About a year ago, Luis was 20, battling addiction, and coming off of two years in and out of jail. He had started hanging with gang members in high school, where he was introduced to meth. He cleaned up for a bit, but after graduating and going to work in the fields, Luis started using again.
Luis’ addiction also took a toll on his family. “I was struggling with my family,” he said. “I told my mom I needed help, I needed support to keep me motivated to stop using. She said I should go to a program, that it would help a lot. But in my mind, that wasn’t going to help me.
“I’d try to bring myself up and out of it. I tried doing more positive things. I just couldn’t do it on my own.”
Finally, while in jail, Luis got to talking with another inmate. “I told him I didn’t want to be there anymore,” he said. “I wanted a new life.”
Luis struggled at first, but eventually settled into the Life Recovery Program at the Mission. “Little by little I started adapting to everything and it felt good,” he said. “It felt like God had a purpose for me in being in this program.
“I stopped focusing on having less freedom, or doing things I don’t like. I stopped focusing on the past and looked toward moving forward. We all fall. I just started letting God help me up in my life.”
Luis graduated the program two months ago, and is now interning at the Mission. “I feel proud of myself for graduating, but that’s not really the point,” he said. At just 21, Luis has a lot of life ahead of him. “I’m keeping myself sober, focusing on knowing my potential and what I’m able to accomplish.”
Luis said he likes focusing on others, and enjoys participating in outreach events. “Giving food to other people, helping out the community, that helps a lot. I’m doing good and keeping myself busy.
“I like that (I’m taking things) slowly. I take my addiction really seriously and when I’m ready to get out there, I don’t want to be dealing with it anymore.”
His relationships in the program have built up his confidence, and Luis said he’s felt supported by “all the people around me,” including staff and other residents.
Luis had a relationship with God before, he said, but he’s been building up his “spirit and mind, and thinking more positively” during his time in the program. “I’ve gotten closer to God. I’m getting more deeply into the Bible and learning about Him. It’s helping me build my mind and character.”