A native Texan, David, along with his mother, moved to Van Nuys at 17 years old to live with his sister. David’s mom suffered from depression, so he took on the role of caring for and looking after her. But David’s sister soon felt the weight of providing financially for him and his mom. “She was working hard to give us a life but she couldn’t take care of us anymore,” he said.
David’s mother’s mental illness progressed. “It got to the point where we couldn’t keep my mother at home,” he said. “She wanted to be on the streets. My mom needed to be looked after, so I stayed on the streets with her.”
Before moving out his of sister’s home, David started using drugs, and homelessness only increased his drug use. “I got in with the wrong people living in L.A.—Skid Row was hard, rough.” David continued to look after his mom while on the streets; she drank and he used drugs to survive the harsh conditions. David grew tired of using drugs and watching his mom deteriorate, so he reached out to a church for help.
For the next three years, David grew in his relationship with God and was sober. He was part of a church that did mission work, and he even went to Africa to help others. But when he returned to check on his mom, he stopped going to church. “My mom got better—she started taking her medication, but I got worse.” The drinking and using returned.
“I’m excited about how life is going to look. I’m not beating myself up and I’m trying not to condemn myself. This time I am humbling myself and letting go of everything I thought I knew. I am surrendering it all.”
David knew God was trying to get his attention. “I would be walking the streets and people would come up to me and say, ‘Bro, why are you out here? You don’t belong here.’ Eventually, I was invited to church.” Soon after, David found the Rescue Mission Alliance Central Coast.
Since coming to the Mission, David has benefited from getting to the root of his addictions through the Life Recovery Program. He says that the faith aspect has been a “recall” for him. “The relationship I have had with the Lord has always been there.”
The prayers David prayed throughout the years are being answered as he is rebuilding his relationships with his sister and mother. He said, “The streets stole so much from me. My addiction and alcoholism robbed me and now I am trying to make up for lost time.” David’s sister and mother want him around and they want him to meet his nieces and nephews.
Program Manager Luke Johnson also sees God changing David’s life. “David came in hurt and burned out,” he said. “He’s an incredible guy with a heart for ministry. But most importantly he’s discovering a deeper level of the Father’s love.” Patience is also key in David’s recovery, he said. “I am learning to take it one day at a time. I am not rushing it. I’m just letting the process take over,” David said.
As David grows stronger in his faith he sees a greater need for God’s grace. “I’m excited about how life is going to look. I’m not beating myself up and I’m trying not to condemn myself. This time I am humbling myself and letting go of everything I thought I knew. I am surrendering it all.”
David is looking forward to more than just graduating from the program. “I am excited about the end when I can say I completed something and maybe be a case manager one day so I can help someone like I have been helped.”