Dallas focuses on healing from traumas, growing spiritually
Dallas’ parents made only rare appearances in his childhood. He grew up in Oklahoma, primarily with his grandparents, until his grandfather died of a heart attack. Dallas was just 13. “I gave him CPR, but I couldn’t resuscitate him,” he said. “Shortly after, my grandma overdosed. I got her to the hospital. Two to three months later she told me she had cancer.”
Dallas took care of his grandmother and his three younger siblings. His mom popped in here and there. “My dad was never in my life,” Dallas said. “Then I found him. He was eating at the rescue mission there in Oklahoma. I stayed with him for a couple nights. He was living in an abandoned house they sold drugs out of. There were lots of guns.
“I’m from humble beginnings. I’ve seen a lot of the other side of life, and I saw it at a young age. Even though I’m from the Bible Belt, a lot of things were … it was different.”
Dallas took care of his dad for a bit. He had some money from his grandfather’s life insurance payment. At 14, he decided to leave Oklahoma and his family behind. Dallas was realizing that he had developed drug addictions unknowingly. “My grandmother cared for us well, but she was old, and we were energetic,” Dallas said. “She would give me Xanax or (opiod painkillers) when I was growing up. I was kept very well-medicated on things that weren’t prescribed for me. I didn’t understand that just because you were upset, it didn’t mean that you take drugs or drink.
“It wasn’t until I was 12 or 13 that I realized that everything that was going on wasn’t what was supposed to be happening. I remember when I was 12 asking a friend if he wanted any ‘sleepy time medicine.’ He didn’t know what I was talking about. My tolerance was growing and I was developing addictions and I didn’t know it.”
Dallas took off to California. He got off all the pills he had been taking for years, and got himself back into school. “It was hard,” he said. “I started smoking weed. I found myself in and out of mental hospitals. I realized I had a hard time accepting my grandfather’s death, and I ran away because I didn’t want to see my grandmother die too.”
In California for the next couple years, Dallas sometimes stayed with cousins, but was mostly homeless. His grandmother died during that time. “I kept dropping in and out of school. I avoided foster care. I shucked a lot of responsibility. I think about it a lot, how I should’ve helped with my grandmother. I’m trying to forgive myself.”
When Dallas returned to Oklahoma, he was 17. He went back to selling drugs and continued using. “I wasn’t a very successful drug dealer anymore,” he said. “I eventually started robbing and hurting people to get what I wanted.”
Dallas was 18 when he started using drugs intravenously. “I just roamed the streets. I stayed high, and when I started making a lot of enemies, I made my way back to California. I was trying to get clean and sober at 20. Over that year, it was hard. It’s hard without rehabilitation. Then I got here.”
Dallas arrived at the Mission four months ago. “My emotions were all over the place,” he said. “I was paranoid. But I started meeting the other guys and keeping up the positive routines. I cut out all the negative habits I’ve developed over the years. I stopped smoking cigarettes and weed, and doing drugs. I’m (five) months sober.”
Dallas has started seeing a therapist and his relationship with God has blossomed. “I’m really thankful for (the Mission),” he said. “I see all the opportunities it provides. I thought I was a Christian before, but my spirituality was more all over the place.
“I didn’t understand what it meant to be a Christian, really. I had different personalities around different people. A lot of my attributes in the past wouldn’t give God glory. I’d parrot other Christians. I thought that was the only way to get help. … I feel like I met Jesus before, but now, I know him.”
Dallas, now 21, enjoys volunteering at the thrift store, and hopes to secure a job there eventually. He wants to find work, get his driver’s license and embrace his new life. “Jesus is a very big part of my life and he welcomes everybody to be a part of his,” Dallas added. “And if anybody needs a second chance, this is where it can happen.”