After opening a bible for the first time, Nicolas wants to know more
Nicolas was born in Mexico and came to the United States when he was 15 with his brothers and his mother. “I started going to school and working at the same time,” he said. “I got to 12th grade, but didn’t graduate. I didn’t have enough credits.”
Nicolas had started smoking marijuana toward the end of high school. He had been working in construction, but when he got a job working in a restaurant, Nicolas stopped attending high school classes. “Eventually I got two jobs and I was working all the time,” he said. “I started using. I was trying all different drugs. I started getting into problems with the law. They found drugs on me. I started going to jail.
“Ever since I stopped going to high school, I started using more and more drugs. I started trying harder drugs because I was working so much.”
When Nicolas was 27, he started using meth. He is 30 now. Before he came to the program, Nicolas was in jail for four months. His public defender recommended the Mission’s Life Recovery Program. “Now I’m here, trying to stop using drugs for good, and trying to get my life together,” he said.
Nicolas is over 10 months clean now. “I’m happy to be here and to be sober,” he said. “I didn’t have any idea what the program was going to be like. It was my first time. But I’m happy to be here.”
Nicolas mostly speaks Spanish, although he speaks a bit of English and can understand much of it. “I’ve been helping him since he’s been here,” said Dennis, a fellow client who was serving as a translator. “The staff gets books for him in Spanish and he’s much more comfortable now. This is all new to him, but he wants to know more.”
Nicolas said he enjoys hanging out with the other men in the program, cooking and eating all together, and studying the bible. “I want to learn more about the bible,” he said. “Before I got here, I had never opened a bible. I’ve never been in this world. I’m really looking forward to learning more.
“My goals are to graduate the program, to get a job and start working, and to be able to be with my family again,” added Nicolas, whose brothers and mother live in Santa Barbara.