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After 15 Years Of Dropping In, Steve Seeks Help At Mission

Dec 1, 2017

Steve has only been in the life recovery program for a couple months, but if you ask him, the mission has been a part of his life for more than 15 years. “I used to get meals at the mission, go to church with some of the guys and stuff envelopes when I was staying out of trouble,” Steve said. “Whenever I needed something—a razor, Neosporin—they were there for me.”

Steve grew up with his parents and five siblings in Victorville. Although Steve said his father was a war hero and a hardworking man, he was abusive to Steve’s mother. “That’s all I really remember,” Steve said. “He would drink, and he would hit my mom.”

Eventually, Steve followed in his father’s footsteps. He was drinking too much and started doing drugs, eventually becoming abusive himself. “I took care of my mom during kidney dialysis for two years. I was 34 or 35, and when I was using speed, I’d get everything done, take care of everything. And then when I didn’t have it, I would just … I became the man that my dad was. It came to the point where I didn’t want to hurt the people I love.”

Steve started hanging out with friends down by the Mojave River. He couldn’t hold down a job. And eventually, he relocated permanently to the river. “I never looked at myself as homeless,” Steve said, “even when I was down living on the river for 15 years, always with my bottle in my pocket.”

Steve often spent a night or two in jail for being drunk in public or for failure to appear in court. The last straw was when he got arrested for throwing a brick through a window during an altercation with a man—although Steve admits he was aiming for the man’s head. “When they called the police, I didn’t run. I knew I was out of control. I knew I needed to go to jail.”

Steve went to jail for three months, his longest stint. As part of his probation, he went to a treatment center, but he walked out, still using. Shortly after, on his 52nd birthday, Steve used again, and he said it was “instant misery. My heart had changed.”

Steve has been sober now for seven months. He is focused on his recovery and plans to help his friends living on the river one day, when he’s strong enough. “I can’t help all the people I grew up with, but I can be a beacon for them. I just know I need to help myself first, stay right here in recovery and graduate. This is where I want to be. If I stay focused on God, I’ll stay sober and everything will fall into place.”

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