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After Bout With Homelessness, Anthony Embraces Growth at the Mission

Jan 30, 2019

After living in Santa Maria for years, Anthony’s father fell in love with Hawaii. “He went there and really liked it, so he wanted us to live there,” said Anthony, who was a freshman in high school at the time. But the family’s move to paradise was short lived. After less than two years in Hawaii, Anthony’s dad died as a result of a brain aneurysm. “That was rough on me,” Anthony said. “I dropped out of high school there, and then we moved back.”

Anthony got his GED and went to college, but he soon veered off track. “I had a couple of bad break ups and wasn’t focusing on school. I was hanging out with the wrong kind of people.” He cleaned up for a bit, but a tumultuous relationship set him back. “This girl was a mess, emotionally, but I was in love with her. We moved in together but eventually lost our place. I would have to call the cops sometimes because she was suicidal.”

After the break up, Anthony drove her to Oregon to live with her grandparents. His car barely made it back. He saved up to replace it, but didn’t have enough to also get a new place. Anthony became homeless and lived in his car. And after his car was impounded, he was left with nothing. “Everything I had ever worked for was in that car. All I had were the clothes on my back.”

In the four months before entering the mission, Anthony used drugs heavily. “It was horrible,” he said. “Being homeless, sleeping on the beach—I ended up losing my mind. I was on drugs and couldn’t sleep for weeks at a time. I went to a hospital and got some help. And then a week later, I came here, and I’ve been great ever since.”

Anthony was overwhelmed when he arrived. “I wasn’t used to all the privileges—the TV, the food, the bed,” he said. “I just saw what a blessing it was. I was super thankful and everyone was really nice.”

The program has helped Anthony mature. “I think about my life in a different way now,” he said. “The focus isn’t on relationships and cars and money and drugs and partying. I’m focusing on myself, and growing spiritually.”

Anthony said he likes talking to recent program graduates. “It inspires me and makes me want to do better,” he said. “I feel like this program is my last chance to get it right. I don’t want to leave here and mess it up. I’m letting God lead, and I’m trying to take it one step at a time.”

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