June 13, 2021


News and Information Portal


Paul Gerard Ruiz Espinosa


Killing The Soul by Lito Gruet

There is no better joy than sharing a message of Hope. Stories of survival and transformation to showcase my belief that there is truly hope in recovery. Sharing real life stories of victory over addiction. And stories of those who not only survived but made it their mission to pay it forward. I am proud to present to you one the the current Recovery Coaches of Safehaven Recovery Village, PAUL GERARD RUIZ ESPINOSA and this is his story:

I’m the youngest of the family. We are five siblings. My father is one of the cebu’s finest policemen and Centennial Police. My dad’s family is from Toledo City. They are well off and my mom works in the company of my dad’s family. I studied in A catholic school, the Holy Rosary school of Pardo. When I was in kindergarten my teacher asked what I wanted to be and I told my teacher, even my parents, that I wanted to be a soldier like my Dad and my grandfather, a Brigadier General in the PMA.

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Paul Gerard Ruiz Espinosa

In my elementary years I had good grades. Some told me I was a very bright boy because my classmates were two years older than me. I was always the sergeant-at-arms in our classroom and I was also a Knight of the Altar (a sakristan). The dream of both me and my beloved sister Alice, a nun and a principal in an elementary school was for me to go to a seminary school Pope John Paul. I agreed because I asked my parents I wanted to be in the in Philippine Military Academy. They told me to have good grades so that if I graduate from high school I’ll take exam to enter the PMA.

But before that happened my dad was transferred and assigned at Ramos area in Cebu. So we also transferred and lived at Tres de Abril street. While there, I was influenced by the Alega Gang and I was introduced to gambling, alcohol, cough syrup, Nubain then eventually I got hooked on Shabu. I got addicted to it together with my ‘barkada’ the Dragon Gang Clan.

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Paul with Safehaven Recovery Village Center Director Emmanuel Llenos who was also featured in this column.

I hid my addiction from my family as I was very spoiled and I became the “bad boy” in high school because I was part of a gang and thought I had protection from the military, specially from my uncle Rudy Espinosa who became the mayor of Toledo city. I became popular in Cebu as a known addict. My siblings were already working abroad and most of them graduated in the Medical field.

Few years past, my dad had a stroke due to hypertension and I was the only one left with my mom and dad. Even with what happened to my dad I continued with my addiction. I had a pretty girlfriend then and was really in love with her and she loved me too. However, my addiction pushed her away and she got married to someone else.

In 1999 I was arrested and was detained inside the City Jail and became Visio. I become one of the founders of BC 45 of the south. Then 2003 my father died. I was very skinny, my siblings came home from abroad and decided to put me in treatment for 10 years, in and out of rehab.

When I became sober for 2 and a half years, I got married at the age of 33.  I’m grateful to God for he gave me a son. But sadly I relapsed when my mother died at the age of 76. That time, I desperately wanted to recover since I have a 2 year old son and my wife was pregnant. On May 26 of the same year an American taught me the 12-step program and I was able to recover.

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Inside the Safehaven Recovery Village located in Talamban Cebu

God really answered my prayers and because of Him I am now 9 years clean and sober and an instrument of God. I am the living proof how God transformed me to become a better person and how I am paying it forward by helping others. I was once one of the founders of a rehab in Cebu and was also helping our local government units. I was then invited by the CEO of Safehaven Recovery Village, Ronnie delos Santos to join the facility as a Recovery Coach because he believes and he thinks I am the “missing link” of their 12-step program.

Now, I am also a board member of the Church of International Fellowship of Hope in Colorado USA teaching the 12-step program for alcohol and drug recovery treatment. Safehaven Recovery Village is a Christian Rehab utilizing the effective 12-Step Recovery Program