Sophomore Robbert (Robbie) Allen McIntire Jr. grew up in a Christian home in the Bay Area. He defined his life growing up as “standard and pretty normal.”
His father was a worship pastor on the weekends and worked as a cop during the week. His mother was a stay at home-mom—he called her a “cookie cutter” wife. When Robbie’s family moved north, his father shared with his family that he had been having multiple affairs outside of his marriage for the past twenty years. This incident shredded everything that Robbie once thought about his family structure. With this, Robbie took on the lead male role for his two younger brothers.
The family then moved to Colorado Springs and Robbie officially lost all faith in God. He sincerely thought that God was not real and that his life was stupid and pointless.
After Robbie graduated high school, he attended a college in Denver for two years. He dropped out of college to go and look after his two younger brothers after he received a phone call informing him that his mother was leaving his dad. He became depressed and had a lot of animosity towards his dad. With all of the emotions he was feeling, Robbie turned to drinking.
After wondering “what did I do?” for a while, Robbie joined the Military for two years. Unfortunately, he was discharged after misplaced violence. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time” he says. He was beaten over the head with a pipe and had 3 skull fractures and had lost vision in his left eye.
After his accident, Robbie was in severe pain. These feelings lead to narcotics usage. He was playing around with vicodin to cope with the pain. He said his “hunger grew” for more and he slowly graduated to oxycontin. After taking oxycontin daily, he turned to using heroin. “It was better and cheaper” he recalls, “so why not continue to use heroin?”
For almost 5 years, Robbie was a functioning addict. He was able to hide his addiction very well and function as a normal person would in society. “I was able to do my job, and I was able to do it well, while being high” he says.
It took him a long time to admit that he could have a problem. He said, “You live it day in, day out, you don’t really know [that you have a problem] you’re like meh, I could probably quit at any point in time. But then days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into years, and then one day you wake up five years later and you’re like ‘woah, I am still doing the exact same thing I was doing five years ago.’” At that point, it it was clear to Robbie that his life needed to change.
His brother, who was also struggling with heroin addiction, decided to go to rehab. Robbie felt that he left him behind. The feeling of abandonment drove Robbie’s addiction further and had made him crave the drug more.
Robbie’s mother had asked him to go to church with her. He agreed because he “would be high anyways.” After the service, they met with a pastor who was a coordinator for Teen Challenge, a Christian based rehab program. He offered Robbie the help that he needed, free of charge. After finding every excuse to not go, the pastor had agreed with and confirmed everything Robbie had raised questions about. He attended the program after going through “72 hours of hell” to detox. He attended the program for eleven months and held an apprenticeship for worship at the facility for four months.
Robbie then attended an event at Vanguard and fell in love with the community. He applied knowing that there would be many financial obstacles that he would need to go through. After he got accepted, God opened doors for him and he received scholarships across the board so that everything was taken care of. “He [God] wants me to be here” he says.
As Robbie continues to walk out his faith here at Vanguard, he looks to God to follow the new path he is on. As He recognizes where he has come from, and how he is in Christ. This remembrance inspires Robbie to live greater. Robbie says, “it will only make my foundation in His stronger and fight the battles that are ahead of me.”