Wendell, 55- Atlanta, GA

“I was in a loving household with a wife and children but I had a history of drugs and alcohol that kept coming up. Each time I went out, I got worse and worse. I would find myself on the street begging for money. I always told myself I would never do that, but it came to that. Living on the street is hard. I’m not really a street person. At my age,  you don’t get too many chances doing this. The older I get, the harder it gets. I need to learn from my mistakes instead of punishing myself. They call it insanity. It’s insanity to do the same thing over again, knowing that this might happen, expecting different results.

Addiction is a monster. When I start to take drugs, I just wanted more, more, more. I wanted to get back that high again. I wanted to stay like that. Regardless of where I’m at, I wanted to stay high all the time. It eliminates the depression and the stuff that went on in my childhood. You get more and more of a craving for it. It’s nonstop. I spent everything that I had. I stole from my household. I spiraled out of control and it led me to eventually losing my home and my car.”


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“I have a history of bipolar depression. I can’t use that as an excuse, I can’t blame anything. I know people who manage bipolar disorder without using drugs. Bipolar depression is like being down in the pits and there’s no way to get out. I just feel bad about myself. I have attempted suicide. I was in the lows all the time, I wanted to get myself out of there. There’s a way out, but I stay stuck mentally. Suicide was my escape. Then my escape was drugs, it didn’t make it any better. I tried twice letting the exhaust run in the car, but it didn’t work. I never told my wife and family. Today is better, but I need to be a lot more patient with myself. There aren’t too many opportunities out here to stay clean and sober, I need to stay focused and thankful. I can’t get off course.

I had an abusive childhood. I grew up without a father and guys around the neighborhood knew that and took advantage of it. I was beaten up. I was molested. That was just what ‘growing up’ was for me. I never really reflected on it but it caused a lot of trauma and led me down the path I’m on today.”


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“I’ve been clean six months now. I’m taking it one day at a time. I’m back in my own family again, I’m speaking with my kids. That gives me a lot of encouragement. I still think about drugs. I need to get a stronger network of people to talk to. I tell myself I’m okay, but I’m really not okay sometimes. Interactions with people who have faced and overcome the same struggles you’re dealing with saves lives.  I’m a veteran and what they do here is try and transition you out for work and stabilize your addiction. Right now I’m at the stage of getting another job and getting my own household.”


 

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