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Carlos Gonzalez of EBC: The Life,the Legend, the Legacy

With the ins and outs of foster care, Carlos and his siblings experienced a lot of emotional and mental strain. “There was no consistency. No foundation. No parents to guide and teach me what a young man is supposed to do in life. I had no aspirations. No family tree.”

After high school, Carlos joined the U.S. Navy and traveled the world. For the first time, he began to experience big cities and be exposed to what society was really like. However, the disease that followed his family began to catch up with him as well.

The Beginning of the End

Carlos sobered up and got a job with a non-profit that dealt with homelessness, substance abuse, and mental health issues. It was at this time when Carlos first met Bettye, his wife. Bettye’s sister worked for the same non-profit organization and introduced the couple. “Bettye saw something in me that no one else had ever seen, and that impacted me. It got me through my lowest points. She hung in there. She believed in me.”

The couple married, but Carlos still didn’t deal with some of his deeper issues, and eventually began to relapse. He began drinking again and hanging out in the wrong places with the wrong people.

The very last time that Carlos drank, he was in West Oakland in what he said was “probably the worst neighborhood you could find in any inner city.” But something happened. A voice inside spoke to him: “You’ve got to get out of here or you’re going to die here.”

So he started walking.

“I walked for many miles, in the dead of night. I had no money. I hadn’t eaten for a couple of days. But I walked and walked until I reached the hospital. I checked myself into the E.R., told them everything I had done, and that I needed help. I couldn’t go back on the streets.”

That was the beginning of the end.

Carlos quit cold turkey.

No doctors. No meds. No therapy. “That day, I made a decision that I would never put my family or myself through something like that again.” And this time it stuck.

That night, the “new Carlos” was born.