For years, the Clean & Sober holiday party was a chance to celebrate and encourage sobriety and help heal the wounds of drug and alcohol addiction.
This year, because of a shortage in donations, the annual event almost didn't happen. But thanks to Book of Dreams readers, a grateful crowd of 200 gathered earlier this month for an evening of good food and heartfelt reflection at Fremont Presbyterian Church in east Sacramento.
The party brought together current and former residents in the Clean & Sober program, their family and friends, and staff members. For some, it was the first time they had reunited with loved ones in many years.
"I don't even remember last year's Christmas," said Jessie Rojas, 32, recalling his addiction to methamphetamine and alcohol. "That's how bad I was. Now I have 90 days clean."
On this December night, Rojas was joined by 16 relatives, including a grandmother he once robbed under the influence of drugs.
In August, after losing his job and living on the streets, he found the Clean & Sober program, which provides housing and 12-step recovery support for homeless people working to end their addictions.
The program emphasizes self-help in a supportive community and has served the Sacramento area for 18 years.