Joseph revels in the restoration of his family relationships

Joseph returned to the program after a freak injury led to relapse.

Joseph returned to the program after a freak injury led to relapse.

“My life was for the most part very difficult,” said Joseph. “I grew up in a house with a gang member as a father. But my mom loved God and took me to church, so I knew God cared about me and was working in my life.”

Joseph doesn’t have many memories of his dad, as he was in and out of prison. When he was home, it wasn’t pleasant. “He was always bringing gang members to the house and drinking or getting high in the garage,” he said. “When he went to prison, it was almost a relief, because then the chaos would stop and my mom would stop getting beaten.”

Joseph moved to the Bay Area with his dad, who then gave him a gun and some money and left. “He took off with his girlfriend,” Joseph said. “So I went to the streets and did the same think I was doing in Santa Maria.”

Joseph got married at 23 and had two children. “When I was in my addiction, I heard the small voice in my heart that God didn’t want me to be doing those things,” he said. “Even then I knew God was speaking to me and nudging me to do the right thing.”

In 2021, Joseph was facing nine years in prison. “I told the judge I was a drug addict,” Joseph said. “He sent me to the Mission. I was excited to go to a place where I could grow spiritually.”

Joseph faced a major hiccup during a beach day while in the program. He left the group and jumped from a rock about 15 feet over the water. He fell onto a rock covered by two inches of sand. “I broke both my knees,” he said. “I was in so much pain, but I knew God spared my life. I was in the hospital for two months.”

Joseph spent time at his parents’ home recovering. “I got really depressed and started using again.”

Joseph has been back at the Mission for a few months now, and he’s seeing restoration with his family. “My mom was expecting that she’d get a call saying I’d been killed. Now she sleeps well knowing I’m OK and am changing my life. … The other day I hugged my mom, and we both started crying. I feel like I’m getting to know her in the ways I should have when I was growing up.

“I’m thankful she never stopped fighting for me. I want to see her happy now because she’s prayed for me my whole life. If you’re struggling with a loved one who’s in addiction, don’t stop praying for them. They need it.”

Joseph is working on improving his relationships with his son and daughter. “They got to the point where they didn’t like my behavior and they didn’t trust me,” he said. “I wasn’t there for them. I talk with my daughter now and I pray with her. I talk to my son every day too. My kids ask for advice. I’m a dad again, and that’s something I wanted so badly after I forfeited it to drugs.

“God is giving me a heart to help homeless people now. I know what it’s like to be homeless, sick, left for dead. I want to help people who are going through what I’ve gone through.”