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Tucson pastor's recovery program draws on personal experience

Pastor Sal Perez guides others battling addiction
Pastor Sal Perez of Victory Outreach Tucson
Posted at 3:36 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-27 19:01:34-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — If you attend Victory Outreach Tucson, you may know Pastor Sal Perez. But before he was a pastor, Perez had a tough upbringing.

“I grew up in a broken home. I grew up in a home where my father was an alcoholic. And there was some abuse involved,” he says.

Perez says, “I was looking for that family atmosphere. I was looking for love. acceptance. And I looked toward gangs and to my friends.”

Little by little, Perez found himself falling deeper into that lifestyle. It was only a matter of time before he landed himself behind bars for the crimes he was committing with what he thought was his family at the time.

During that time, Perez actually had a wife and three kids. He says his wife describes it being a very difficult time in their lives because Perez was unable to be the father or husband he knew he had to be.

After spending four years in and out of jail, Perez was given the chance to start over.

He says, “So I went into my victory home. It allowed me to distance myself from my gang from my neighborhood, from drinking and from drugs. I was able to go into this home and get the help that I needed personally as an individual.”

Victory Outreach is a local program that houses men who want to get back on their feet. They are able to house about 30 men, providing them with the support they need to start over. They recommend a one-year stay to get the maximum results of the program.

“One thing that I always realized is I can never go back and change my past, but I could build a new future,” says Perez. So he decided to build a new future.

He says, “everyday of sobriety helped me to have hope for the next day.”

That is when Perez says he found his true calling in life. “The help that I received is now what I’ve dedicated my whole life’s purpose to. Helping people get their lives together and giving them the hope and opportunities to change.”

He has been part of the Tucson program now for 31 years, helping break stereotypes and change lives.

“Once a drug addict, always a drug addict. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic. But I think we are living proof that there is hope and change can take place,” says Perez.

Thanks to his support system, he has been able to continue serving the greater Tucson area.

He says, “I thank god that she’s still here. She’s really the best part of me.”