From a Bamboo Hut to the Beacon House
Dan grew up in a family that, from outside appearances, seemed normal. They went to church every Sunday. His father became a Baptist Minister, Yet behind closed doors it was a different story. There was a lot of violence and dread, such as fear of “wait until your Daddy gets home.” Dan reacted to that by running in the streets and foothills at five years old. This planted the seed that would one day grow into homelessness.
At seventeen, Dan ran away from home. He hitchhiked around the country and rode trains. He fancied himself a vagabond, a Beat Poet. Alcohol and drugs became a part of that lifestyle. He joined the Army and the National Guard, serving for a total of six years. Those years were also spent drinking. He thought his problems would go away, but instead they grew worse.
He went to trade school, learning computer electronics. Despite this, he still felt like something was missing. He felt confused, not understanding what was going on around him. In 1993, shortly after the birth of his daughter, he became homeless. He ended up at the riverbed, in a bamboo hut which he constructed himself. He survived on handouts and charity. He lived under these conditions for the next twenty years. He became “. . . the most low bottom indigent bum imaginable.” Eventually he reached a point where the drugs and alcohol stopped working, no longer easing his pain, leaving him even more confused and disjointed. Yet he continued, as he knew no other way.
And then one day, on the riverbed, some men came with food and clothing. They talked to the people there, including Dan. He was impressed by the demeanor of these men, the way they demonstrated care and compassion, treating everyone like human beings. They had something that Dan was missing. They were all alcoholics as well, yet they had found a solution that Dan did not know existed. He had felt his plight was hopeless.
These men, from the Beacon House, contradicted that. That opened his eyes.
Shortly after some legal issues, he was presented with the “option” to enter into a treatment program. He remembered the men of Beacon House and what the program had done for them. He understood that he needed to change something. Anything. He chose the Beacon House.
He began to change. He began to feel a part of something. He felt as if he were rejoining the human race. He saw the value of making other people more important than himself. His problems began to diminish. He began to grow.
Dan has been in the Beacon House for five years. He recently graduated from college, with an associate’s degree in Behavioral Sciences. He plans to get a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. In the near future he will move out, fulfilling the Beacon House Mission Statement.
His goal is to give back, especially in the homeless community. He has a promising job opportunity to do just that. In the Beacon House, Dan brings food to the homeless, including that same riverbed, and participates in outreach programs. Essentially, Dan is coming full circle, becoming like the men who helped him at the riverbed.
The Beacon House continues to help men like Dan to recover from alcohol and drug addiction. In addition to what the Beacon House does for men as individuals, it also continues to give to the community. It gives the men something to be a part of, to belong to something they had lost in their alcoholism. It gives the men a safe environment to heal. It gives them hope.
You can help the men of the Beacon House. Your contribution will enable the House to continue to function, saving and repairing broken lives.