In the summer of my fifth-grade year, we moved away from Manhattan Beach to a new, strange neighborhood, the Midwood section of Brooklyn. I went from a happy kid to a not so happy kid. I became a junior “yahoo,” not fitting my personality. I did it to just fit in.
I was 12 years old not knowing what my futures was. My home life was scaring me because of the fighting between my folks. I was not doing well in school and getting into trouble. Life was hard for me. I made it to high school, made new friends, forgot about Manhattan Beach, and mom and dad were still fighting.
In 1967, drugs surfaced in my life. I started with pills, pot, and pharmaceutical drugs. It was wild and free times in New York City. I was just passing in my grades. I moved to the senior class.
It was 1969, the summer of Woodstock. I grew my hair long and just wanted to be left alone to “do my thing,” which was really nothing constructive at all. I was just wasting my time thinking I was having fun! Everything I did was based on getting high. As I was coming to the end of high school in the year 1969, my life was a mess; mixed up and drugged up, but I had a great girlfriend.
I was very troubled. I was sent to a psychiatrist to find out why I was such a confused young man. Why did I just want to get stoned and not go to a good college and learn how to be a proper young man? I hated when my parents argued, and the only relief I had was to get intoxicated. The new drug in town was cocaine and quaaludes. The parties became wild. I stole, I lied and I did what I had to do to get money to buy drugs. I was an outlaw in my folks’ eyes.
I went to college in Delaware, filled with men and women like me a – party school. We would drive to New York City every Friday night and return with drugs for the week to come. It was a waste of dad’s money, and I learned nothing. Things were still wild and free. I lasted at this school one year and was asked to leave.
One winter day, I asked one of the street fellows if he could get me a bag of heroin. He looked at me kind of funny and said, “Sure thing.” I gave him $20, and he returned with 2 bags. I took the bags up to my office and sniffed one of them. A couple of hours later, I did the other one. I never felt so good. All my pain went away. I was on top of the world. I gave up cocaine, pot, pills, and just wanted heroin. It all happened so fast. I became addicted to this white powder.
My world became a complete disaster. The family found out that I gave some to my wife, and she became addicted to this white powder. It was a horrible time. She broke down, went to her brother and “spilled the beans.” Her mother and brother went into action, hired a lawyer and got her into treatment. I was fired. I was sent to my first treatment center.
Kicking a heroin habit is probably the hardest task I ever did in my life. I can’t tell you what that pain was like. I could not do it. I left the treatment center and moved into a car in a gas station right across the street from the closed business. I had nothing left, and I did not care anymore. I called friends, borrowed money and used heroin. I was now a “street junkie.” I walked the streets begging for money. Finally, with the help of my dad, I got on Social Security Income, free government money. The country house was sold. I was given a small amount of money and the rest went to my ex-wife and children. I used all my money on drugs, sleeping in the car or being in a drug treatment place.
I had entered 34 different treatment centers in 11 years. I was homeless and a junkie. I lied to all my friends. I took their money. I was a terrible person. I lied to the drug rehabs wanting to help me. I lied to the doctors. All I wanted was another fix. My arms were black and blue from the needles. I did not eat. I was a scary person. All I wanted was another bag of dope.
My trip to hell went on for 11 years. One day, I could not find any dope, so I decided to end my life. I took a needle and shot 30cc of bug spray and passed out. Someone saw me and called 911. When I woke up in the emergency room, I told them why I shot bug spray. I was sent to Bellevue Hospital in New York City for 2 weeks. They released me, and I went back to Fulton Street and started all over again. On and on it went. I could not stop. The pain from not having was so bad. I was a broken man. All I wanted was to get a shot or die.
My dad cried, and my mom cried when I called and asked for money. Being loving parents, they sent money to me through Western Union. My sister cried, and so did my friends. they all wanted to see me get well. I did not care any longer. I wanted to die.
The last drug program I went to in upper Manhattan in 2000 sent me to Boca Raton. I finally broke the heroin habit after six hard months of pain and therapy. I was at the Boca House, a halfway house, working and doing well. But, I was not happy. I missed my wife and children. She would not talk to me and would not let the kids talk to me. I missed the drugs. So, I went back to the pills after a year and partied in Boca, going to pill doctors and using the needle again until the bottom dropped out, and I lost everything again. I was homeless in South Florida. I lost a great job, and again, I was lost, hurt and scared.
My friend told me about Faith Farm in Fort Lauderdale. In August of 2001, he dropped me off and drove away. I have been at Faith Farm ever since.
After being at Faith Farm for 6 months, I dropped “dead” one day in front of the church. I was taken to Broward General and was in the ICU for two weeks before I came back to life. I was taken in for a major open-heart surgery with two valve replacements and a pacemaker put in my chest. I have Hepatitis C and have been testing for the possibility of having blood cancer.
I am now an employee of Faith Farm for the last 8 years. I have been drug-free for more than 12 years. I have paid off $26,000 in past due child support. Mariel, my oldest daughter, has made me a grandfather. Although life has been a challenge, I now have Christ in my life. I have finally found some peace.
I know God loves me for He has kept me alive. He has a plan for me to help other men like myself to never use drugs again. I would like to thank everyone in my life for all your help, even when I was a lying person. I thank everyone here at Faith Farm for all you support.