Rickie’s divorce was a traumatic event in his life, and led to an increase in his alcohol use. He ended up with three DUIs in a year, and the final one resulted in almost a year in jail. When he was released in October 2020, the pandemic had been in full swing for months. “I had not been out in the world when it hit,” he said. “Everything was so different.”
Rickie had already applied to the Mission’s Life Recovery Program and was accepted. “I had the time, in jail, to really take a look at myself and the issues going on with me,” he said. “After I was released, I came straight here.”
Rickie said he’s been “blessed with health, and doesn’t like a lot of idle time.” He had worked part time for Home Depot in the past and was hoping to secure a job there once more. After graduation, Rickie did just that.
Rickie said he knows God brought him to the Mission and is grateful he could work on some major medical needs, adopt a strong faith community, and learn some coping skills for recovery. He still attends church and has healthy community in his life.
“I was given the opportunity to secure my future, the years I have left in this world. That spiritual foundation—it’s strengthening me. It’s making my life much more secure and positive, and allowing me to be in service to others as well.”
Back in April 2018, Jairo ended up at the Mission—and he wasn’t happy about it. He was coming off of a six-month sentence for burglary charges, and was court-ordered to come to a program after completing the jail time. “When I first got here, I really didn’t like it,” Jairo said. “I didn’t like the rules. And I had so much guilt for basically putting my wife and all my daughters on the streets.”
With Jairo in a long-term program, he couldn’t be working. And that meant his wife and seven daughters wouldn’t be provided for. For six months, Jairo’s sister let his family move into her apartment. The eight of them shared a room with four of his nieces. “I just wanted to get out and get to work so I could start to recover all the things I lost,” he said. “So I could find a place for my daughters to live.”
But Jairo buckled down and his faith blossomed. “I’ve learned to rest on God, give all of my problems to him,” he said. “I could’ve gotten killed … when I was stealing. I know God was with me. He gave me this opportunity to change because I think he wanted … me to do something with my life.”
Jairo, his wife and eight children, relocated to Oklahoma last year. Jairo transitioned careers, from working as a foreman in the fields to laying concrete, and is making significantly more money now. When they lived in California, Jairo and his family had a two-bedroom apartment. They are now able to live in a five-bedroom home. His kids are all in school and doing very well, and the family has found a home church and are in the process of becoming members.
Growing up without his parents was challenging for Dallas. He took care of his grandmother and his three younger siblings after his grandfather died of a heart attack when 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 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 (opioid 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.”
Dallas took off to California, started smoking marijuana, and was in and out of mental hospitals. He 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.”
At 20, Dallas decided he wanted to get sober. He found the Mission, and after a few months sober, seeing a therapist, and embracing his faith, he started experiencing life differently. He’s nearing graduation and attending Allan Hancock classes to get his GED. He’s considering higher education or possibly entering the work force.
“Clients as young as Dallas often don’t make it this far along in the program,” said Mission Director Chris Rutledge. “Too often they behave as if they’re indestructible and return to old life habits, while also abandoning the healthy rhythms they picked up at the Mission. Dallas is an exception, and is exceptional. He has grown significantly in the ways he handles conflict and processes his emotions. When it comes to addiction recovery and lasting life change, these are the deal breakers. We’re proud of Dallas and expect great things from him in 2022!”
Miguel was raised by a single mother. “She worked, so I grew up kind of fast. After high school, that’s kind of when my life went for the worse. I’ve been struggling ever since. I feel like I’ve been struggling my whole life.”
Miguel started doing drugs, first marijuana and then methamphetamines. He tried rehabilitation programs, but they were always court-ordered. “It didn’t get me where I wanted to be,” he said. “I did it, but it was because I didn’t want to go to prison. The whole time, I was still using drugs.”
Miguel spent time in jail, which made it harder to “get on my feet,” he said. “So I stayed on the streets, surviving on my own. I’ve been homeless pretty much since I was 18, living at rehabs, programs, and for the most part friend’s houses.”
At his sister’s urging, Miguel tried the Mission’s program. “The Mission was a safe haven for me. I came in and didn’t have to worry about anything. They provided everything—a place to stay, shower, eat. I talked to (Director) Chris a lot and was mentored by him. He taught me how to deal with different behaviors and conflicts. He would tell me, ‘Maybe you need to look at things like this.’ Everyone needs someone to talk to, a Christian mentor. It’s comforting.”
Nearly 4 years ago, Miguel met a woman in a program and she became pregnant. The child was taken at birth, as the mother tested positive for drugs. Now, more than a year after graduating, Miguel has full custody of his son, who will be 3 in May.
“Being a single father is extremely difficult, but Miguel’s showed incredible maturity and sacrifice,” said Director Chris Rutledge. “His family is an incredible source of support for him. He still comes by the Mission at least once a month to support and encourage men in the program. God has done an incredible work in Miguel’s life and we’re encouraged by the literal miracle!”