My childhood to me was dysfunctional I guess, I don’t know… I’ve always had problems with wanting to be loved. I used to cry because I thought my dad loved my sister more than me. I grew up in a trailer park in Virginia until I was 13. Then I moved to Maryland with my daddy. He was always in and out of jail due to his addiction. He used to overdose all the time and I would cry, and my mom was always there to save him and call the ambulance. I never had a lot as a kid. I also had a lot of anger. I was kicked out of school for fighting all the time. By the age of 15 I had started using and moved in with a friend. I was selling drugs and I was using every day. My living situation wasn’t the best. I’d randomly get kicked out all the time. The worst part that came from the whole situation was seeing my friend get shot and killed. Looking back, I remember thinking I wouldn’t say anything and really having no feeling or even caring… By the age of 17 I had finally found heroin. Honestly, the best thing for me was that it made me numb to anything or anyone and I didn’t have to feel that lonely and not loved feeling anymore. I started to get my family back and started living with them again. Me and my sister are super close. I remember her being pregnant with my nephew and giving her heroin because I wanted her to know I loved her. That’s how we showed love in my family. I used with my father and my brother also. Our family was kinda living good to my standards. We were having Christmas. We hadn’t been kicked out of our house like every other one. It was due to my dad seeing multiple doctors and me and my brother were selling the pills, but I actually felt happy while starting to use heroin and cocaine. The drug dealing had caught up to us in 2011. One early morning around 6 AM, I was in my driveway about to hit the methadone clinic and I looked up to see black SUVs pulling in. I knew it was a raid since I have been in two previous, so I laid on the ground thinking I’d be out in two hours. Little did I know it was the FBI. I remember being sick off methadone for my first time in jail and wanting to kill myself. I couldn’t sleep. I knew I wasn’t getting out and nobody could help me. I NEVER felt more alone and hopeless than at this point. About 30 days later I started the sleep and gain weight. I got sentenced to two years and was on my way to prison. Things were okay, but I didn’t want to die anymore. After a little while in prison, my dad was having problems as usual. I remember praying “God please watch over my father. Please at least until I get out of here.” A week later they pulled me from my cell at midnight and told me I needed to call my mother. Immediately I knew something was wrong. So, I called her and she’s crying hysterically. She says to me “your dad is dead.” I hung up on her. I felt so horrible there was nothing I could do. I remember thinking where the fuck was you, why didn’t you save him like every other time. The prison I was in let me out for one day to go to his funeral. So, I had my sister bring me some dope and I stayed high through my dad told funeral. I’m still hurt to this day over this. While in jail or prison my dad never came to see me. I like to think it’s because he didn’t want to see me like that, but I envy my sister because she got to have that last conversation with him. He met her son and I didn’t get any of that. At this time, I’m mad at God, my mom and I hate myself. Prison finally came to an end and I was on my way home. I came home, and my mother was now using, and it was so different without my dad there. I was doing okay but drinking a lot. I was working and saving money and then I met this girl. I ended up dating her but really, I didn’t like her just didn’t want to be alone. I moved in with her and keep drinking a lot. Eventually I start shooting heroin again and I guess she didn’t like me either because she called my probation officer and told her I was using. So, I go to rehab for the first time and honestly it made me mad. I had to be there so when I finish the 28 days I got right out and started using and ended up violating my probation. I ended up doing a little more time in the super Max prison in Baltimore. I met a girl in rehab that I have been dating this whole time so when I get out of super Max we pick up where we left off getting high. Anyway, fast-forward a little bit. I have a job and end up losing it because I stole a truck to go to the methadone clinic after losing my job ship went downhill fast. My girl was doing shit I didn’t approve of. She was getting money from older men and I couldn’t take watching or knowing that, so we ended up going out and committing crimes together. We eventually got a call. To be honest. I felt relieved to be caught. The stress of life and finding the next one was getting to me. My charges were armed robbery, robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery. I felt I was fucked but God had a different plan for me I guess that’s the way I am thinking now. Thinking back on it while in the holding cell I prayed for the first time since my dad’s death. I prayed I didn’t care what happened to me just please get her out of this. This is what started me believing God was there for me because she ended up getting bonded out and we both beat are more serious charges. I was still in jail but got out after serving 18 months’ time. I was on probation when I got out and I violated two weeks later after I overdosed two times and caught new charges. I had bonded out and went to Mount Manor. I got the Vivitrol shot because I know I want to get high. I get out of there and my girl comes home. I start smoking a lot of crack and eventually end up homeless and staying in a motel while my girl is supporting me and her drug habit the only way she knows how. The feelings I got in the motel were bad. I didn’t care if I died. I actually wanted to. I was hoping and praying please kill me because to me life was only pain. It was as worse as it could ever get. The woman I loved hated me. She was doing degrading stuff and I was doing nothing but feeling sorry for myself. Anyway, I ended up meeting someone from the Up & Out Foundation and he got me into rehab. WOW! I am now living in their sober living house. Since being in this house the foundations helped me get my license back and to be truly honest I don’t know where I’d be without this foundation and their help. Today this is the longest I’ve ever been clean on the streets, so I am very grateful.