When Jose walks into a room his size is intimidating but he carries a certain unexplainable peace about him. He is soft spoken and pleasant and carries himself with a confidence that is charming and comforting. His story before the Beacon House is the antithesis of peace and serenity. This kind and warm man told me a tale that could not match up with the teddy bear sitting before me.
He was born in Gardena and like most of us he spent his life searching for a place amongst humanity. Jose felt like he was missing the human experience. He was headed for trouble at an early age and began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. It was in this synthetic fog he found himself. Or so he thought. As the drugs and alcohol escalated so did the trouble that came with it.
Searching for a place to fit, he dropped out of high school and found himself sucked into the riptide of the streets. As crazy as it seems he was caught in a situation saturated with alcoholic paradox. It was within the insanity of the streets and the gang lifestyle that he found a solution to his internal problem. Vandalism, crime, and a steady degeneration dragged Jose into the black abyss that is addiction.
He managed to avoid the law for a significant period of time but his lifestyle finally caught up with him. He was caught in the grips of addiction and was vanishing into a chemically induced black hole. He was being eviscerated into the black hole. Suddenly, he woke up. Terrified and on his way to prison for over two years. The result of a conviction for a violent crime when he had tried to stab a man who, in his words, “looked at him the wrong way.”
Terrified and full of confusion, guilt, remorse, the weight of the situation laid on his shoulders like a burlap sack of cinder blocks. It was in prison that his eyes were opened. While in Susanville he decided he needed a change and he also needed a roof over his head. He avoided any major conflict while in prison and was paroled directly to the open arms of the Beacon House. They were the only ones who contacted him.
Fear and pain generated a willingness to do the work necessary at the House. He trudged the road so many before had and found his niche in recovery. The house has provided a venue for him to heal and change and find a solution to the powerlessness we have all experienced.
Jose is now getting ready to graduate from LAHC with a degree in Liberal Arts. He has found gainful employment and is beginning to transition to the world outside the house. His future plans include becoming a social worker for inmates in the correctional facilities he once resided in. Most importantly, the House has built an unwavering character within him and softened his heart. Helping others is his battle cry as he begins the adventure of a new life. Work and self-sacrifice is the spirit behind our solution and the constant thought of others and how we may meet their needs.
This is just another story in the whirling and almost magical power this House has to pull men from the depths. There is no profit motive only to save lives and produce successful happy members of society.