Stories of Hope
Jeremy was just 13 when he started experimenting with drugs, carrying on his family’s legacy of substance abuse. “My uncle and my grandmother died of alcoholism. And my mother was a big pot smoker,” he says.
When he was 19, Jeremy began drinking instead. “I just wanted to fit in. It was a social thing. I didn’t realize I was becoming addicted.” That was the beginning of a 20-year battle that took over his life. “I was still working, but I’d rather spend my money on alcohol than rent, so I lived in my car and took showers at different places.”
Charles was devastated when he lost his mom to alcoholism... but even that wouldn’t be the wake-up call he needed to find help for his own addiction.
After Charles’ mom passed away, his dad got cancer. Charles became his full-time, live-in caregiver. As his dad started to get better, Charles planned to live on his own again.
“Addiction comes when you’re not seeing it and it’ll run you down like a monster,” Darryll says.
He should know. He had a wonderful family, a lucrative job, and a lovely home, but partying with his co-workers set him in the path of that monster. “We thought we were just having fun, but it went to another level for me,” Darryll says. “It started out slow, but my drinking and drug use progressed.”
"My father was a heroin addict and my mother was a meth addict,” Nick says.
“That was my life growing up.”
Nick began drinking and smoking marijuana in grade school and, by the time he was 14, he was using Vicodin.
“I thought it healed my pain, but it got to a point where I couldn’t take enough pills to feel better,” he says. “Then I found heroin and my life spiraled out of control. I was 17.”
Josie and her 16-year-old son came here from El Paso because work was scarce. “I had a part-time job there, but I couldn’t meet the rent,” she says. “I had a friend who invited us to come out here and stay, but her place was overcrowded so we had to move.”
Imagine a life like Gina’s: happily married, raising three daughters, working a job she enjoyed. Then imagine no longer being able to see that life... or anything, actually. That’s what happened when Gina suddenly lost her eyesight.
Gina was blinded by disease. After many doctor appointments, she was diagnosed with a rare brain disease that affects 1 in 1,000 people.
A small car may make a temporary shelter, but it doesn’t make a home.
As a mother of two, Tascolony had more than just herself to think about when tough times hit.
She was holding down a job and trying to make ends meet when her lease was suddenly terminated. The only option she and her children had was to live in their car.
Mark had done a lot of traveling before he ended up here at the Mission.
He’s been places he never wants to be again. Like Skid Row in downtown LA. Or the woods around Big Sur where he had to watch out for bears and cougars. Or the drug-infested homeless areas of San Jose and Santa Cruz.
Evelyn was collecting social security benefits and operating a produce truck to support herself and three of her children. Then the unthinkable happened. “I was trying to make the extra money we needed for food and laundry and to pay the bills,” she says. “But since I was self-employed, the IRS thought I was making more money than I was claiming. So they cut my benefits and I ended up losing my apartment.”