I had been addicted to crack for almost two years at this point. I had lost contact with my family. My friends from my childhood barely even recognize me anymore. And I felt like I’ve
I had been addicted to crack for almost two years at this point. I had lost contact with my family. My friends from my childhood barely even recognize me anymore. And I felt like I’ve reached the lowest point that I could have possibly imagined. I had lived in various apartments with friends who were also addicts. But I had stayed no longer than a month. From there it was sleeping in homeless shelters or any other place I could sleep. I ended up having dinner at a homeless shelter in the city around Christmas time.
As I was finished eating, I headed for the door. I spotted a poster on a small bulletin board that was situated in the lobby. It read in big bold letters: “Are you an addict? You are not alone”. It was a poster for a sober living house. It offered anyone dealing with addiction a place to live and regular counseling. It was now or never, I thought. I soon approached a volunteer about it. He told me that he also used to live there while he was getting over his addiction to heroin.“ They’re great people. And they will set you on the right path. I promise you this,” he said. We talked for nearly an hour. We talked about where we grew up, our love for music, and how I had sold my guitar because of my addiction. He gave me directions. The last words he said to me were, “be sure to tell them that Mark sent you. They know who I am”.
I left the shelter that night. I had just enough money to pay the train fare. When I got to the sober living house, I approached the receptionist. “Hi, I’m Chris. Mark sent me,” I said. The receptionist smiled, “Yep. Mark called ahead of time to let us know about you coming.” She had me follow her down a small hallway. She would open up a pair of doors that would lead me to a large common room. People were congregating. Some watching TV. Others were reading from the Bible or playing ping pong. “Everyone, can I have your attention please?” Everyone in the room stopped what they were doing. “Folks, this is Chris. He’ll be staying here with us,” she announced. The room erupted in a welcoming “Hi, Chris!”. For the first time in a long time, I felt welcome.
The next day, I had started my group counseling. Twice every week, the residents would meet together in the common room to discuss their stories about addiction and the steps they were taking to get over it and fix their lives. At the same time, I had picked up a guitar again. During my downtimes, I would practice and took lessons to get better through a private instructor.
At that time, I had gotten in touch with my parents. I had begun to take steps to rebuild my relationship with them. One night, I had laid in bed. I couldn’t sleep. Not because I was going through withdrawal. I had a song playing in my head in an endless loop. I had begun to play it on my guitar. And it would soon become a song that would tell the story of my battle. I wrote the song in two days. At the next meeting, I performed it for the first time in front of my group. It was a song that I knew would tell my story and let those struggling with addiction know that they were not alone.