Gus' Story

“I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”


Gus battled addiction and homelessness for most of his life. After trying to get sober at six different treatment programs, Gus found the unconditional love and support he needed to finally break free of addiction at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.


When he was 16, Gus dropped out of school. He recalls, “My mom told me if you don’t go to school, you can’t stay in the house,” so he left home and joined the service.

Gus enlisted to fight in Vietnam, went through basic training and was sent overseas. While in the army he started abusing drugs and alcohol at a dangerous level, and one day it all came crashing down on him.

“My company commander came to me and said I couldn’t stay in the service anymore, and within a month, they sent me back home and things really went downhill fast.”

Gus became homeless. He spent his days living on the streets and his nights sleeping in abandoned cars and abandoned houses. Then he decided it was time for a big change.

“I got married and had two kids and I was doing great as a husband,” he says, ”but then all of a sudden my wife decided she wanted to give up. She put our kids up for adoption, and then I lost everything except my life.”

As his drug and alcohol abuse intensified again, Gus struggled to keep a job and started volunteering at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission just so he could have a place to sleep.

“My biggest turning point was I got sick and tired of being sick and tired,” he says. “I went through six treatment centers, and I even went through the Mission’s program twice. But that second time changed everything. They gave me a new direction in life. I thank God that they took me back in.”

The Mission helped Gus grow in his faith and find the strength to stay clean and sober. Now retired, he enjoys volunteering at the Mission and working part-time as a hotdog vendor at sporting events.


“This is the best time of my life. I'm not getting high, I don't have a hangover, and I'm living a clean life. That’s all I could ask for.”


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