When Cody was a little boy, his mom would leave him alone for long stretches of time. There wasn’t much food, and he never knew where she was going or how long she’d be gone. When Cody was 5, his sister was born, and he cared for her often in his mother’s absence.
“I never knew why she would leave or why she didn’t like us,” Cody said. “I thought that the problem was with us. I thought it was my fault she was always gone. It was really hard.”
What Cody didn’t know was that his mom was addicted to meth. She had been using since she was 13. His father, who wasn’t in the picture for the first decade of Cody’s life, was also an addict, and started feeding Cody cigarettes and marijuana when he was 11. By 13, he was using crystal meth.
Cody’s family, which now included his sister, half-sister and stepbrother, moved from the Lancaster area to Las Vegas, taking Cody away from some of the friends he had been using with. But when he was 14, during a family visit back to the Lancaster area to see his grandparents, Cody reconnected with those friends.
“I met up with my old homies and started getting high, using meth,” he said. “I never went to my grandparents’ house or met back up with my family. My parents went back to Vegas without me.”
Cody started robbing stores to support his habits and quickly got arrested. He went to juvenile hall briefly.
“When I got out, I started using more heavily, meth and marijuana, and progressively getting worse and worse,” he said. “From 14-17 years old, I was pretty much in jail. Then I got out and was using harder, was gang banging, stealing cars, robbing people.”
When Cody was 18, his criminal record jumped to the next level.
“I got caught stealing cars and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon,” he said. “I went to prison. A year before my sentence was up, I started thinking … I just made that decision not to get high anymore. I was making a conscious decision to not use drugs.”
Cody’s cousin is the director of the Victor Valley Rescue Mission, and he recommended Cody get into the Life Recovery Program at the Ventura County Rescue Mission in an effort to get him help in a different area. Cody went all in, transferring his parole to Ventura County so if he did leave the program and try to go back to the Lancaster area, he would be violating his parole—just another way to ensure his success.
“I knew if I left, I couldn’t go home,” Cody said. “I had to make this work. I have to.” Cody, now 20, is still early in the program, but he is already thinking about his future. He’d like to intern at the Mission and maybe become a counselor down the road.
“It’s whatever God wants. That’s what I want, but God might have other plans for me, and I know that.” Cody expressed his gratitude for donors like you, and said if he had the opportunity, he’d hug every person who supported the Mission. “I don’t know where I’d be without this place,”
Cody said. “I’m so grateful. I know there’s no way to prove to you what this means to me. All I can do is to keep doing what I’m doing. And have faith.”