Being raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Lois had great memories from her childhood. Her parents were married and out of all her siblings she was “the spoiled one,” Lois said. “Although my father struggled with drinking, I remember my childhood being a great one.”
After Lois graduated high school, she went on to college and received her associate’s degree. Looking back, Lois can see that her addiction to marijuana and drinking started when she was 18. “I would drink and smoke every day all day, not even realizing that I had an actual problem,” she said. Although Lois never gave up smoking marijuana and drinking, she still found work, a man she loved, and together they had a daughter.
She moved to Los Angeles with her daughter and her daughter’s father. The three of them lived together for 20 years, until Lois and her daughter’s father “no longer saw eye to eye.” After the separation, Lois and her daughter moved to San Diego. Unfortunately, they ran out of money moving from one hotel to another. By this time Lois now had a granddaughter too, who she was taking care of. The three of them found themselves living in Lois’ car for six months.
Lois’ daughter applied for and received housing. However, housing was only available for her daughter and granddaughter, leaving Lois homeless yet again. Lois continued to live out of her car until it broke down; she moved to the streets and found a community there. “I met this group of homeless people, and they were kind enough to embrace me,” Lois said. “They gave me a pillow, cardboard, carpet, and blankets.” The drinking and smoking continued during this time, becoming Lois’ way to cope during difficult times.
Eventually, Lois’ belongings and her ID were stolen. She asked those living around her for help, but “realized not everybody wants to help. Some people are completely comfortable living like that.” After that night she made it her goal to leave San Diego, find a women’s shelter, and get help for her addictions. “I thought I had everything under control when I really didn’t have anything under control,” she said.
A local agency gave her the information for the Rescue Mission Alliance Victor Valley. Lois quickly made her way to the Mission and was welcomed into the women’s shelter. “When I arrived to the shelter, I came empty-handed,” she said. “Right away they gave me food, clothes, and toiletries.”
The shelter provided comfort and safety for Lois, something she had missed for a long time. Lois is thankful for the opportunities the Mission provides beyond just shelter and food. “They have a great resource room that has computers so that we can look for jobs and other services,” she said.
Lois is very happy about her decision to go to the Mission. “The home is beautiful and the beds are really comfortable and they provide three great meals every day,” she said.
The smile and joy on Lois’ face are a result of the supportive staff. “The staff is personable and made me feel comfortable and at home,” she said. Lois is hopeful about her future, now that she has her addictions in the past and the support from the staff. She plans on finding a quiet place to live and hopes to obtain a job where she can work from home.