A Part of Me
My story begins in a small town in Florida by the name of Lake City. It is here where my drug addiction began.
I was honorably discharged from the Army in 1993 and decided to go back to Lake City and start my life over. Let me just say, I’m originally from Englewood, New Jersey. My parents grew up in Lake City and wanted to come back home after they had retired. I hated Lake City. All the dirt roads. The language was so different than what I was used to. Nevertheless, I graduated from high school and went into the military.
In 1995, my life changed for the worse. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was visiting a cousin at his house and it was there I was introduced to crack cocaine. My life would never be the same. That first hit, I was hooked for 25 years of my life.
I’ve robbed, stolen, broke into people’s houses, all because of my addiction. I’ve slept in abandoned houses, slept on park benches, in crackhouses. I’ve eaten out of dumpsters and the list goes on and on. Nothing positive came out of my drug addiction. I was in a very dark place and all alone. My family cut off all communication with me and I was very angry at them for doing so. I was just totally out of control.
My daily routine would be get up (if I had any sleep at all) and try to find ways to smoke crack. It was common for me to go days without a shower or food in my mouth. It’s very sad when you don’t care how you look or feel about life. People talk down to you, disrespect you, and treat you less than a human being.
Nobody chooses this for their life – it just happened. It’s how you overcome that is the key. You have to make up your mind. Believe me, it’s not easy. I pretended that I was going to stop, promised my family I was going to stop, but it was all just talk. I missed out on a lot during my addiction. Family gatherings, funerals of important people in my life. I’ve lost cars, homes, jobs, tried to commit suicide three times. That’s how bad I was, but there is a happy ending to all of this.
It was September 9, 2015, when I decided to come to The Transition House in Saint Cloud, Florida. It changed me forever. It was there I found out total strangers cared about me when I didn’t care about myself. I learned how to live again and made a conscious decision to change my life.
I’m a religious and spiritual man. I couldn’t have made it without God’s guidance and direction. Always loved going to church since I was a little boy. Here, I was taught that you are what you think you are, meaning, you can be anything you want to be in your life. I was given a second chance to make it right.
No one is promised tomorrow, I’ve always said to myself. I didn’t want to die being a drug addict. To me, it just seems a waste of life. I’ve since enrolled at Valencia College and UCF for my Bachelor’s in Psychology and to become a mental health counselor to help veterans or anyone with substance abuse and alcohol-related problems.
In my closing, I am so grateful and thankful to Mr. Tom Griffin and all the staff at The Transition House for creating a new me. I’m more focused and determined than I’ve ever been. People love me again and want to be around me. That’s a great feeling.The main reason I’m writing this letter is that hopefully, it will inspire someone to change their life and realize that life is worth living.
I write this in all sincerity and honesty,
My story begins in a small town in Florida by the name of Lake City. It is here where my drug addiction began. I was honorably discharged from the Army in 1993 and decided to go back to Lake City and start my life over.
Being homeless is not just those who are on drugs, uneducated, living in a corner or on the streets. We are veterans who are living with friends, families or in cars. We are going to school and struggling to make ends meet.