J. Dollins

Daniel Macias

Second Chances – Chapter 5

January 12, 2022

Daniel Macias’s story reminds us that mistakes we make in the past don’t define us and that we can learn from them and become role models for others.

Daniel’s story starts with the influences of his environment.

Daniel Macias has always been an outgoing person. At a young age, he began hanging out with his friend’s brothers. 

His friend’s brothers were a part of a gang and there he was introduced to drugs at the age of 13 and began using to fit in.

His habit soon became an addiction and he began to hear voices.

Daniel has always been close to his mother, saying that “she has been my rock,” and so he began to tell her of the voices and paranoia he experienced.

Even with the voices and his habits, he found it important to still be productive and work getting on and off jobs in warehouses since the age of 18 claiming that “it wasn’t my thing to be a part of the streets.”

He worked off and on until the age of 37 and this is when his addiction became worse and also his paranoia. 

I was happy because I was away from drugs.”

— Daniel Macias

The voices he was experiencing led to him breaking the window to his neighbor’s house and getting arrested and time in jail for 3 months. 

When he was released, his mother sold their house and he had to find someplace else to stay. 

He did well on his own for a couple of months paying rent in a new home but the voices came back once he began using once he was released.

The voices led to more paranoia and instead of making the same mistake twice decided to make the decision to become homeless. For Daniel, he claims that he was “fighting the voices.”

He became homeless and began sleeping in his car.

Because he had already been arrested before and had been getting into trouble with the laws and drugs it made it hard for him to stay away from the police.

That’s when he made the decision to leave California and flee to Arizona to get away from the police and trouble here.

He ended up finding his way to Arenburg Arizona, even though alone he remembered being happy for the first time in a long time “I was happy because I was away from drugs.”

But for Daniel this didn’t last long and he found himself back into his old habits when he began meeting with the local homeless people near him and started using meth. 

He also found himself in more trouble than when he was back home.

Here, he began getting noticed by the some desert squatters. “These people were bad people, they were living off the grid.”

He was getting noticed because he started noticing the things they were doing. Seeing how they were abusive to women and also the items they stole.  “I knew they were up to something i began finding piles of kid shoes, backpacks, toys and I knew it didn’t belong to them.”

The squatters ended up finding out about Daniel finding out more and threatened his life with threats to even “put him in a hole.”

Daniel ignored their threats and continued noticing more of their activities. And one night he noticed the squatters dressing up as women as covers to steal and harm women.

He couldn’t ignore what he was seeing and even with having previously received threats he recognized that one of the men dressed up was the same one that had threatened him.

Daniel trusted the voice in his head that told him to confront the man and when he did he began to get attacked by the man and had to fight back for self defense. During this fight he was able to escape only after gauging one of the man’s eyes and driving off in his car.

He escaped and drove to the nearest police station which was forty miles away and told them everything that happened that night  and what he had known about the men before. “I basically turned myself in.”

With Daniel telling the sheriff about the situation, he was ending up in the process of almost facing 18 years of attempted murder.

I told myself this was my home and that I was going to make it work.”

— Daniel Macias

But because the public defender believed his story because they already had evidence about the squatters he was able to be let out free. But Daniel wasn´t free from the outside from the squatters.

Just the day after he was announced set free he gets jumped by four men and gets pressed against the hot pavement in Arizona and he ends up with 1st and 2nd degree burns all over his body.

The men that had jumped him noticed the burns and they end up calling an ambulance for him and he was left to heal in the hospital for three months.

In the hospital he was able to get contact with his mother and return back to Riverside, California.

Daniel knew his life needed to head in the right direction and enrolled himself in Mary’s Village. 

At Mary’s Village Daniel is able to follow the rules now and focus on his life without the influence of drugs. “I told myself this was my home and that I was going to make it work.”

Also now because he is getting help here at Mary´s Village he has the opportunity to leave for work and the hope of returning to school to get a bachelors in drug and alcohol counseling or possibly even work back at the home as a volunteer. ¨It’s my way of giving back¨.

I get a kick out of doing the right thing.”

— Daniel Macias

For Daniel, he’s lived most of his life with the presence and influence of drugs. But has kept a hard working mentality and has never stepped away from the opportunity to do the right thing. 

His path in life taught him that even though he had made mistakes he was still a good person at heart that had the potential to be a leader and impact the lives of others.

Being here at Mary’s Village helps Daniel get his life back on track and do the right thing being a leader for his fellow peers here at the home saying that “I get a kick out of doing the right thing.”

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