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I had a broken home from the beginning. I only met my father once. It was about five years ago, only two weeks before he passed away. My mom was a functioning alcoholic. I remember when I was about nine years-old, she basically did her own thing and ignored us. But, I was blessed with a wonderful grandmother who took care of us. When my grandmother passed, we lost our compass.
Social service wanted to take us all away. I had to step up to the plate and do the talking for my younger siblings, especially after my grandmother passed. The Department of Social Services ended up taking us. We had a bunch of relatives in town, but, not surprisingly, when you see an armload of children coming to your door, nobody wants to be bothered. So, we hopped around from neighborhood to neighborhood until they got tired of us, then we’d move again.
During this time, I learned to make myself irreplaceable. I cleaned, I cooked, anything I could do to remain in the household. And even when we were no longer living with them, they would call me to come clean their restrooms – I was best at that. Even today, I’ll go into a restroom and make it sparkle.
During my senior year of high school we had one pair of jeans, one pair of sneakers, two shirts, maybe three pair of underwear for each of us. We washed them every night when we came home. Everybody always talked about how we kept our clothes clean. When I turned 17 years-old, I was given the authority to have my mother institutionalized for her alcoholism. And that’s exactly what I did. By the grace of God it worked. She came back around after her recovery like she had never missed a beat.
So, at this time Mom’s back, so we’re in the process of establishing her place and trying to start all over again. The return of my mom opened a new horizon for me. I was awarded a scholarship to Carolina School of Broadcasting. But two months before graduation, my mom made a slip with alcohol, and I thought it was starting all over again. I didn’t take time off of school, I just quit.
I eventually became gainfully employed and working odd jobs. I became good at residential maintenance. I did that for a few years and I got tired of it. Then, I went to a bank and got a job in the mail room. Everybody I grew up with was into the fast life. I got with the guys who were into drug sales, and I sold drugs for eight years. I did it for a while without getting into any trouble. But little did I know I was playing with fire. Everything I’d worked for, everything I’d built, was ruined when I was busted by the law with a drug conviction. I stayed in jail for 90 days. That’s when I began to think. I knew I could never sell drugs again.
I ended up in Black Mountain, where I went to see a doctor. I looked so bad to him, he asked me if I wanted to live or die. I told him I wanted to live! He gave me a voucher to get a taxi one way to detox. I stayed up there for a 28 day program, then went to a recovery unit, where I stayed for about seven months. God showed me this drug addiction is for me to control, and I’m working the program today. I’m living a clean life. November 8 of this year I’ll be clean for three years, and I never thought I could do it.
A little over a year and half ago I got in touch with the staff at McCreesh Place, and I have been here ever since. I’m blessed to be here at McCreesh Place because it brings a sense of stability to my life. I’m just so comfortable here. My life is so much better here at McCreesh Place. I have a bed to make up. I have a receipt for rent. Before I came here I didn’t have these things. I was sleeping on people’s couches. The only receipt I ever got was for buying alcohol and cigarettes from the store.
Each day I celebrate stepping out of a bed, just putting my feet on the ground. My greatest joy today is knowing I’ve got this addiction corralled. I know this is a life-long illness, and I’ve got to work with this rascal. He’s with me, whether I want him to be or not. McCreesh Place gave me direction when there was none.