I started using drugs when I was seventeen years old. I started out smoking pot. I didn’t use any hard drugs until I got to college in 1979, and I started snorting cocaine with buddies. It progressed from pot to cocaine to crack cocaine.Crack cocaine is what really brought me down in life.
When I look back, one of the reasons I got out of control was failure. Every time I turned around, I was failing at something: school, professional career, basketball, career in the Navy, marriages, everything I did, I failed. The more I failed, the worse my using became to hide my pain.
I’ve always loved sports and athletics. That was my escape. That was how I escaped from things like adultery, drugs and being physically abused. Later in life I found out that I became those people. I became an adulterer and a drug addict. What I saw, I became; except I never put my hands on a woman. It was very scary for me to see my stepfather physically beat my mother. I would try to intervene, and he would smack me down. It was very painful. But looking back on my childhood, everything that I saw, I became.
I was always very good in sports, and I got a scholarship to college. Everything that God gave me, it seemed like I blew it, including that scholarship. I was fortunate that I was good enough, and they wanted me overseas to play ball. But I couldn’t stay sober over there, and they kicked me out of the league.
I got back home with the money that I had made and blew $200,000 in about seven months. My wife left me. It was a hard time. I was lonely and had nothing or nobody. I had become what my environment was.
The one thing missing was church. I never went to church. I never had God in my life and it wasn’t until I decided that I was going to put God in my life that things turned around for me. I’m just grateful that God pulled me out of the miry muck I was in and set my feet on a rock to stay. It’s been a hard life.
I remember one of the most painful things was my marriage breaking up. When my daughter was about two years old, my wife joined the Air Force without me knowing. She was working part-time and living with her parents.I was not working; I was draining our bank accounts, using drugs, and it was a real ugly scene.
When my wife came home from basic training, she decided that she didn’t want to be married anymore. That was a blow to me, because the whole time she was gone, I was trying real hard to turn things around with my life so that we could have a life together. Her asking for a divorce was really crushing to me. I decided I was going to join the Navy Reserves to help myself make some money and kind of keep my life going.
After we divorced, I moved back home to West Palm Beach with my mother. She lived in a very drug infested area. I hadn’t been a hardcore user until I moved back to that neighborhood. The more I felt self-pity for myself, the more I sunk into using crack cocaine. I just couldn’t find a way out. I was living on the streets for a while. Nobody wanted anything to do with me. I started stealing and robbing. I was living with my grandfather and I was stealing from him, but he didn’t care. He loved me unconditionally. It wasn’t until he passed that I realized I needed to turn my life around.
When I got to Faith Farm in February 1998, I just thought I was going to get off drugs and try to lead a normal life. I had no idea that God had a plan for me to stay here and to work in the ministry. After getting sober and clean for a while, things started coming back to me. I cleaned myself up and started thinking clearly like the man I was supposed to be. I never once thought I would become Assistant Director or Director in this program. God’s given me all of my family back. He’s given me so much more than I thought I could have ever attained.