After A Relapse In The Desert, Steve Builds On His Foundation At The Mission
Steve spent 15 years on the streets in the High Desert. He slept down by the Mojave River, and dropped into the Victor Valley Rescue Mission for meals and hygiene supplies. Shortly after his 52nd birthday, Steve had a change of heart. He decided it was time to quit using and drinking, and asked for real help in 2017.
Steve graduated from the mission’s program and moved into the Transitional Living Program house. “I got a job,” Steve said. “I got my first cell phone ever. I was taking my eyes off God. I wasn’t going to church like I should have been. I was getting on my phone. I started listening to secular music again.”
Steve worked as a janitor, and had a couple weeks off around Christmas. “I didn’t have to go back to work until after the New Year,” he said. “I had a little time on my hands, and I just said to myself, or someone was saying to me, ‘You can have a drink.’”
Steve had been sober for nearly two years, but headed down to Old Town Victorville for a street fair. “I had already decided I was going to drink. I told myself, ‘No one is going to know.’ So I had one drink. And then I drank another, and drank another, and drank another. I’m down there drinking, and guess who I run into: Bill Edwards (the mission’s director). And of course he knew.”
Steve had money saved up and could have taken off. “I had a meeting with John Schmidt (program manager). To me, John is a mentor, a guardian angel. He asked me if I wanted to go to the Central Coast Rescue Mission program. When he brought it up, he said, ‘You probably won’t go for this.’ But I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I could’ve probably gotten a place at a sober living (facility). I had enough for first and last month’s rent for a room. But when he said it, I immediately made up my mind that I was going to go because I knew I was messing up.
“They wanted to get me away from the neighborhood. I couldn’t go back and not expect the same results. I was doing good, but the mission was always right there. I was in a little cocoon. What I did was take my focus off what I needed to do. It wasn’t a coincidence that I saw Bill Edwards that day.”
Steve has been in Santa Maria for three months. “I’m missing home,” he said. “I want to go back home. But what does home have for me? I know God has me here for a reason. I don’t just sit here and pout. I open up my bible. I listen to what people say here, because I hear the voice of God through them.
“God is telling me to stay here. He’s saying, ‘I love you that much. Love me back. Do as I say.’ It’s an everyday battle for me. The warmer it gets, I think, I could go out there. But where’s it going to lead me? It’s going to lead me to that first drink again.”
Aside from his homesickness, Steve is enjoying the program. “Everybody is great here,” he said. “I appreciate everything everyone is doing for me. I don’t plan on being in this program my whole life. But I plan on being a part of the rescue mission. Anything I can do for somebody, I’m going to do my best.”
Looking forward, Steve said he’ll go wherever God leads him. “I’m just looking to live a Godly life, the best way I can, and be self-sufficient doing it. I fell down, but I got right back up. The foundation has been built, and I’m getting even stronger.”