Luis holds a copy of one of his favorite books, “Jesus te llama.”

Luis holds a copy of one of his favorite books, “Jesus te llama.”

When Luis was 7 years old he moved from Mexico to Lompoc with his family. He grew up in a loving and supportive family and valued his relationship with his father.

But in 2000, Luis’ father died leaving Luis with a “hole in his heart.” To fill the void of his father’s passing, Luis turned to alcohol. “I was really sad and depressed and that’s when the drinking started,” he said.

Luis’ wife of 15 years could see that drinking was having a negative effect on him. After they had a daughter, she intervened more and more. “(My wife) would tell me to stop drinking, but I just kept drinking more and because of that she left me.”

Luis dove further into alcohol and drugs. He knew his family loved him and they tried to help, but the alcohol made him angry. “I was aggressive,” he said. “I would cuss at my family and pushed them away. I broke windows at my mom’s house and a restraining order was placed on me.”

Luis survived living on the streets and supported his addictions by recycling cans. He would “get a meal here and there” but never found shelter at night. “I was able to survive this way for a year,” he said.

After a violent encounter during the holidays, Luis was arrested, and while in jail he was given the opportunity to finish his time in jail or participate in an addiction recovery program. Luis chose the Life Recovery Program at the Central Coast Rescue Mission.

While Luis was thankful for the second chance at life, he remembers that the first few days in the program were challenging. “I had never been in a program before, so I had to adjust to the rules, but it is so good here.”

Luis is thankful for the dedication of the staff. “They walk me through all the steps,” Luis said. “I am like a sponge absorbing it all and I like it!” He is hopeful to reconcile with his family and knows that learning about God and overcoming his addiction is possible. “The others in the program encourage me and they want me to be my best. I feel like they are my family.”

The Bible studies have given Luis a new relationship with God, he said. “I am learning to be confident in God and that He loves me and He has given me a mind to choose Him.” Luis can feel something taking place within him. “I am changing slowly both mentally and spiritually with God’s help,” he said.

Luke Johnson, the Mission’s program manager, also sees a difference. “We’re seeing God transform him before our eyes. He’s filled with hope, peace, and excitement for his future and how he’s drawing closer to his Savior.” Luis enjoys attending church with fellow program members and his favorite part of being at the Mission is waking up each day, praying and going to church.

Luis knows he can now look into the future with hope-filled eyes for reconciliation with his family. “I know my family still loves me and they are happy I am here in the program, and I am happy too, because I am learning about God and I am changing because of it.”