Addiction of Another Kind

Sergio Aragon, 22, a recovering addict from heroin and alcohol, walks down 6th Street, where he has lived for almost a year at Cityteam Ministries in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District.

He is currently on the eighth step in the Alcohol Anonymous program where he identifies the names of people he has hurt and makes an effort to mend the relationships.

My addiction made me self-centered, self-seeking, inconsiderate,” Aragon said. “I did not give a damn about anyone else but my next fix and my money. I have been taking from others my whole life, for me to give back to people humbles me, uplifts me, motivates me; it’s like a high for me.
— Sergio Aragon

As a participant in Cityteam Ministries, Aragon serves the San Francisco's 6th Street community by preparing meals for over 100 people a few times a week. He also attends weekly Bible studies and Alcohol Anonymous sessions with his sponsor.

Aragon grew up in Live Oak, Santa Cruz. At age 12, he smoked his first cocaine joint; from then, his life spiraled downward. In high school he joined the East Side Santa Cruz gang. It was at this juncture that his addiction began to rule his life, landing him in the Santa Cruz County Jail.

Once he attended Cityteam Ministries, his fourth probation program, he reached his longest stretch of sobriety, 10 months.

I have been using heroin for ten years,” said Aragon. “I’m counting the days when I get to a year of sobriety, when I get to a year…oh my God. My recovery is the most precious thing to me right now. So when I feel like using, I give my wallet to someone and it takes the power out of it.
— Sergio Aragon

He gives credit to God. Aragon will graduate from the program in March 2015.