Archive for June, 2010
All the traditions that make the season bright for most people are absent for the men and women alone on the streets. Cal and Nancy, whose stories are in this issue, know what it’s like to be lonely and in despair.
Download the newsletter PDF to read more…2009 Fall/Winter Newsletter
Sherry was adopted as a child and felt a rejection and abandonment that would plague her for most of her life. During her teenage years growing up in Los Angeles, friends introduced her to alcohol and marijuana. “I used to go out of my way to prove I was something,” she remembers, “but I didn’t even know who I was.” It was not until she was into her 30’s that Sherry realized she had a problem with substance abuse. By this time, she was a wife and mother of four children. Sherry went in and out of jail and lost job after job as a result of her destructive lifestyle.
Sherry writes, “I have contentment and confidence in God; there used to be such a strong need for anything else to fill that void. Now its like, ‘Okay, God, what are you trying to show me; what should I be moving forward in?’”
Although she attempted to get treatment for her addiction more than once, permanent recovery remained elusive. A referral from a counselor led Sherry to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. “I had heard about the Rescue Mission in passing,” she explains, “but I never thought much about it. But once I got to Bethel House, I knew I was home.”
During her year in the residential program, Sherry went through a process of facing the deep hurt that she had been running from since her childhood. One day at a time, Sherry began to explore the root issues fueling her addictions. She asked a lot of questions, applied herself diligently to her counseling workbook, and learned to be truly honest with herself and other for the first time. Simple lessons like learning discipline, setting boundaries and receiving forgiveness had significant results. Sherry’s relationships with her children, now grown, were transformed. “So much has happened in my heart…” she reflects, “in my entire life.” One of the Bethel House volunteers, Shirley, became Sherry’s mentor. The women developed a wonderful relationship that is a source of encouragement and friendship and still continues to this day.
Today, Sherry is excited to be working full-time at the Rescue Mission’s main facility on Yanonali Street. She encounters many women who call in seeking help and she tells them “If you really want what is offered here, your recovery will happen.” Sherry’s life is living proof.
I grew up in Santa Barbara County and started using marijuana as a teenager. My parents were going through a divorce and I began to distance myself from life at home. At 17 I began using methamphetamines, all the while trying to keep my lifestyle a secret from my mother. After years of sneaking around, I was caught by the police and sent to jail. At that point, my mom was through with me. I was at a point where I needed to get clean. I was exhausted. Everything else I’d done didn’t work—it was time to change. I went through the Rescue Mission’s Bethel House program and graduated in 2006. Not only did I overcome methamphetamines, but the staff even helped me to stop smoking! Bethel House saved my life. The staff cared about my life when I didn’t care at all.
Kim, Cambi’s mother, shares her experience “I remember going to Family Day with Cambi one Saturday towards the middle of her treatment. We came to one of the more emotional points in the session and Cambi knelt down in front of me. She held my hand and looked into my eyes as she shared her heart. She was being honest and open for the first time in a long time. It was a touching moment—kind of a rebirth for us. I don’t think people know where to send the people that they love. Today, it’s like a whole new world—now I know there is help out there. Without the Rescue Mission I don’t think that Cambi would have gotten sober.”
Cambi adds, “I look back and I think ‘Wow—I’m so different.’ When I was in my addiction, I couldn’t spend more than 10 minutes with my mom; now, I hunger for her time. To me, that’s a big change. She’s amazing. Today I care about my life and I care about the young lady that I see in the mirror. I am no longer a victim of my past. I work full-time, I am responsible, and when I give my word I follow through on it. Best of all, I have a great relationship with my mother.”
A poem written by Austin’s daughter
Kelly McIntosh 2002
I missed you today. That genuine miss, where you can truly feel your heart ache. And you would drop everything just to see someone for a moment. It isn’t just the miss of a title anymore. I think it was… I missed a dad. I missed you, Dad. Because in my innocent eyes and confused heart you did not leave because you had to, you left because you wanted to. The drink was more important. But that was then. We’re done with the broken promises, lonely holidays, unseen soccer games, and the loss of what I knew to be a family. I stopped getting my hopes up just to be let down as you floated in and out of recovery. Because my heart was not that strong. But now, I truly believe it does not have to be. I trust you. Five years of never touching a drink. Five years to rebuild your life. Five years to rebuild mine. And when I look back now, I only see the old, good times. Only a few grains of sorrow left in my heart to remind me to keep my feet on the ground. And now, there are those days, I think about how much I want to wake up in the morning and see your face. How the only place I think I may be truly happy, is laughing by your side. I’m so proud of you, Dad. I wish you could see yourself from my eyes. See how selfless, and amazing you are. Understand how many lives you inspire… when you are sober. And although the past had its heartbreaks and times when even breathing seemed hard, I know I would not be the same person I am without them. And if you had not recovered I may not have realized how much I love you. Thank you Daddy, for giving me that chance.