Joseph credits his decision to get help to his son, who spoke up with concern.

Joseph credits his decision to get help to his son, who spoke up with concern.

He’s now focused on God’s love and forgiveness

“I was raised right!” If someone were to ask Joseph about his childhood and his family values, this is the answer they would get. Joseph was born in Torrance and has “great memories” of his childhood. After his dad tragically died in a motorcycle accident when he was 2 years old, his mom remarried a great man who loved him and raised him well.

Joseph’s family was hard working, stable and a constant support. There was no family history with addiction, but the pressure from classmates made it hard to say no to drugs. “I started using at 16 after hearing friends talk about it,” Joseph said. “It was all around me and I just couldn’t say no.” What started out as fun and “just going to parties” quickly became a pattern. “My friends were just doing it (drugs and drinking) on the weekends, but for me it became everyday all the time.”

Throughout high school Joseph’s drug and alcohol use increased and interfered with his studies. “I was always in trouble at school,” Joseph said. “I got caught with alcohol and then four months before graduation I was accused of selling pot to minors.” Fortunately through an alternative school program, Joseph was able to graduate high school.

During Joseph’s early 20s, he was sent to jail for violating probation, but after he was released he became a carpenter, met and married a woman, and started a family. Joseph was sober, “enjoying life, and thought things were good.” However Joseph learned his wife had been unfaithful and this sent Joseph back into addiction.

After divorcing, Joseph buried his pain in heavy drugs. “I was all good before the divorce,” he said. “It was only a few beers here and there. But then after divorcing, it was anything and everything—meth, heroin—it was horrible.” Over the next few years, Joseph would find himself in and out of jail in several counties and only sober during his times behind bars.

Joseph decided he was tired of running from his past and hurting those he loved. One night while staying with his parents, Joseph’s son said to him, “Dad, I know rehab is hard, but you have to do it, so you know where you are going in life. You’ve got to get help.” Joseph credits his decision to go to the Rescue Mission Alliance Victor Valley to his son.

The first few days at the Mission were hard for Joseph. He wasn’t fully committed. “I was here because I couldn’t stay with my parents anymore and my son talked me into it,” he said. “I was doing it for them.” Once Joseph started attending the classes and the morning devotionals, his heart started to change. “I was on the fence at first,” Joseph said, “but once I started reading Matthew, I told myself I was going to stay here and do what I signed up for.”

While in the program and seeking recovery from his addictions, Joseph has also been able to take online classes for a college degree. The staff at the Mission continue to speak into Joseph’s life and guide him in both sobriety and securing his future. “I am here first to get sober and stay safe, so I do all my program requirements and at the end of the day I do my school work.”

Joseph is learning that being available to God helps in recovery. “I do my devotions, and read my Bible first thing in the morning,” Joseph said. “I now don’t let anything get in the way of serving God.” The progress that Joseph is making is also restoring his relationships with his family. “At first it (my relationship with my family) was rocky, but they see I am serious this time and the trust is coming. It’s been really good.”

Joseph plans to continue his recovery while attending college and is most thankful for seeing God work in his life. “I now see just how beautiful God is, and how loving and forgiving He is.”