Jered's Story

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Before I got here, I had 3 years sober time. I’ve graduated the program twice before, but I got caught up in taking care of responsibilities likes child support and in doing so, I took my focus off God and I relapsed. I’d been living with my dad in Modesto, but it got pretty bad pretty quick. I ended up moving back to Lemoore and staying at my Grandma but I stole from her –all she was doing was trying to help me. It just got way blown out of control and I knew if I didn’t do something about it right away it was going to get worse. So I came back and did an intake meeting again and got back into the program.

The times I’ve been here before: the first time was for court, the second time was for my kids, this time I’m here for me. This time around I’m focusing on what’s caused my relapse. I’ve dealt with anger issues for a long time. Anger has always been a major part of my relapse. And also 

struggling with putting God first, before my kids. I would try to do things my way and end up down the rabbit hole again. I’m more open now to doing it God’s way instead of mine. I’m learning to take my ego out of it. Pride has gotten in my way before and a lack of confidence.

It’s relieving to lean on God. It’s relieving to know that He’s got me, to know that I dont have to carry the burden of trying to do things my way.

It helps with anger management too. I don’t get upset as often, and when I do I know how to deal with it.

I’ve done a lot of the classes [in the Life Change Academy] before, and anger management is the key one for me. I’m learning that it’s okay to be upset and have emotional reactions to things. But it’s more about how I process it; to not work myself up, to go talk about it, and just understanding myself better. I don’t want anger to run my life.

My daughter is in Louisiana. Right when I started connecting with her, she had to move away because her step-dad was stationed in Louisiana. I took that really hard, but I’m staying consistent with her with phone calls. The biggest thing is, I just want her to know that I’m here for her and that she’s loved. I want the same thing for my son. 

When they get older, hopefully I can be a light to “Dad had an issue, but he also went to get help.” I’m taking care of myself, so I can take care of them.

If they ever ask, I won’t shy away from telling them my past because I think it’s healthy to be honest and open about things.

Ryan Stillwater

Ryan is a longtime Visalian — a graduate of Redwood High School and Fresno Pacific University with a bachelors degree in Christian Ministries. Intrigued by the partnership between the Visalia Rescue Mission and the City of Visalia, Ryan began putting his vision on paper as VRM's Oval Venue Coordinator in August 2013, and has sparked the interest of many throughout the community. Ryan and his wife Amy (a Mt. Whitney High School graduate) have been married for seven years and have three amazing kids — ages 6, 4, and 4.