In Psalm 40 it says, “I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” This verse is my story in a nutshell.
I was raised in the 60’s and 70’s in the midst of the ever present drug culture. The effects on my life began its terrible toll at an early age when I began to experiment with illegal substances, and very soon it turned into a lifestyle.
For many years I lived as a functioning addict, changing costumes and masks to manage situations while desperately trying to stay ahead of my addictions.
I was a hard worker and I advanced in the construction industry. But, no matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t stop using. Before I knew it, darkness overtook all aspects of my life throwing me headlong into prison, unemployment, near death experiences, and homelessness. I never imagined I would be without a home.
I was in a desperate place and plead for a way out, and I eventually found myself on the doormat of the Ventura County Rescue Mission.
During my time at the mission I have had good counseling, wonderful meals, learned how to help and serve others, and I grew to love God and I learned He loved me first.
I arrived as a homeless, broken man and I began to heal and I began to grow. I now know and understand that God has a plan for my life. I am looking forward to the days ahead so I can rebuild the broken bridges with roads of love with my family and friends. I am looking forward to living my life as the man God created me to be. ~ John
Free From 10 Years of Addiction
I entered the Lighthouse’s Recovery Program December 1, 2011. I feel amazingly blessed being in recovery at the Lighthouse. One thing many people are not aware of is it’s not your ordinary sober living home. I’ve been in my addiction for about 10 ½ years, trying to fix myself, trying to escape from my addiction. I’ve come to realize that life isn’t a toy or a game that I can just get rid of and just throw away. But, being an addict, I was treating my children, my family, my future, and myself as if it had no value. As a recovering addict, the best step I took was building a relationship with God and learning to depend on him. My relationship with the Lord is amazing and unexplainable all at the same time. I’ve gained many life skills and tools that will protect me from the temptations that are out there in the world.
When I first got here to the recovery program, I was broken deep down inside. I didn’t think that I would still be here today. The last person I wanted to build a relationship with was Christ, and the last thing I wanted to do was follow rules. I knew I needed help and I wanted recovery. I knew this was a safest place for my son and me. I had nothing going for me, I didn’t have a plan for myself, and I didn’t have any family support. I was lost, alone, full of addiction, and a single mother. I was broken and confused. I was confused because I still didn’t know or understand why I let my addiction take control of my life. But I’ve come to realize that God will help me and keep me secure from all the people, places, and things that can harm me.
I’ve been blessed to have my youngest son here with me in recovery. I took a parenting class that the program provides and learned how to show and teach my son healthy discipline. I’ve become a better parent and much more understanding of my children’s needs because of the Lighthouse Recovery Program. The closer I get to graduation, the more amazing this experience is for me. I’m extremely proud of myself for sticking it out and learning to depend on and trust in God. There is only one person who I can thank for rescuing me from the life I was living, and there is only one person who I know can save me from my own-self, and that is my God! He is blessing me with an amazing recovery. ~ Vivian
The prodigal son had nothing on me!
Prior to coming to the Ventura County Rescue Mission, the state of my relationship with God was a broken one. I had a rough childhood, so I decided to rebel against my parents by depriving them of me! The prodigal son had nothing on me. I left home to start my own life, or so I thought. Five years later I was single with a great job with benefits and vacation time. I was a happy boy with money to buy my big boy toys.
I eventually got involved in a relationship but it turned into a nightmare, and I could not manage it. Soon I lost my toys, my apartment, and finally my job and everything else in my name. Just like that, I was a homeless beach bum, but a very efficient one.
I eventually ended up in jail. The system viewed me as a nuisance, a danger to society, and wanted to put me away for a long time. On the last day of court, even after striking a deal at the last minute, they still wanted to put me away. But God had his hand on me. I was transferred to the Ventura County Rescue Mission by the public defender’s office.
Over the course of the last 9 months, the mission has provided me with tools to make changes and a difference in my life. I have also learned that God loves me.
I am a new man in Christ because I have turned to Him and confessed that I am a sinner in need of His guidance for the rest of my life. Now that I am graduating, I know I can make it because I am not living my life on my own, but my life belongs to God. ~ Luis L.