Josh’s Story of Recovery
San Benito County


My name is Josh and this is my story of recovery for the San Benito probation department. I started using drugs at a very young age even though I came from a good family. I was a decent student and a great athlete with a bright future ahead of me. I Started hanging out with friends that already had some addictions. I started smoking weed at 13 and graduated to cocaine and meth by the time I was a junior in high school. I dropped out shortly after my junior year had started. I was a functioning addict and my job was a way of means to support my habit. This continued for sometime, until I found prescription pills at the age of 22.

Once I had started using OxyContin, my life had taken a turn for the worst.

I wasn’t working anymore because I couldn’t afford the habit that I had developed. I started selling them to support the ridiculous habit I had everyday. soon OxyCotton became unavailable so I began smoking heroin so that I didn’t become sick. Once I found that heroin had the same effect, I couldn’t stop using. I lost everything in just a few short years. With No friends, no family, and no direction I began living on the streets of china town in salinas. I had no means of income so I began to steal and shoplift for my habit. Day in and day out I was committing crimes and was not worried I would ever be caught, this is where I started to get in trouble. I got a few petty thefts and commercial burglaries and short jail sentences that would only encourage me too continue this lifestyle. In 2012 I landed on probation for a heroin possession. At the time it was a felony so I was granted the prop 36 option. I wasn’t ready for sobriety or a program so I ran and was racking up violations all the time. When I was in jail on one of these vp’s I had gotten into a fight and was looking at a felony assault. Probation deputy [name redacted] was the person that came to me to tell me that if I didn’t change I would surely end up in prison or worse, dead from the lifestyle I was living. It was at this point that I was seriously reconsidering the path that I have been taking for so long. I finally realized what I was doing and where it would take me if I didn’t change.

I was granted a final chance to attend a program of my choosing, and finally receive the treatment that I had been needing.

After six months in a residential treatment center and numerous classes for anger management, celebrate recovery, and parenting classes I was able to change my perception and my mindset towards life. When I was released from the program I came back to Hollister with the worry that I would return to my old lifestyle. But to my surprise I no longer wanted to live that lifestyle. I avoided old friends and reached out constantly to [name redacted]for guidance and support. Ironically the man I thought was going to ruin my life, was actually the man that had begun the process of rebuilding it. After about six months I was asked to speak at a drug awareness and community outreach event. I told my story and suddenly I was able to use a negative experience in my life to educate and prevent others from making the same mistakes. I was so happy when people and teens were approaching me to tell me that they had learned so much from my story and how it would help them to realize that nothing good ever comes from drugs. If it wasn’t for the San Benito probation department I don’t think I would have ever changed. I spoke again at the red ribbon 5k run and was finding out that people need to hear these real life story’s of change and this was only reinforcing my sobriety. I am now successfully living a clean and sober life free from drugs and criminal activity, and have been successfully discharged from felony probation. [name redacted] and I still remain in contact and I am grateful for the relationship we still continue to have.

Probation was a life changer for me, and though some may think it only makes more problems for them, if it is viewed as a way of support and resources it can really help to rebuild and restore ones way of living.

I am so proud and thankful of the way the San Benito probation department has helped me and very happy to have had the guidance of deputy [name redacted]. This is my story and I hope it gives hope to the officers and employees throughout the state. Thank you and God bless all of you.