Chinatown.

July 10, 2010, I checked myself into the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) program. Through devotions every day, I read about this guy named Jesus Christ, who’s, like, just totally bold, and who loves and forgives. Nothing like the guy I heard about growing up.

I remember I was in the back of this chapel and I remember telling God, I’m like, “I read about you. I heard you forgive guys like me, and Jesus, you’re the one that I want to be with for the rest of my life. I’m fascinated. I want to know you more, but I realize that this has to be done first.” So I start confessing my sins and just giving it all to him and just completely surrendering to God. It was then that I felt the love of Jesus, and I felt his mercy and his forgiveness. I just felt so brand new and fresh.

My dad is still an alcoholic, he still drinks, but he gave up ice. My mom gave up drugs and she’s been clean and sober. They’re not believers; I’m still praying for their salvation. I want them to come to Jesus, but God has completely restored my relationship with my family. I don’t know where I’d be without that.

It hasn’t been a perfect ride since I’ve been a follower of Jesus Christ, but it’s just better. I’ve tasted the Lord’s goodness and I want this life instead.

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