Juan’s Story

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how you gave Juan a second chance at life


I was released from jail approximately 9 months ago with no money, no job and no place to live. I had been arrested due to substance abuse, and just really needed help at that time in my life. It had started with prescription pills I had gotten from my doctor, but eventually led to illegal drugs when I ran out. Most people look down on me for that, but no one can handle an addiction on their own, they need to have a support network around them to succeed, and at that time I just didn’t have one.


Now, as I reflect, being arrested was the best thing that could have happened to me. It finally freed me from the prison of addiction and gave me the gift of sobriety, something I had fought towards for nearly a year since my habit had started. While I wish things could have happened differently, I do think that having to face consequences for my actions and face them sober changed me a lot.

“After years of dealing with addiction alone, I knew I needed help. I reached out and A New Leaf was there for my family.”

At the time of my release, my son had just turned 4 months old and was living with his mother in Mesa. I really wanted to be in his life, but the transition back into normal society was hard at first. I entered a homeless men’s shelter called EVMC and began visiting my son on weekends to try to start healing my small family.


After living at EVMC for several months, my son’s mother expressed the need for my son to come live with me as soon as possible. She had relapsed into her own addiction and needed me to step up for our son. I was terrified that my son would end up without both his parents, and I resolved that I would never touch drugs or alcohol again in my life – a promise that I would end up keeping.


The chance to have my son back in my life was just incredible to me, but I still wasn’t ready to go out on my own yet. If I wanted to be successful I needed a support network around me to keep me sober, encourage me to be a better father, and I needed to find a better paying job to provide for him. I met with a great staff member at A New Leaf’s La Mesita to arrange supportive housing that would help me achieve these goals. Just two weeks later I took custody of my son and moved in.


A New Leaf La Mesita gave me a chance to be united with my son. They were able to give me housing accommodations, parental training, chemical dependency counseling, and on-site daycare while I went to work. The environment is very structured and the staff is very supportive. This is exactly what I needed to get back on my feet, stay on my feet, and create a loving stable home for my son. That’s a gift that you cannot even begin to understand unless you’ve faced losing your family forever.

“Thanks to A New Leaf, I am now approaching 9 month’s drug free. I also got custody of my son.”

Thanks to A New Leaf’s La Mesita staff, and all of the volunteers and donors, I am now approaching 9 month’s drug free. On top of that, I’ve established stable employment, which has allowed me to begin saving money, I am involved in parenting classes, and most importantly, my son and I are together. 


My outlook on life has become so positive and optimistic thanks to this wonderful program.  For anyone who feels disadvantaged or needs help, give A New Leaf’s La Mesita Community a chance, it could change your life forever. I know that I wouldn’t have stayed sober without this program, and I wouldn’t be half the father I am today without the incredible community of support around me. Thank you, to everyone that makes these programs possible.


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