I can remember going back to six years old. My mother decided to get rid of me. She decided she couldn’t handle me and my three siblings. I ended up going and living with my grandmother for a while. While I was living with her she spoiled me and really treated me well. She was a god-fearing Christian woman who used to take me to church. That eventually ended up not working out and I went to live with my uncle. My uncle wasn’t a great guy. He was as I would say “on the wrong side of the road.” I remember he was selling drugs when I lived with him.
Then something happened that would change the course of my life forever. One night while my uncle was living at a motel there was a pregnant woman and two children and my uncle ended up getting into a fight with this woman. My uncle pulled out a gun and opened fire on her. I immediately grabbed a knife and stabbed my uncle directly in the neck killing him. He bled out right there.
I was charged with murder and was looking at life in prison. Then the woman that I saved showed up at court. She told the judge that I saved her life and that helped tremendously. My charges were dropped do assault with a deadly weapon.
I ended up doing time and being released into a group home. I wasn’t really following all the rules. I wanted to go and see my grandmother which was not allowed. So they would send me back to jail for a few months and then I’d go back to the group home and I’d break more rules and it was what seemed like an endless cycle. One time I even threatened to burn down the place in which I was also sent to jail for.
Another incident I remember was one of the staff members was refusing to give me food and I was starving. All the food was stored in the garage. So I decided to grab his key, take his truck, and proceeded to drive it right through the front of the garage. Then I grabbed my food. The staff member came out and saw what had happened and came at me swinging. I started swinging back and the next thing you know I’m having assault charges pressed against me. I ended up going to jail for a year for that.
While I was in jail it was either fight or get messed up. I had to go and fight other inmates to get respect. There was another inmate who was going to help me out but I had to earn his respect. Somehow he had gotten a ball from a billiards table and put it in a sock. He then pointed out a guy and told me to go hit him with it. After I hit him, I was scared shitless and ran back to my cell. Because I did that I got a lot of respect but for a month I was locked down for twenty-three hours a day as punishment. I would do other little tasks here and there to survive. Believe it or not, the prison took us good inmates, to a soccer game. I and four other inmates escaped. I went to see my grandma and as much as she loved me she called the police on me. I had an extra month added to my sentence for that.
Eventually, I got out of jail and was back on the streets. I managed to stay clean for sixteen months. Then it happened, my Grandmother died. I was heartbroken. I felt empty inside. I couldn’t take the pain anymore and I relapsed.
I was introduced to crack at twelve years old. My uncle used to give it to me I would snort speed and crack. Since it was adults doing it with me I thought doing this stuff was okay. I remember always running errands for my uncle and making a lot of money. I would do things like taking a book bag full of something I didn’t know what it was and drop it off to someone. So I got paid a lot and would always have the nicest things.
Eventually, my use progressed to meth and heroin. One time I was shooting up meth and had gotten a bad batch and my arm. I ended up going to the hospital. I was given antibiotics and sent home. I had a bad reaction and my arm and went to a second hospital and they couldn’t do anything and then finally to a third hospital where my flesh had gotten so bad they had to give me a skin graph.
Eventually, I joined a gang. I was in and out of jail from the ages of thirteen to thirty. I remember in one jail I was transferred to it felt like someone was getting stabbed every few days.
I met my mother selling drugs. I never knew mother so I didn’t even realize it was her.
There were times that I was homeless. The drugs did a number on me and I ended homeless for quite a time. I had to panhandle for money and I kept all my belongings in a shopping cart. I can still remember the time I was out on the streets and overnight it got so cold that when I woke up my pants had frozen stiff. I had to go somewhere to warm them up. A lot of the homeless shelters wouldn’t let me stay there because I would be selling drugs to keep up my drug habit. I could also be quite violent. If you had drugs on you I would get violent and just rob the person. One time I had enough and went deep into the woods where I thought no one would be and took a lethal dose of heroin. It ends up there was a woman hiking with her dog and found my Narcan on me and shot me with it and saved my life. She thought I was diabetic and that was my insulin.
Eventually, I just got sick of it all, homelessness, shelters, and group homes. I’ve completely turned my life around. I’m currently not using and living in a rehab facility. Today I look back and see a higher power was at play and my life was saved. I’ve overdosed more than thirteen times and I shouldn’t be here, but I am.
Life is good. I’m off the streets and finally have a place where I feel safe. I’m happy and sober and thank God for every day and the gift of sobriety he has given me. This time my sobriety feels different, I feel I’m going to make it this time.