Archive for August, 2016

“I dug a hole so deep it was like a grave and that’s where I slept.”

Karla was abused . . . by those she trusted the most. The fact that she is here, still alive today, is a miracle—after being physically abused as a child, only to experience more terror in foster Graduate Poster 2015 008care—bearing the pain and impact of both without professional help for so many years.

“All I wanted to do was not exist. And a friend of mine said he had the perfect cure for everything I was going through—and introduced me to cocaine. “It worked,” she says—for awhile. “I didn’t sleep so I didn’t have the nightmares. But it got worse and progressed and I became an addict. I put myself in situations where I should not be alive. I OD’d. I was stabbed. I lost my house. Lost everything. And went to jail.”

“Every time somebody told me there was a program I could do that would turn my life around, I would turn it down, because I didn’t believe . . .” But finally God spoke to Karla’s aching heart, she listened, she believed and Karla came here to the sanctuary of Bethel House. Gratefully, she says, “I’ve been given a chance to heal—and I have never been offered that in my life. Not by anybody.” Karla graduated in 2015 and is enjoying her life today as a mother, grandmother, volunteer, and she sponsors women at Bethel House.

Irene H.

Irene was the spokesperson for Bethel House at the July 2016 graduation ceremony.  She has a tragic story, but she is triumphantly beginning a brand new chapter.

The Class of July 2016


A year ago, I was drunk in a bottle. I didn’t have a job, and my wife was about ready to leave me. A year later, I have a job–as of today! I haven’t lost my family, and my in-laws aren’t upset with me anymore.” –Jay

On July 23, we honored the 18 men and women who graduated from our state-certified drug and alcohol treatment program. These graduates shared stories of addiction, and how they were able to rebuild their broken lives at the Rescue Mission. The majority are employed or they are planning to continue their education. We have maintained a 93 percent employment rate among those completing our year-long treatment program. We are so thankful to El Montecito Presbyterian Church for hosting the ceremony and blessing each grad with a Bible. We couldn’t do this without our donors and volunteers who help to make this miraculous work possible.

“This place really has saved my life.”



Forty years ago, a sixth-grade teacher handed a Bible to a boy named David. Opening the front cover, he had written, “Rejoicing in hope, patient in times of tribulation and constant in prayer,” Romans 12:12.  Underneath, he added, “I hope you will find comfort in this verse someday.”  Those words came back to David as he sat in despair on the railroad tracks not far from here—homeless, addicted, and alone.

“I was scared,” David says, “I didn’t know who I was.” And he prayed for his life.  God answers prayers: three days later he was in detox, two weeks after that he found a place open in the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission’s 12-month, faith-centered recovery program.  David completed his year in the program and is employed at a local non-profit organization.  “This place really has saved my life,” he says with tears of gratitude in his eyes, “and if I can be saved and helped, then there’s hope for others, too.”

Dillon’s Deliverance


Dillon played baseball in high school and was always the apple of his mother’s eye . . . until he disappeared into addiction for seven, long, terrible years. “By the age of 18 I was full-blown addicted to severe pain medication,” he remembers, “And that’s when the vicious cycle of opium addiction really took over my life. I started feeling the withdrawals when I didn’t have it, one thing led to another . . . and then I found heroin.”

After that nothing mattered to Dillon but the drug. Until he hit rock bottom. “I was extremely underweight, I was broken, and I had nothing, nothing at all,” he says, “except a tiny seed of hope.” That’s when Dillon went down on his knees—and prayed. “I was lost, and cried out for help,” he says, with tears in his eyes at the memory. “Then a week later, my mom found me on the streets.” She brought him here—to the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. “That’s all it took,” he says in relief.

Coming to the Mission allowed me to find out who Jesus is and allowed me to have a relationship with God. I don’t think I would have found that if I hadn’t come here. That’s the basis of my sobriety,Dillon says gratefully.  He is completing the final days of his year-long program, attending Santa Barbara City College, and passing all of his classes.