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Jeff ‘sacrificed everything’ for his addiction

Mar 1, 2019

Jeff grew up in Santa Barbara in a middle class family, and he was always acting out. “I have three sisters, and I was always the rebel, since kindergarten,” he said. “I believe it just snowballed out of control my whole life. Whether it’s negative or positive, I just wanted attention. I was always smart in school, but I’d just choose the stuff everyone said you shouldn’t do.”

Now 49, Jeff said he’s spent most of his time in “youth authority, state prison, negative peer groups, drugs, gangs—I thought that was just the way it was for me.”

Most of Jeff’s charges were drug related, including robbery and possession, and he was also involved in a shooting. “I was strung out on heroin,” Jeff said. “I didn’t have a job, and the withdrawals … maintaining that addiction was first and foremost. I sacrificed everything else for that for a long time.”

Jeff has two daughters, 17 and 22, and he’s been estranged from them for years. “I just want to try to get a relationship with my daughters back,” he said.

Jeff has entered a lot of drug programs, and has never stayed. “It’s been a blessing here at the mission because they’ve accepted me where I’m at,” he said. “Now that I have a little time, I can learn and read the word. That’s where I’m starting—with the basics. This place gives you the room to do that. The acceptance they give me, it makes me want to invest my time here. It’s a blessing to be where I’m at.”

Jeff has set his priorities. “I want a real relationship with God. A solid foundation and faith are of the utmost importance. My way has never worked. At the end of the day I know that.”

The staff has helped Jeff in his journey. “If it was any other dynamic, it wouldn’t be the way it is,” he said. “The director, program manager, every person here, they have a genuine heart, want and desire for you to do better for yourself and for God. I’m just trying to be the best I can be, and then I have to just give it to God. I still have times of discontent, but I know that if I just pray on it, it works out. I’m much more grateful of a person being here. I’m on the right path. I’m happy joyous and free.”

“I’ve learned to let a lot of things go,” Jeff added. “Guilt and shame are a big issue in my life. But I’ve learned that’s OK and we’ll figure it out. I don’t feel like I have to act out to get support. It’s not how you start, it’s the path you take and the steps you take to get there. I just want to keep climbing, and keep progressing. This is a good start for me. I’m just very grateful that I was given this chance. I’m just so appreciative.”

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