Travis reconnects with God, family after addiction and homelessness

Despite stellar grades and honors classes, Travis says he was “hard to handle” growing up. After stints in military school and juvenile hall didn’t have an effect on his behavior, Travis’ parents kicked him out at 19. “I called my cousin, and ended up sleeping on her couch. I tried programs and sober living places, but I wasn’t doing it because I wanted to be sober. I just needed a place to stay. I wanted to stay with my parents again, but they wouldn’t let me until I showed them something. This is what they suggested, so I tried, but I never succeeded.”

The group Travis hung with started disbanding, with many starting to get help and go to rehab programs. “I started wanting to get sober because my life was so miserable,” Travis said. “It just gets so lonely out there. I was the last man standing and it wasn’t fun. I had no one and I had nowhere to go.

“I remember one time I was really at a low. I had just turned 22, and my family wanted nothing to do with me. When I couldn’t find a place to shower, sometimes I’d have to go down to the river and wash in there really quick. And I was just down there, at the river, so embarrassed of myself, and upset and alone. I had no one to talk to.”

Travis prayed to God for a companion. “I said, ‘I swear if you can give me someone I can love and who can love me, I’ll be happy. I’ll stop.”

Travis did meet a girl, and they fell in love. He moved in with her and they had a son. But when Travis relapsed, it was ‘just downhill,” he said. “They kicked me out and I was back on the streets and I thought, ‘That’s fine. I’ve been here before. I can find a job, it’ll be OK.’ It wasn’t. I couldn’t stop using the way I thought I could. I wanted so bad to say I did this on my own, to say I had the strength and a plan and enough self-will to walk away. I wasted two years.”

Travis was homeless, spending most of his nights at drug houses, often sleeping on a couch in a backyard. Occasionally, his girlfriend would bring his son to the park so he could see him. “It was hard,” he said. “I was depressed. I was so heartbroken over it. … It got to the point where I knew I was done, but I still didn’t want to take the step to get help. I was very stubborn.”

Finally, Travis decided to enter the Mission. His aunt had graduated from the Lighthouse program over 10 years ago. “She had done everything under the sun that I’ve done. She went there, got my cousin out of foster care, and she’s still sober. The Lighthouse saved her life.”

Travis has revived his relationship with God, which was strong while he was in military school. “I leaned on him for everything then, and found comfort in him,” he said. “Being here, it’s really opened my eyes again. It’s softened my heart a lot. I’m having faith that God is going to work everything out.”

“My family couldn’t be happier,” Travis said. “I’m proud of myself, and I’m glad I’m here, but I’m not going to let myself feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’m not done yet. I don’t ever want to turn away or think I know everything. I always want to be hungry to learn more and achieve more.”

Travis is planning to attend a trade school after graduation. “I’m just really thankful to be here,” he said. “I don’t give myself any of the credit for any changes I’ve made. I give it all to God.”