In Dakota’s Words

Back in May of 2021, I lost my house because of COVID. My family and I moved into a rent-to-own trailer. I was always the head of household for my family so I was still working as much as I could to keep up with bills and put some money away.

Then, my wife and I decided to split ways. We weren’t happy and we were drinking. I was working all the time so I wasn’t there for her and I was depressed, so that made it all worse.

In the middle of our divorce, I had to go to jail for a couple months because of a probation violation from a DUI. Drinking has been a long-standing affliction in my life but I had recently gone overboard.

While I was in jail, my wife put the money for our rent toward other things, and we lost the trailer. So, when I got out, I came back to nothing. No home, no job yet, no savings. I had nowhere to go.

Being homeless kind of transforms you into a different person. Your life becomes all about surviving. Luckily, I had my daughters to motivate me to get my life together.

I knew about the Mission, but I didn’t think I’d ever end up here one day. And I never expected to become the person I became while homeless.

I got food and sleep at the Mission and worked during the day. One day I got jumped and robbed, got beat
up pretty bad. They took all of the money I had been saving since I had to keep it on me.

I started drinking a lot. That’s what my life became, just to get away from my physical pain and mental torment. I was going nowhere quick.

A buddy of mine in the shelter had joined the New Life Program for addiction recovery. He got me connected with the staff in the program. That’s when I learned I had another option.

So I followed in my buddy’s footsteps, got sober, and got myself into the recovery program.

The biggest thing for me was that it was Christ-based. That was huge. Not only did I get sober, but I started to get the other parts of my life in order. I got off probation after five years. I had my license renewed and reissued.

I finally had time to work on my physical fitness and mental health. I re-connected with my daughters. My wife and I are co-parenting and we are doing really well.

I’m graduating this month from the program. I’ve been transformed into a better me. It’s like shedding the old and walking into a brighter, better environment. Like living life in color for the first time.

It all goes back to the Mission giving me a sanctuary, a place of peace where I could work on myself and build the strength to get back to a place where I’m capable to not only take care of myself, but those close to me.

Where is he now?
Dakota has enrolled in EMT certification classes, with plans to enter a fire-fighting academy in June. He is looking forward to starting a career that will allow him to support his family while serving our community.

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