Post-graduation, Landon reflects on mission’s ‘hope, light’
It’s been more than six months since Landon graduated from the mission’s Life Recovery Program, and despite all that’s going on in the world, Landon feels stable and content. At the time of his interview in last month, we were in the thick of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Things are going so well—they are really exceeding my expectations, especially considering we are in the midst of this world pandemic,” Landon said. “I’ve learned to give up control in situations, which is a big thing for someone who (has struggled with alcohol). I’ve learned to relax and let God take over. It’s a position I never thought I’d be in.”
Landon first entered the program in late 2016. “I was really, really, really badly addicted to alcohol,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time hitchhiking, running around—I grew up selling drugs. Eventually it stopped being a party, and it had actually stopped being a party a long time before I decided it had stopped.”
Landon’s father was an alcoholic and was saved and recovered. And when he was 24, Landon became inspired to try the same path. He went through the program, graduated, and even became a house leader and got a job at a Salvation Army thrift store. “The thing that didn’t happen for me was that realization that your life from now on, it’s not the same. Your life is about Jesus Christ. You can’t think, ‘Oh, maybe I can have a beer. I’ve been sober for three years. I can handle it.’ You can’t. I never really made that decision that I was never going to be back.”
Landon left the mission in December 2018 and moved to Morro Bay. “I ended up drinking again, and it was like I never quit. I was hallucinating, shaking—it was all bad. I decided I needed to come back and do the program again. I’d seen how Christ really affects people’s lives there, and I needed to manifest it in my own life.”
And that he did. “I feel like the first time I was here, I built a foundation,” Landon said. “I learned who Jesus Christ was and built that knowledge of him. This time, I was intentional. I started actively seeking the Lord. I said, ‘I want you in my life. I want to be more like you.’”
Landon read Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” “I read the bible and I decided, ‘I’m going to believe in this. This is God’s true word.’ I would meditate on this verse and I would think of God’s love. Once I understood that there was this love that I couldn’t comprehend, that I’ve been looking for my whole life, I knew this was how I needed to live my life.”
Landon connected during the morning devotions and also learned a lot from the other men in the program. “We are all able to help each other. We learn what we learn, but then we’re surrounded by all these guys and we get to practice what we’re learning, which is to be more like Christ.”
Landon graduated for the second time in November of last year and is living in the transitional living house. He is back working at the Salvation Army thrift store, saving money and building credit. He is on the praise team at his church, Redemption High Desert, where he plays guitar and sings.
“I’d tell people in the program, ‘Don’t waste your time.’ The program gives you a lot of time to reflect. You get to put everything else on hold, and just focus on Jesus Christ. I was homeless for a long time, and I had this anarchist attitude. I needed to learn the value of work and that money is a tool. I needed to learn to work. I needed to learn how to develop this relationship with God. It’s all about the relationship. I can leave with all the knowledge in the world, but without the relationship, it won’t do any good.
“Don’t lose hope,” Landon added. “There is hope in everything. Drugs and alcohol, they don’t play favorites. They attack everybody. This place provides hope. It provides a light.”