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Father and son break cycles to overcome homelessness, addiction



The father and son pair were homeless and struggled with addiction. But son Rudy Gonzales Jr. led the way for recovery.

PHOENIX — Just a few years ago father and son duo Rudy Gonzales Sr. and Rudy Gonzales Jr. were homeless together. At one point, Rudy Jr. says they shared a tent for a couple of weeks. 

Now, the pair is breaking cycles of addiction together. 

“I always knew I wanted to change my life,” Rudy Jr. said. “I just didn’t know how to do it.” 

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From 2016 to 2018 Rudy Jr. said he and his dad were homeless, couch surfing, and at one point living in a tent together. 

“We didn’t have nowhere to go,” Rudy Jr. said. “But we were in our addiction. We tried to get help at several different places, we would stay there, and they wouldn’t work out.”

It was about five and a half years ago that Rudy Jr. said he wanted to find change for himself. 

“Started getting in trouble, started drinking and I was doing drugs and I said, ‘This is not where – I need to go and change my life, and I did.” 

Come December 2018, Rudy Jr. went to the Phoenix Rescue Mission and graduated from the program in 2020. 

“There’s been ups and downs in my life, but I never went back to drinking and handling the same ways that I did. Instead, I just – I prayed. I always, always brought God into it and stayed strong,” Rudy Jr. said. 

As Rudy Jr. found recovery and faith, he wanted the same thing for his dad. 

“It’s not the same son that I used to know,” Rudy Sr. said. “This place (Phoenix Rescue Mission) has really done something.” 

Rudy Sr. said he began drinking after his mom died in 2007. 

“I tried to keep afloat with my job and I ended up – hit rock bottom,” Rudy Sr. said. “Then I’ll bounce back and then I’ll hit rock bottom again.” 

Come April 2023, Rudy Sr. said he was dropped off at Phoenix Rescue Mission by his son, where he also has found recovery and faith. 

“So many times I tried to do it on my own, and I realized that, okay, so I’m gonna, I’m gonna take a leap of faith and I listen to my son. And so I did,” Rudy Sr. said. “That’s the best thing.” 

Now, both of them are graduates of Phoenix Rescue Mission. The two say they used to argue a lot – now they say with a smile how their arguments have changed. 

“I used to be very disrespectful, and now we have different views on certain scriptures, and so that’s what we argue about,” Rudy Jr. said.

“Now we’re not talking about worldly things. We’re talking about the Word of God,” Rudy Sr. said. 

Rudy Sr. is also going through Ministry Training, which is a practical training on Phoenix Rescue Mission’s work on outreach, rescue and recovery.

Rudy Jr. just moved with his family to a bigger house and is working and providing for his family. 

The father and son say they have found recovery, repair and reconciliation together and are continuing to break cycles for the next generation. 

“I feel blessed because my dad lost his dad from drinking. So at least I’m able to give every moment now to my dad and then kind of like give a demonstration to my son,” Rudy Jr. said.

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