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I grew up in Jolon, CA until age 14 when I moved to San Miguel. Alcoholism was a serious problem in my family, and I was determined to escape that environment. I left home at 14 and stayed gone for two years. These were a difficult two years for me, but they did not involve alcohol or drugs. I returned home at 16 and at high school started hanging out with the “stoner kids” doing weed and booze. However, at this point I still had control and was able to see that I was becoming what I was trying to get away from. I straightened out and stayed that way until age 21.
At age 21 I was working at a good job at a state agency and I was stable. But I started doing meth. First it was a weekend thing but in a short time it was an “every day before work” thing, then became a days at a time thing – out of control.
My life rolled downhill, but as I went I had three kids – 3 beautiful, wonderful kids along with a use-filled dysfunctional marriage. This culminated in the inevitable result – divorce and loss of custody to foster care. The one good thing: my kids stayed together and were adopted by a good and stable family.
After losing my kids, using became the usual “way to cope.” And for money, I started passing bad checks. After getting caught the first time, I was able to avoid jail time, but that of course didn’t last. I was soon caught using and spent 3 months in jail.
Coming out of jail, I found Sunny Acres, but I had no intention to stop using. I was caught early on, and was kicked out, in fact I was kick out emphatically and permanently.
I ended up back in jail for another 3 months, and at this point in my life I finally straightened out my head enough to get a grip on what had to happen. I made a commitment to get straight, and convinced Dan and Sunny Acres that I had truly made that commitment. I was allowed back.
At first I worked outside. If you came by, you would have noticed me – 6’ 1” and 90 lbs. – I was all ears and bones. But at least my mind and body were drug free. Eventually I was allowed to assist in the office, and I slowly gained trust and more responsibility. Today I run the day to day office operations, and if you call Sunny Acres, I’ll probably be the one you speak to. If you work, I’m the one your hours will be reported to, and I’ll see to it that your stipend is properly applied. This November will mark the 5th year of my being straight.
I have also been going to Cuesta College for 1 1/2 years and am now majoring in Hospitality. I have been and continue to be on a firm and positive direction for my life.
But most of all, my life and thoughts are for my kids. I am fortunate enough that the foster parents keep me informed of their development and activities. I anxiously await the day that as they enter adulthood I can reestablish regular contact and a permanent relationship. Just as today I have a strong relationship with my mom (sober for 16 years), I look forward to have the same with the kids I love so much.
My goal is to eventually re-enter the workforce, move into a house that becomes a home where my kids visit, stay, and grandkids eventually flourish, and drugs are never seen.