Archive for May, 2012
A life consumed by addiction was the only life Porfirio had ever known. His dad was a drug dealer. His much-beloved sister had overdosed and died. “I was in gangs and doing crazy stuff. Drugs ruined everything and I lost everything.” When they couldn’t take it anymore, even Porfirio’s wife and 6-year-old son gave up on him and left. That should have gotten his attention, but it only made things worse. “I was addicted and couldn’t stop,” he remembers.
People like Porfirio usually die if they don’t get help. And he could easily have become another tragic statistic. But God intervened and he was arrested. Some might celebrate this but it only creates a revolving door. Instead of prison, he was given a chance to come to the Mission and that was the turning point. Porfirio found the courage to face his addiction, and the life skills that are helping him overcome it. He no longer wanted to end his life –– he surrendered it to Christ, and he’s a whole new man. He secured employment while in the program and graduated in March. Today he is a loving father to his five children.
Pam had a good life, a beautiful home, and a husband she loved deeply. Until he started abusing her…and she had to flee for her life. It was the hardest thing she’d ever done. Before Pam knew it, she was alone…on the run…and living on the streets. It was brutal. She lost everything. Her family didn’t know if she was dead or alive. But that was nothing compared to the nightmare that ensnared her when, like so many who seek to escape from their pain, she started using drugs.
When we first met Pam, she was a shell of a woman. “I didn’t think anybody cared about me,” she says. “I was scared. I was broken. I was not able to trust.” She knew she needed help. Through our state-certified recovery program for women, Pam received professional counseling, spiritual support, and help to heal her pain. “It forced me to look at things in my life from my past and my childhood that I didn’t want to look at,” she explains. “I had the most amazing, patient counselor, and she showed me that I needed to confront those demons in my past. I learned that, if I would allow Him, God could take all of those horrible things that happened to me and use them as a stepping stone in my life rather than a stumbling block… I was totally broken, but my whole life has turned around.”
Jeff grew up hard and much too fast. He never knew his dad and his friends were his real family. When he was just 12 years old, they introduced him to drugs. It is a miracle that he even finished high school. All that mattered to him was getting high. He’d find a job…and then he’d lose it. Before long, he was sleeping in a tent in the forest at night. He still shudders at the memory of the noises…”the rats running…the wild animals and stuff.” In the midst of all of this he became a father.
The birth of his son was the happiest and worst day of his life, as he put it “I was happy that I had a beautiful baby boy but scared that I could no longer control my drug use and drinking. If I couldn’t be a father to my son, who was I?” Jeff was arrested and found himself in court. He said “I was facing a lot of time and didn’t know what I was going to do. I did the one thing I knew how to do…pray.” Jeff applied to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission while he was in jail and was accepted. He entered the path to healing, restoration, and the hope of a new life in Christ. Jeff became equipped with a biblical foundation and practical skills that will keep him from slipping back into his old lifestyle. He found a good church and, a few months later, a job that he’s kept. Jeff is a walking, talking miracle.