Testimonies from Recovery Cafe

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David Mefford

My road to recovery has been truly a titanic struggle. 10 months ago I was informed that my son was placed in foster care. I was too ashamed to ask my family for help as I had been doing crystal meth for 10 months and lived in a tent. I knew I was going to get clean, but how I did it was nothing less than amazing. My friends, other folks struggling with homelessness and addiction, banned together to offer me food and love while I got clean. The very folks I would once get high with now became a source of encouragement to stay clean.

I decided to inform Child Protective Services, on advice from my Family Children Services case manager, that I was on drugs but would show up to court on October 31, 2016 clean. I couldn’t get into detox in time to show up to court so I decided to get clean on my “own”. I moved my tent behind a church and proceeded to get clean - my sobriety date is October 24th at 10pm. I picked that date and time to draw the line in the sand and hold my ground. I recently celebrated 9 months of continuous sobriety.

That which is truly me, unaffected by social rules such as borders or skin color, is a spirit living a human existence. In this way I have become able to recognize that our true selves are of pure love. At the Recovery Café, I have become part of a community that teaches and deeply encourages spiritual growth and love of oneself. The spiritual atmosphere created by the intimate groups is one of healing and growth. When I am connected to my peers and a higher power of my understanding I am able to express my heart and soul without the fears of being judged or even incorrect - I am at peace knowing there is always more to learn and more I can offer my brothers and sister - we are ALL family.

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Diana Carreras

Who knew after the trauma I went through starting at the age for four; being raped by my grandfather and later my oldest brother. At the age of ten I started drinking and taking my mother’s pills because they helped me escape the pain. I then left home at the young age of thirteen because my parents didn’t want me.

After becoming a homeless thirteen-year-old, I was kidnapped, tortured and left for dead with my throat sliced. By the grace of God, I survived but only to later be kidnapped and become a victim of human trafficking. By that time, I had become addicted to PCP which helped numb me from life.

At the age of seventeen and a half I ended up escaping and going into an abusive relationship because that’s all I knew. I had no idea what love was because to this point I had not witnessed love.

I ended up going through four arrests all over PCP. I was lucky enough to have one officer follow me for eight years. He arrested me and that’s when I found out that there was such a thing as help. When I was in court for my last arrest, the Judge offered me the opportunity to go to a recovery house. I called the number he gave me -  it was called Casa Maria in South San Francisco. He thought it would be good to get me out of San Jose; the capital of PCP. I hesitated, not knowing who to trust or believe, but I took a chance. Packed my bags, smoked one last joint and left to South San Francisco to see what this place Casa Maria was about. When I got there I was afraid. The people there seemed to think I could survive without drugs. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but I stayed. I guess it was my time.

It was probably the hardest thing I will ever do. Taking that first step to my recovery.

While I was in the recovery house I was always getting sick. You see, PCP stays in your fatty tissues and every time I walked or did any physical activity, PCP released from my fatty tissues. When I felt better I was introduced to NA (Narcotics Anonymous). This is where I immediately learned to embrace the program of NA. I stayed at the program for 6 months and graduated. To this day I continue to going to the twelve steps program of NA.

Since the recovery house a book on my life has been written for medical purposes. I’ve worked in other recovery homes such as Mariposa Lodge in San Jose because I truly believe that you need to give back for what was graciously given to you.

I’ve assisted in a song to help with human trafficking by allowing my story to be used in the song ‘Forget Me not’ by Star Nayea; which can be found on YouTube with my message of hope.

I have worked hard on myself and have decided to work on my post-traumatic stress that is why I have become a member of Recovery Café San Jose. With the guidance of Lisa Willmes and her staff, I have been able to let go of my past and look forward to a bright future with National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) as a Peer Mentor where I can bring light to a dark past.


About Recovery Café San Jose

Recovery Café San Jose is founded on the belief that every human being is precious, worthy of love and deserving of the opportunities to fulfill his or her potential. In this loving community people who cannot afford long-term recovery services come to belong, heal and know themselves as loved.

In this sanctuary from the streets, the Café helps participants develop tools and access other community resources for stabilizing recovery. Meaningful daily activities and a positive community are powerful forces that help break the patterns and challenges of addiction, unemployment and homelessness.