At the age of 10, I ran away because my mother was divorcing my alcoholic father & I wanted to get their attention and get them back together.

That was when I was introduced to heroin & it got my attention. I stayed on the street, homeless and addicted, for 6 years. I was a gang member and a dealer. They became my new family.

In another attempt to get clean and be “normal” I tried to leave my gangster days behind. One night 5 on my own “family” members jumped me in an alley and stabbed me 8 times in the stomach leaving me for dead. It was then that I first realized how my addiction had profoundly distorted my thinking. I remember looking down, seeing my blood and guts swirling in gravel & dirt on the pavement. All I could think about was how I was going to get some good “dope” in the ER. That was one of many times to come where I came close to death because of my addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Finally, after numerous attempts at detox and rehabs, I found recovery. That was 26 years ago and I want to share with others that RECOVERY FROM ADDICTION IS POSSIBLE! This disease can be managed just like any other lifelong illness such as diabetes or depression. And just like those diseases, the person needs ongoing treatment.

The number one reason addicts don’t seek treatment is still because of societal stigma. Keep your minds and hearts open, and don’t be quick to judge, people of Garrett County! Because the next statistic could be your child, your neighbor, your preacher, your brother, sister, cousin or you.

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