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Feelings Of Emptiness, Hopelessness Fuel Bad Choices

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Joey was born to parents who were happily married. They didn’t drink or use drugs. They worked and took their children to church every Sunday. Despite his traditional upbringing and supportive family, Joey felt something was missing. He started rebelling early, trying marijuana when he was 12.

“I remember when I first even discovered the notion of a mind-altering substance,” said Joey, now 27. “It was extremely attractive to me because I didn’t feel comfortable the way I was normally.”

After high school, Joey started injecting heroin, using methamphetamine and smoking crack cocaine. “It just snowballed from there,” he said. “I didn’t really know why I was doing it. Later I started to understand that it was a spiritual issue. I wasn’t feeling connected to God or to the people around me. There was that absence in my life that I didn’t recognize at all until more recently.”

“I was feeling hopeless a long time ago, and I didn’t know what to do about it really,” he said. “I surrendered to a lot of other things before I surrendered to Christianity. I’ve been to other programs and it would work for a while, but I still felt a disconnection.”

That’s when Joey found himself at the Ventura County Rescue Mission. “I don’t really know why I ended up coming here. I had no idea what to do. I was living in a homeless shelter. I was completely unemployable. They wouldn’t take me back at the programs that I was in before. I’d heard about this place and it was my last resort.”

Joey settled in to the program and immediately saw a difference in himself. “Coming to believe the way that I do now has really changed my heart and my attitude,” he said. “It gives me hope that I haven’t had before. The void I was experiencing before, the spiritual disconnection, it’s gone.”

Though he is focusing on his recovery right now, Joey said he would like to go back to college. Donors like you deserve the credit for restoring Joey’s hope for his future.

“Thank you for all the support you give this place,” Joey said. “It’s made a difference in my life and in the life of others.”

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