Moving here to South Florida in 1994, my plan was to go where I knew no one, and no one knew me, in hope this would help me stop using. Did this work? Yes for about four months. But being the addict that I’m, I know where to find what I’m really looking for. I was going downtown one day in West Palm Beach and made a wrong turn and that’s when I found a place where I could get a small fix. Little did I know this small fix would turn into years of destruction. I started using again. I always felt I had control of my addiction and believed I was functioning addict. I could see that this was a habit but deep down inside, I didn’t think I needed help. I had a good job, my daughter went to nice schools, I had cars, money, a nice house, but I didn’t have myself.

I wanted to stop but, then again I didn’t know how. I became involved with a drug cartel in 1995. I stared trafficking drugs from other countries back to the United States. I put myself and family in dangerous situations and this went on for several years. My last trip to Jamaica is when things turned around for me. I was coming back and when I was going through customs, I was asked a lot more questions than normal during my travels. At this time I knew I was caught. I was searched and taken into custody at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, waiting for my bond hearing. My bond was set so high I thought this was the end of my life.

The next morning I was able to get out on bond and was placed on pretrial while awaiting my trial. I was hit with three charges. While on pretrial I was using and could not pass a drug test. I had to go back in front of the judge to find out if violated my pretrial release. While in front of the judge, I was told I violated my pretrial release and would be sent to prison. I was afraid to go to prison so I told the judge that I had a problem and I was court ordered to go to treatment. I only went to treatment to escape going to prison. I did not take it seriously and I had reservations after getting out about going back to my “normal” life.

After a month in treatment I was kicked out and during the time being out, a warrant was put out for my arrest for violation again. I went back in front of the judge, and asked if I could return to treatment and I was granted to return back. The second go-round I decided to work on myself. After completing five months of treatment I was discharged and I took all the suggestions that were given to me and applied them to my life. I found a home group, I got a sponsor, I worked the steps, and six months later I had to go in front of the judge again to be sentenced. I was looking at seven to 10 years in federal prison, but with the help of NA and treatment and the suggestions I finally took, I was sentenced to thirty months. I completed 18 months, and 12 of the months I was in a drug program. I wanted to make sure I could get all I could before going back into society.

Once I was released I still had a lot ahead of me. I had to complete six months of half way, and 10 ½ years of probation. I lost my job, car, house, and had no money; the Feds took it all. I didn’t just lose material things, I had to send my daughter to Maryland and I didn’t see her for three years. Just imagine, taking a four year old to school one morning and not seeing her until three years later. It hurt. I had to persevere knowing that it was going to get better. After getting out of half way I was able to reunite with my daughter and make a better life for not only her, but for myself. My recovery came first. I had to live places I didn’t want to live, and work at places that would allow me to be employed because I was a convicted felon. Today I work in a field that I never dreamed of working in and I love what I do. I’m so grateful today. I lost my mother when I was 11 years clean, but I’m so happy that she was able to see me get my life back on track. Today I’m grateful to say I have 19 years clean and I have a beautiful 5-month-old granddaughter. I’m currently in school to pursue my career in the addiction field. Today I will persevere.

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