Like most recovering addicts in our Healthy Living Program, Randy V. has struggled with addiction pretty much his whole life. The youngest of 4 siblings, Randy was born and raised in Ontario, CA. by his single Mother. Although he came from a good family and didn’t have any tragic things happen to him, Randy still found himself taking the wrong path and using drugs and alcohol at the young age of 15 years old, unlike his siblings who graduated High School and went off to pursue their careers and start families of their own. “I used to see all the older guys in the neighborhood shooting up and I’d say to myself, I’ll never do that. And then one day, someone offered it (heroin) to me, and I was hooked ever since.”
Randy started seeing the negative effects addiction had on his life when he was around the age of 19 years old. He had his first child at the age of 20, but couldn’t quit drugs and alcohol. Randy was what we call a functioning addict. He was still able to maintain a job at a Shell gas station and hide his addiction pretty well, even from his girlfriend and Mother of his child. Randy was in and out of jail and treatment programs for periods of time. He was with the same woman and mother of his 4 children for 15 years until she passed away in 2005 from a brain aneurism. This weighed heavy on Randy, especially because he was in jail during her passing and the guilt he felt of not being there for his daughters.
Randy tried so many times to remain clean and sober but nothing clicked until he came to The Midnight Mission. He got tired of lying and hurting those he loved. In September 2013, Randy came to Los Angeles in hopes of getting into a neighboring shelter. He had all the paperwork filled out, but they didn’t have a bed available for him. He would come to The Midnight Mission to eat breakfast and one day he ran into a guy he recognized that was working security. The man told him about the Healthy Living program that The Midnight Mission had to offer to those on their path to self-sufficiency. That following Friday, Randy came back and has been here ever since.
Since he’s been at The Midnight Mission, Randy has learned how to remain clean and sober, the right way. He has learned more and more about the disease of his addiction. “I see guys that have been here as long as me, if not longer and all it takes is that one drink to put them back on the streets again. And that helps me to continue on. For once in my life I’m at peace with where I’m at. I don’t look back on life, unless it’s to see how far I’ve come.” Randy graduated from our Healthy Living Program in November 2014 and received his Certificate of Completion of drug and alcohol courses through CCAPP (California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals) in hopes to become a Drug & Alcohol counselor one day. He is also in the process of testing for his High School Diploma and is very eager to achieve that.
Staying clean and sober has helped Randy to reunite with his daughters and maintain a relationship with them again. In December 2014, his youngest daughter reached out to him through an email and they’ve been in contact ever since. “I haven’t told them about what I’ve accomplished yet, because I don’t want to continue to make promises to them that I can’t keep. They’ve been hurt enough. I want to prove it to them this time. I’m now getting invited to my Grandson’s birthday party, something I never thought would happen. I’m just happy to be back in their lives again, any way that I can.”
After volunteering and showing his strong effort and merit at California Hospital, Randy was offered a position and hired on as an Environmental Specialist, cleaning and organizing the closet where they store the donations that they receive. He also interns here at The Midnight Mission filing paperwork and doing intakes on new participants under the supervision of our Healthy Living Advocate, Rita Richardson.
“I’ve been in a lot of treatment programs and The Midnight Mission is the best one out here in Los Angeles. It may be in the worst area, but it’s the best program. The Midnight Mission has helped me with my education and court issues. The things they do for us on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, make staying sober a lot easier. Every day isn’t perfect, but if you can come in and sit still and adapt to what The Midnight Mission has to offer, you’re good. I couldn’t have done any of the things I’ve accomplished without the help from everyone here and my higher power God, of course. “