I’m from Miami, Florida. My dad was a professional baseball player with the Philadelphia Phillies. I had a great childhood – actually an unbelievable childhood. I grew up in sports: I played football, baseball, and hockey. I went to the Miami Dolphins games every Sunday and the Miami Hurricane games every Saturday. After retiring from the Major League Baseball, my dad ran the Boys & Girls Club in my community.
I couldn’t really ask for a better childhood. I was happy. I had two brothers and two sisters. I was the youngest, and life was good growing up in Miami’s fast-paced lifestyle.
I started using drugs and soon became an addict. I became accustomed to that lifestyle. I was in and out of detoxes and rehabs; in and out of jail. I was just completely lost.
One time dad was working and he lent me his car and asked me to pick him up from work. It was 10:00p.m. and I never showed up because I was so high. The following day he called me and said I don’t care what you’re doing or what’s going on, just pick me up from work tonight. Don’t leave me there. And I said I’ll be there dad. Then around 7:00 p.m., I lent the car to a guy. And he never returned. So I never picked up my dad that night. I was scared. 6 or 7a.m. rolled around and I had been walking all night looking for his car, knowing I was never going to get it back. I eventually called the cops, and when they showed up the cop happened to be a high school friend of mine. He looked at me and said you need help. He got me into a detox and a rehab that day.
I got to call my dad after a week and he was crying so much he couldn’t even spit out a word. And on the second week I called him one more time and he was devastated. He basically said I never thought you would do this to me. He was crying and he said I was going to make his blood pressure go through the roof; I was going to kill him if I kept acting like this.
It was a week and a half later, three days before I was getting ready to finish this rehab program, and the counselor comes in and sits me down and says my dad just had a heart attack and died. I was completely devastated.
He was my best friend, my whole life and the last thing he saw me do was basically steal his car and sell it. I had to go to the funeral the day I was finishing the program. There were so many people there, and I had this feeling that everybody was whispering that I had killed my father.
People tried to fight me at his funeral and I was just distraught. I didn’t know if I was ever going to make it from that point.
On November 6th I entered the Justin’s Place Recovery Program. November 5th was my dad’s birthday, which is ironically my sober day. I knew at that moment, when I came in, that I was going to give it everything I had. I felt like God had finally brought me to a place where it was my time and how the dates lined up with my sober birthday and my dad’s birthday, I felt like it was a chance for me to honor my father, not only in Heaven, but on Earth.
I came in here to get off drugs and I have gotten a completely new life.
When I came to the Justin’s Place Recovery Program, I didn’t know what to expect. Quickly after being in Motivational Track I realized that this was a program unlike any I had seen before. I started to hear and see things that I’d never experienced. My heart started to soften a little bit and God started to chip away certain things that I was holding onto.
When I got to LaBelle and started work in the program, things start falling into place. I was really able to identify the selfishness that I had in me. I had been a selfish, prideful, arrogant person my entire life and the program really started to change me. My heart started to soften and I started to listen to God, and read the Bible a lot. I listened to sermons and it provided me with an opportunity to establish a relationship with Christ. After I finished at LaBelle, I had the opportunity to come back to Motivational Track again and be a peer mentor. It was the first time I really served and helped. It allowed me to get out of myself. And it’s just been a complete life change. I came in here to get off drugs and I have gotten a completely new life.
I reestablished a relationship with my sisters, with my mom, and with my brothers. God has used me in ways I never thought was possible. I never thought that sports would ever come back into my life, and God has opened a door for me to get back into coaching a basketball team. I can’t even explain the amount of joy and freedom that I feel today. It’s just such a blessing.
I know that I really haven’t done much and I don’t deserve any of this, but by pursuing Christ and trying to be as obedient as I can, He has completely blessed me beyond imagination. It’s just been an overwhelming experience and I’m just so grateful to come to the Justin’s Place Recovery Program.
Pete is currently serving as a Peer Mentor at St. Matthew’s House. He graduated from the Justin’s Place Recovery Program in October 2018.
Tags: Justin's Place, Pete Manos, Testimony