When asked what dream motivated him in his youth, a quick reply with a wide smile came, “To be a rock star.” Music has been a part of his life for as long as Phillip Adams can remember and it is in his family’s blood. Today Phillip is moved by his commitment to God and to help those who need to find “a higher power” in their lives so they can move to a better place. His religious beliefs have developed since financial instability and poor choices became the backdrop of his life.
Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Phillip was about ten when his family moved to the Los Angeles area. When he was about sixteen, Phillip dropped out of school, and hitched a ride with a truck driver acquaintance of his dad’s to return to New Mexico. For the next few years found gigs playing in a rock and roll band with his cousins. His specialties are singing and acoustic guitar, but singing is what he enjoys most.
When he moved back to Southern California he dreamed of a music career, but he didn’t pursue it. Instead he acquired his GED, married, raised a family, and found he was gifted in repairing electronics. In Lake Elsinore, Phillip worked as a field technician for Circuit City. His family grew to “five wonderful children, one boy and four girls”. Eventually he and his wife decided it was time to get out of the “snail race” and he approached his boss about a transfer. There was an opening in the Chico Circuit City, so Phillip and his wife flew to Chico, liked what they saw of the area, especially Paradise, and moved their family.
They bought a beautiful two-story home in Paradise and Phillip continued to work repairing TVs through Circuit City. Life was good, but then Circuit City faltered. Phillip decided to begin a successful business in Paradise called “Accurate Electronics,” but soon his life took a turn for the worse and eventually spun out of control due to the economy in decline and an unfortunate accident. His wife slipped and fell down stairs fracturing three vertebrae in her spine. The surgery was not successful making a second surgery necessary. During all this, she suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed on one side.
Phillip acknowledged that he had always been a social drinker, mainly beer, but soon after he began to “self medicate” to numb himself. He added hard liquor to his life. This led to a neglect of his business and his family. He eventually downsized and did repairs out of his garage to make ends meet. This income was not enough and he had to sell investments to pay bills. His children were begging him to quit drinking, but to no avail. In the end he sold his business and put the house on the market.
During this period of unrest and tragedy his marriage began to crumble and he continued to drink until a DUI jarred him into reality. The judge mandated that Phillip seek rehabilitation or do jail time. The night in jail after his DUI made Phillip realize that jail was not an option. He committed himself to the Well Ministry of Rescue for their yearlong program. After the Well program Phillip had little money. He couch surfed with friends for a time and then ended up on the street spiraling into depression. This is what led him to the Torres Community Shelter in late 2014. At the time he had a pending case with Social Security for disability benefits. The constant lifting and moving of heavy televisions over the years had taken its toll on his back and he had developed grand mal seizures while at The Well. This now prevents him from driving.
Phillip is grateful for the Torres Community Shelter. The staff not only made him feel comfortable, but also gave him respect as a human being. Melanie, a Service Coordinator at the Shelter is special to him because she “goes the extra 20 miles”. She helped him move his claim with Social Security through the system and helped him make a timely transition to a new life.
Making his new home in a small apartment in Chico, Phillip hopes to supplement his disability check with maintenance work, but music remains a significant part his life. He sings at the Jesus Center on Sundays and is thankful for all the help he received during his dark days. His ultimate goal is “to sing for God. I don’t know where God will take me from here, but that’s what I’d like to do.”
Interview By: Judy Collins-Hamer & Maryanne Bertram