Johnny got to the Mission six months ago.

Johnny got to the Mission six months ago.

Childhood was not easy for Johnny. Born in Lancaster and raised in Sacramento, at 8 years old Johnny’s parents divorced and he lived with his mom. “Growing up was rough,” he said. “I fought a lot with my mom, got in trouble at school, and moved from my mom’s to my dad’s.”

The early school years were good and Johnny enjoyed the friends he made. However, when he reached middle school, things started to become difficult. “I was called a trouble maker. In middle school I started using pot and that was my main drug until I was 21.”

Johnny quit smoking then and started working. He cleaned gutters and windows for two years, steering clear of drugs and alcohol. He focused on work and making a “good living” for himself. But after being laid off, Johnny found himself with too much time on his hands. “I should have stayed working, because after that job, life went downhill.”

Johnny started using heavy drugs. “I just wanted to take a break from life,” he said. “I didn’t work and my dad would help me out with money. I was hanging out on the streets and trying out different drugs. Meth is what really messed me up.”

In the years that followed after Johnny started using methamphetamine, he was in and out of prison for various assaults. “I would get in a fight with a roommate or family and the cops would be called and I’d end up going to jail and then prison,” he said. “I have been in and out of prison over the past five years.”

After his last prison term, the courts granted approval for a drug treatment program. Johnny went into a program, but he said it wasn’t a good fit, so he left. For weeks Johnny was on the streets again, however, he knew this was not the life he wanted to continue to live. He started searching for other programs, and found the Mission.

Over the past six months, Johnny has diligently been working in the Life Recovery Program to break his addiction. He sees the importance of needing Jesus to change his old patterns of living. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without faith,” Johnny said. The heaviness of living on the streets with his addiction has lifted. “I am happy and smile now. I have hope.”

The classes and Bible teachings are showing Johnny how living without drugs is possible. “I was broken and suffering and didn’t think I could stop, but now I see I have a future,” he said. As part of the program, Johnny volunteers to serve food and set up showers for those experiencing homelessness. “It feels good doing something for others. I feel like I have a purpose and that I’m doing something with my life. I can see my character is changing and I am building a stronger relationship with God.”

The years of drug addiction and fighting have broken trust within Johnny’s family, but he is slowly healing his familial relationships and earning his father’s trust back. Johnny’s dad is proud of the progress he is making within the program. “I am hoping to mend the wounds I have made and I look forward to calling my mom and telling her I turned my life around.”

Keeping the focus on God is Johnny’s plan for sobriety. “My life is centered around God now and He has turned my life around,” he said. “I didn’t think I had any hope and couldn’t see a future without drugs and I never smiled, but now I am happier building my relationship with the Lord.”