Alexia grew up in Oxnard in what she calls a “picture-perfect home.” But after her father died when she was 16, she started experimenting with drugs: first marijuana and then methamphetamine. She had her son when she was 19, and battled her addiction on and off.
Alexia’s son was taken from her care before he was 2 years old. “I fell asleep, and my son and boyfriend’s son, they opened the door and went outside into the play area at our apartment,” she said. Because of their young age and lack of supervision, Child Protective Services took the children. It was a year-and-a-half before Alexia for her son back, and while it was a joyous time, it was also marred with tragedy. “A month before I got my son in 2014, my boyfriend was shot and killed, right outside of my apartment,” she said. “I still got my son, but I struggled with my addiction even more. I was self-medicating.”
Alexia was in an abusive relationship for the next two years, but finally entered a program in order to get away from him. After she graduated, she stayed with her brother for a while before relapsing. She and a new boyfriend then became squatters, along with her young son. One night last March, around midnight, Alexia took a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant. At 6 a.m., they were found squatting and had to leave. “It was bittersweet, finding out I was having a baby and then realizing we needed to find somewhere to go again.”
They stayed in motels for the next month or two, selling drugs to afford a room. “My baby’s dad started to leave the picture and I was basically just wandering the streets by myself. At that time, my mom took care of my son because my addiction really took over.”
Alexia entered a secular program last June. “I was tired of living like that, trying to figure out each night where I was going to go.” But just two months into the program, Alexia started to think she could handle her recovery on her own. “That’s when I knew that program wasn’t for me,” she said. “I needed something bigger. I talked to my counselor and she told me about the Lighthouse. I was scared because it was different from the way I was choosing to live my life. But I was tired of that way.”
Alexia arrived at the Lighthouse in August, and had her baby in October. When she was just two weeks old, Alexia’s daughter got a high fever and was hospitalized for several days. “That was when my faith grew the strongest,” she said. “Before I would’ve thought, ‘Why are you doing this to me, God?’ But when I was looking at my daughter, all of the machines, I just cried. I knew God had been preparing me for that moment, so I could handle it.”
Alexia is back at the Lighthouse with her baby daughter and 9-year-old son. “My son loves this place,” she said. “He loves the mom he has now. He doesn’t worry about where his mom is going to sleep. He loves being a big brother, and he is a great helper. Everyone says he’s going to be a little pastor when he gets older. He knows the word better than I do.
“This time has allowed me to reflect on what I’ve done and why I’ve done it—to really dig deep down,” she said. “When I was young, I thought, ‘In order for God to love you, you have to do this.’ Now I know he loves me regardless of what I’ve done.”
Alexia will graduate this summer and plans to move to transitional housing. She is hoping to return to school to complete her dental assisting certificate.