Former Drug Addict Now Mentors Teens

By: Dara Rees Email
By: Dara Rees Email

Chris Espinoza spends his time volunteering at the Lord's Gym in Whitley City and staff members are seeing his positive influence throughout the community.

Chris Espinoza, known as Espo to his friends, says he started drinking in high school soon after his father died. "I started drinking, then I started smoking pot. Then I went from pot to the harder drugs where I was doing meth every day, doing cocaine every day."

After getting hooked and even selling drugs, Espinoza says it got to the point where the drugs could not make him happy anymore.

"A year ago I finally got to my breaking point. I just accepted god in my life and he's taken care of me ever since. I have no desire to do any of that stuff anymore," says Espinoza.

"That young man immediately stopped drugs. Lost a taste for it, now that's amazing," says Braxton King, the director of the Lord's Gym. He says Espinoza had an influence on others since he first walked through the doors.

"He's still an influence. He was then and he is now. But he's an influence now to help kids get out of the things that maybe he was influencing kids to get into previously," says King.

Espinoza now volunteers his free time, working with teens as a mentor and friend, and someone who has seen both sides of the tracks.

"I'm hoping that maybe some day maybe I can help somebody with the stuff that I've been through, and give them good advice on how to make it through tough things in life," says Espinoza.

King says he's seen a change in other teens at the gym since Espinoza turned his life around.

Chris Espinoza says he hopes to one day be able to work with teens full time, but says he will mentor people wherever he goes.

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