Tim returns to mission to seek help after he veers off course

Tim led a normal, productive life for the first few decades of his life. He grew up on military bases—his father was in the Navy—and the family settled in Ventura County. He became well versed in construction, and was a union carpenter for 30 years.

Trouble started brewing though when the company he worked for sent him to Las Vegas to build hotels. “The amount of hours we were being required to work—seven days a week, 12 hours a day—it was unmanageable,” he said. “If you could work 16 hours a day and not drop, they’d allow you to.

“These projects should’ve taken five or six years, but they wanted them open in two, and the way you do that is have as many people as you can working around the clock. You can’t work like that for an extended period of time.”

Tim eventually turned to drugs to help him stay awake. “I hadn’t been a drug user,” he said, “but that stuff keeps you going. It eventually brought you down though. You can’t sustain it. Eventually the drug catches up to you, and you end up with a problem. Or the project ends, and you are left with the habit.”

Tim came back to his hometown in Ventura County to get help. “I needed to get rid of the drug problem,” he said. “I didn’t do it long, but it was long enough to destroy me.”

In 2005, Tim successfully completed the Life Recovery Program at the Ventura County Rescue Mission, a sister mission of the Central Coast Rescue Mission. He reentered the construction field, working on oil platforms. But as time passed, Tim noticed his drinking increased.

Ten years after graduation, he decided he needed to reenter the program, this time for alcohol. “The drinking got to be too much,” he said. “I had gotten rid of the drugs, but I wanted to be rid of everything.”

Tim again kicked his habit and graduated in 2016. He had done his vocational training in the operations department at the Mission, and after graduation, he became an intern. Tim was then hired by the Rescue Mission Alliance, parent organization to both the Central Coast and Ventura County rescue missions. He worked on projects throughout the organization, at all of its several facilities in Southern and Central California. He worked for RMA until 2019.

“I decided to get stupid,” he said. “After not drinking for five years, it didn’t take much to ruin what I created. … I went to (leadership), and instead of just firing me and moving on, they said, why don’t you go up to the Central Coast Rescue Mission, do the program there and get right.”

So Tim did. He entered the program here in Santa Maria, and again saw success. “When I fell, even though I was still working for the Mission, what caused me to fall, is that I had stopped going to church,” he said. “When I came back, I got reestablished. As long as I’m doing that, I’m OK.”

Tim finished the program and is interning for the Mission in operations once again, as well as helping with outreach programs. According to Tim, it’s the program’s faith-based curriculum that’s made all the difference. “I’ve seen my father go through AA,” he said. “Without something more than a sponsor you’re calling out to in crisis, it’s hard.

“Your higher power has to be God. That’s what’s worked for me. And it seems to carry a lot of people when they are struggling. It’s not about reaching out to an outer person. It’s reaching inward, to God. As long as I’m centered on that, it helps me.”

The people around Tim see the difference. Even his mom, 95, is thrilled he’s back at the Mission. “My family and friends say, ‘It seems that when you’re involved with these Rescue Mission people, you’re doing well. We’ve seen you at your best and at your worst, and you’re at your best when you’re involved with the Mission.’”

Tim is hoping to return to RMA to work if the opportunity presents itself after his internship. Even though he is of retirement age, Tim doesn’t think he’s ready to stop working. He is, however, busy preparing for another major moment in his life. His 22-year-old daughter, whom Tim has never met is ready to meet him. “We talked on the phone for the first time in our lives,” he said. “Now she’s going to come out and meet me and my mom and my sister for the first time. … There are some things going on (in my life). It’s really something.”