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I’m Dave. I grew up in Ventura County – 1 of 3 kids. One of the characteristics of my home was heavy drinking, and I started early. I was drinking pretty heavy by high school, and was heavy into the party scene. Booze, pot, I was moving right down the normal line of substance abuse.
I lived at home until age 21. At that point I had started working in construction and was ready to live on my own. I made a lot of friends in construction – especially the ones who were into the drug scene, and our drug of choice was meth. I was able to maintain the balancing act between work and meth for five years. But I moved back to Ventura and things began to unwind. As my drug use continued, I of course became unreliable and the quality of my work suffered. I started losing jobs. At that point I still had the ability to see what was happening, and I stopped my drug use. I was drug free for well over a year.
During this time I moved to Bakersfield and landed a great job. But I also resumed drug use, and as that progressed, my attitude changed. I began to feel I was being mistreated at work and quit. Reality was being replaced by a drugged up version of the world.
Next I started taking other jobs and losing them. Then I lost my apartment. I was a full blown addict. I left for LA completely homeless.
In LA, I either lived in the streets, or moved from dope house to dope house. One of my survival methods was to do small jobs for those who sold me meth. I tried to get work from the dealers who didn’t use, as I figured that was my best chance of not getting arrested.
The first arrest came in ’06. I was in jail for a couple of weeks and then was released to the PC1000 program. I used during the program, but was intermittent and lucky enough to not get caught. However, I was thrown out during the last 2 weeks since I couldn’t pay the fees.
I was arrested again a year later. I was given another chance at PC1000, but I avoided my start date and danced around court dates. I was able to pull this off, and re-started PC1000 in ’08. During this session, I tested dirty early on, was given another 6 weeks of classes, tested dirty again, was given another 12 weeks, tested dirty again and was kicked out. I was given a court date – I blew that off and headed back to the streets.
After a couple of weeks of homelessness in LA County, I was re-arrested. I was released contingent on signing up for Prop. 36. Being an addict I blew it off.
Out of second chances, I went on the run. I slept under bridges, and was always looking over my shoulder for the authorities. However, I got in touch with my father, who had been in touch with AA. A client there was familiar with Sunny Acres and made the recommendation that I call Dan. I called and asked Dan what it would take to get in. He said “show up.”
My father drove me to San Luis Obispo and Sunny Acres. Upon arriving there were cars everywhere, and Dan was being served code violation warrants. We were told we could not enter. We called Dan and he advised me to come back the following week. I was going to give up, but my family was able to convince me to try. I showed up with just the clothes on my back. No money, no belongings, nothing.
After 30 days I called my Public Defender to set my record straight. I went back to court. I was very fortunate. I was allowed to stay at Sunny Acres and was given probation for 3 years.
The Sunny Acres program has worked wonders for me. Since I had done all kinds of construction work, and was familiar with electrical systems, Dan started teaching me automotive and tractor rebuilds. I have learned quickly and now I’m in the middle of 3 tractor rebuilds over the winter to have them ready for the spring planting. I also help manage the Sunny Acres work members on their individual projects. I have learned a lot and I am clean and focused. I am in work mode.
It took a few months for me to start to feel drug free. My attitude slowly improved and now I feel positive most all the time. I live in a great drug-free place with a lot of friends. It is the best thing that could have happened to me.
I don’t think about the future much right now, but I do believe that I will eventually return to the construction business, get a CIO license and start my own company – drug free.