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.”