Music has always been a part of LG’s life. Growing up outside of Sacramento with five siblings and a single mom, LG used music to escape his “loud home.” Although he doesn’t look back fondly on his childhood, he does acknowledge how his mom took care of him and his siblings. “She was so great,” he said. “I might have hated my life, but I respected my mom—she had a great work ethic.”
At the young age of 5, LG started playing the accordion and quickly learned other instruments. “I fell in love with music,” LG said. During his early school years, that’s what initially kept him out of trouble. However, in seventh grade, while attending a music festival, LG tried drugs for the first time. “I got hooked and wanted it again.” Around this time, school became challenging, so music and drugs took priority over his studies.
LG’s early teen years were filled with “experimenting with everything,” he said. “I did it all: valium, ketamine, alcohol.” The addiction became so strong that he pawned his saxophone for drugs. But after getting his first paying gig in a band at 15, he focused on just music and marijuana. He dropped out of school but got his GED at 16.
Over the next several years LG played the bass guitar professionally, while still struggling with his pot addiction. But at 22, he and his high school sweetheart found out they were expecting a baby. “I prayed for God to take care of my daughter,” he said. “I flushed the weed down the toilet and got my act together.”
God answered LG’s prayers. He attended and volunteered at Calvary Chapel, got a job, and married his girlfriend. “The Lord was blessing me,” LG said. “I was successful at work and was sober for 16 years.” But when LG and his wife started fighting, “my ego got the better of me,” he said. “I started smoking pot again.”
The successful job and family that LG had built and was so proud of “fell apart. Within three days I lost my job, my house, and my family.” A studio where LG had worked became his nighttime shelter. To ease the pain of losing so much so quickly, LG started using heavy drugs again.
The following year, LG lived on the streets, bingeing on drugs and depleting his retirement account. Again, he recognized his addiction and quit using. The cycle continued. “I was able to quit using drugs and pull myself out of depression by focusing on a new job,” LG said. “I was good at my jobs, successful, but my ego always got the better of me.”
When COVID hit, LG started playing music on the streets and was making money. He was living out of his car, but when the car broke down, LG had no shelter. “It was my third time falling into depression and giving up drugs.” Through a local pastor, he was introduced to Renewed Hope.
The Mission’s men’s program gave LG the stability he needed. “I’m learning a lot about myself and about my big ego,” LG said. “It’s not always fun and it’s hard work.”
Volunteering with the shower program gives LG purpose and he enjoys giving back. “I got structure back and I’m working for Access and I love it! I love helping people.”
Seeing other residents graduate is just one of LG’s favorite parts of the program. “I can see God changing others and that gives me encouragement to change more. I respect these men.”
LG is playing his music again and recently played for Renewed Hope’s first graduation. “Whatever is good is from God,” said LG, who added that he is looking forward to seeing God continue to work in his life and through his music.