Climber Story: Jason Reyes

Climber Story: Jason Reyes
September 30, 2017 Nate Lanting

“You get so close with these people you can actually put your life in their hands…”


Jason was 13 years old when he moved from California to Washington. He had new friends and his parents were good to him; life was quite normal. But things began to change after his Dad up and left his family.

Finding new “family” in high school friends, he fell into partying, drinking and eventually using drugs. From weed, to ecstasy, to meth, it wasn’t long before things became out of hand. Committing retail theft and in-and-out of jail, Jason eventually became homeless. He was stuck. “I pushed my family aside; my life was all about me and it was all bad.” said Jason.  


“I pushed my family aside; my life was all about me and it was all bad.”


While being in jail for a stint of retail theft, Jason knew he needed a real change in his life. He talked to his mom while in jail and he requested help in finding a program that was longer than a traditional 90 day recovery program. His mom found Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission and he gave it a chance. After using his last shot of heroin, he entered the program and was in. Jason put in the hard work and graduated from the year long recovery program. He was thrilled, sober, and returned to life again. After a few months, Jason fell back into his addiction.

Strung out on heroin; he had relapsed.


“For the first time I saw how much actions affect others. And it bothered me. It really bothered me … I’m going to do everything different now”


Everything he worked for went away. His mom was devastated. Friends and family thought he was going to overdose and die. “For the first time I saw how much actions affect others. And it bothered me. It really bothered me. I went back to Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission again and I told God, ‘fine God I’m giving it back to you. I’m going to do everything different now’”.

This time it was different for Jason.

His perspective on his addiction and what he wanted in life changed. Something died and something new began to grow inside. He surrendered to God, his addiction, and the program. This time while going through the program, Jason learned of Climbing Out of Homelessness and joined the climb team. Training alongside men and women in recovery for the summit of Mt. Rainier gave new perspective and deeper strength to his recovery. “You get so close with these people you can actually put your life in their hands and trust it. I come from a background where I never could trust those around me. I started doing this for the first time. It changed me. I began to trust myself and others.”

Jason climbed Mt. Rainier in 2013 and 2014, with the Climbing Out of Homelessness program. The value of healthy relationships and healthy team gave him lasting sobriety and the change he was looking for.


“… things in life are hard. Now when things get tough I have people to help.”


Things haven’t been easy for Jason since then, but he remains sober. He married a fellow climber, and is now raising a family in Puyallup, Washington. Jason says “being a husband and a father is hard. But things in life are hard. Now when things get tough I have people to help.”

We celebrate stories like Jason’s. He is one of many that have come through our program and found what they were looking for; a lasting change.