Archive for March, 2013

“I was on the freeway off ramp, camped out there…”

I don’t think Kim ever really had a chance at a normal life.  You probably wouldn’t have either if your mom was an addict.  Kim’s mom was also a nurse, so drugs were all too easy to get her hands on.

“My mom was dependent on pills and was always giving me pain meds for anything,” she says, “so I became chemically dependent at a young age.  I used to party with my mom, so there were no repercussions.”  With a 25-pill-a-day habit, Kim could have overdosed and died . . . at any time.  Like I said, she never even had a chance.

When Kim reached her lowest point — when she was dumpster diving for food and living under an overpass, she turned to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission for emergency shelter and entered our Outpatient Program.  “I’m a totally different person today,” she says.  “I was on the freeway off ramp, camped out there, and the Mission kept me from living like that.  My life is just beginning, which is scary, but I have a lot of hope, instead of guilt.”

Kim is well on her way to recovery now.  She’s been clean for months, and in her own words, “My obsession for using is gone, and the anxiety is gone.”  She’s landed a job, and it’s a good one.  She can hardly wait for the day when she’ll be reunited with her one-year-old son.

Rosie is Restored

Rosie barely knew her daddy.  He went to prison when she was just a little girl.  She missed him fiercely, but it didn’t matter — he couldn’t be there when she needed him.  Rosie’s mom was addicted to drugs, so it fell to her grandmother to raise her.  Her grandmother was a good woman, but there was a void in Rosie’s heart that she simply could not fill.

Some would have deemed her hopeless.  That she even finished school was a miracle.  “I had pretty much dropped out,” Rosie says, and that was only the beginning.  Soon she was trapped in a downward spiral . . . where all she wanted was her next fix and a place to sleep for the night.  “I was the lowest of the low,” she remembers — “the most broken addict you will ever see or care to know…”

She was a wreck when she came to us — in every way you can imagine. “I don’t know if you noticed my scars up and down my arms,” she says.  “I was almost a goner from doing drugs.”

That was more than a year ago now.  We’ve seen Rosie blossom into a new woman — not at all the angry, fearful, and confused woman who, when she came to us, was “always looking over my shoulder.”  For the first time in her adult life, she’s drug-free.  She wants to become an x-ray technician, and she’s living in a place of her own.

An Easter Miracle

Leslie didn’t set out to destroy herself.  But by the time she came to us, she had lost all hope.

Leslie was just a pitiful shell of a woman when she got here.  “I remember standing at the mirror, looking at my arms, and my eyes, and just how sunken they were,” Leslie remembers.  “I didn’t recognize myself.  I stood there bawling, ‘Who is this?  Is this my life?’”

“I was too afraid to commit suicide, but I figured drugs would take care of that for me,” she recalls.  This Easter will be so different for Leslie.  “I had never experienced Easter for what it truly is,” she says.  “It’s just a beautiful experience.”  Her life has literally been raised from the dead — her health is back, she’s been restored, and she’s broken free from addictions that had her in a death grip.

Leslie graduated from the Mission’s 12-month recovery program on March 2, 2013.

 

Graduation Video 2012

We’re so grateful to Russell Shannon for capturing a graduation ceremony on video. Please enjoy these graduates from our 12-month residential recovery program, as they share their personal success stories.

Deron’s Deliverance

He looked like the kid next door.  He was quiet.  In his own words, a bit of a mama’s boy.  But there was more to Deron than met the eye — he’d been drinking since grade school.  By the time he turned 14, he was living on the streets.

“Wherever they would let a fourteen-year-old hang out and drink and use drugs, that’s where I was,” Deron remembers sadly.  He longed to fit in.  And he was desperate to dull his pain.  As long as life was one big party, he could forget how much it hurt to be part of a broken family.  After 27 years of poisoning himself, he realized that every crime he committed separated him from others.

Deron was back in jail and headed to prison for the seventh time.  He remembers, “crying yourself to sleep at night in a jail dorm with 70 other guys is not the most comfortable situation.”  When he was rejected by two other programs, the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission accepted him into the 12-month residential recovery program.  His prayers were answered, “This really was no less than a lifeline thrown to a dying person.”

Deron graduated from the program on March 2, 2013, attends college, and has a good job.  “There is no way to express the difference this has made in my life.”  he says.  “I thought that I would die in my addiction.  Today I believe there is a different life ahead for me.”

Obituary for Christopher Allen Rittershaus

Christopher Allen Rittershaus, 48 of Santa Barbara, formally of Peabody, MA passed away unexpectedly on February 23, 2013.

Born in Alexandria, VA, he was the son of Glenda (Pierce) Rittershaus of Newburyport, MA, and Charles Rittershaus of Ventura, CA. He was raised in Peabody and was a graduate of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School in 1982.

Chris moved to California where he pursued a career in music. He was a musician who taught, composed and performed professionally. Chris also worked security at the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. He loved spending time with his daughter, Kira, especially when they would write and perform music together.
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In addition to his parents and his daughter, Kira, he is survived by his brother, Kevin Rittershaus of Lynn, MA and his wife Jamie and his two sisters, Kelly Rittershaus-Smith of Ventura, CA and Carolyn Rittershaus of Newburyport, MA. He also leaves several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

A scholarship fund has been set up for Chris’ daughter, Kira. If you would like to donate please mail donations to:
Olga Rittershaus
7170 Davenport Road, Apt 202
Goleta, ca 93117
In memo write CUTMA or for billpay routing #12223478 accr # 192691567. Please make checks payable to: Kira Rittershaus