By: Alex Del Rio
I have lived with fear my entire life. As I grew up, my dad and brother were always trying to toughen me up and make me a man. If I would get hurt and cry, they would call me a “chavala”, which means sissy. I was even told I wasn’t a Del Rio, because I “wasn’t strong enough” to carry the pride of my family name. I was taught that a man was tough, untouchable, fearless, didn’t cry, and that he could “handle his own” because he knew how to fight. I couldn’t wait to be a man like my dad. 
I had physical and sexual abuse in my childhood. This abuse caused fear and created a desire in me to gain acceptance. I thought there had to be a reason these abusive things were happening to me, and that I would never be equal or accepted.

In order to prove to myself and others that I wasn’t a “chavala”, I began to get in fights at school, in the neighborhood, at the park, and with my cousins. I learned to hide that I was afraid of getting hurt. I had been taught that violence was a sign of manhood, and I began making up lies about myself. I would use stories of other people who I thought were tough and who earned respect.

At age seven, I found that stealing my dad’s beers and sharing them with my cousins not only made me cool but seemingly fearless. Drinking made me feel like a man. After all, my dad drank a lot and he was a man. In my twenties, narcotics entered my life and depression became my acquaintance.

I had been permanently medically rejected by the Navy because of my diabetes. Going into the Navy was one thing I’d felt sure about my entire childhood. Narcotics had a way of making me feel better about myself. I was the life of the party, girls liked me, guys respected me, and nobody picked on me. I thought I had arrived! I was accepted, and I wasn’t a “chavala”. Narcotics made it seem I was unafraid even when I was.

As I grew older and experienced more disappointments in my life, my anger issues seemed to peak. My fuse became short and I started to drink more, do more drugs, and tried to take my own life on several occasions.
I’ve been married four times, lived in five states, and had endless jobs and careers. I became a believer in April of 2022 but still had to learn who I really was in Christ. I began to falsely testify in church about who I was, and what I had done. I was still trying to hide who I was. The truth was that I was never happy with myself, and I never felt accepted or good enough.

I knew Christ was my Savior, but I was still struggling. I would run back to Him to clean up my mess when things got out of control, and I was living a double life. Living this way proved to be spiritually devastating. I was playing church while turning to harder drugs, violence, and sexual encounters. Now I know that God is the only way to fill those holes in my life.

After attending Re:Gen at Real Life Ministries I can honestly say God has become both the Savior and Lord over my life. I seek His will and pursue dying to myself. The Lord has shown me my true story, the story of HIS glory!

I’ve learned that God wants me to rely on Him and that He will provide all of my needs. Everything else is a distraction that took me from His presence and out of His will. All that matters to me today is my relationship with Jesus.
Mark 8:35 says, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it.” I’ve learned that I have to lose everything if I want to be a winner. It’s hard to carry a cross when you’re lugging around baggage!
Re:Gen has allowed me to be transparent with men in my group, work on steps, and be discipled by men who show me what God calls a man to be. People love, respect, and accept me for who I am. I trust God for everything! I find my confidence and strength in Him alone. “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ “ - Romans 8:15 
I have found my true identity. I know who I am, I am not defined by my sin, or by what I have done. God tells me I am His boy. He’s my Papa, He tells me He’s proud of me and so does my earthly father!

Finally, Luke 11:33 says, “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light”.  I’d like to encourage you to come into the light and not hide in the darkness of your sin.