My older sister introduced me to methadone when I was 13, and when my dad passed away, the drug use increased. When I was 16, I got my own apartment, and people were in and out all the time; there were no rules. That’s when I started using meth. As a senior in high school, I caught charges for credit card fraud, identity theft, and stealing from the gas station where I worked. I was convicted and received five years felony probation. That was in May. By June I was shooting up meth, cocaine, heroin, and anything else that a person could shoot up. My whole life was going downhill, and I lost my apartment. A drug dealer I hung out with introduced me to BackPage. You can find houses and cars and things like that on it like you can on Craigslist, but it’s also used by prostitutes, pimps, and sex traffickers. The drug dealer and I got rooms in motels, and I put up an ad on BackPage for escort services. I did ‘in calls’ where the person would come to me and ‘out calls’ where I would go to them. One time when I was on an out call, I let the guy fix my shot (my dosage of drugs), and things happened that I had not signed up for. I used drugs intravenously for 5 years and prostituted for 4.
Since I was still on felony probation, I was supposed to report to my probation officer once a month, but there were a lot of gaps in there when I didn’t report for a long time and I’d have to go to jail for a few weeks. Sometimes, to avoid jail, I’d check into rehab, but I didn’t stop using. Then in February I overdosed and was really, really sick. When I checked into rehab that time, I knew I had to make some major changes. If I continued the way I was going, I was going to die. I knew I had to stay in rehab. If I went out again, I would use. That’s why I was never able to be a drug dealer. I wouldn’t have made any money; I would have done the drugs myself. So I stayed, and that place saved my life. I couldn’t have left anyway. I didn’t have anywhere to go—not anywhere good. After 5 weeks in rehab, the case manager looked for a place for me and found a community living program in Memphis.
I don’t want to set my goals too high right now—I have to finish this program first—but one day I’d like to work with children as a social worker or as a drug counselor. My brother’s friend’s daughter was really bad into drugs. I talked to her about the rehab I went through, and now she’s turned her life around, so I feel like I’ve already made a difference with somebody. I think because of what I’ve been through, I can help other people in the same situation. I want to show kids and teenagers that there’s a different way, that there’s a way out. I want to give back.
I don’t think God created me to die a junkie.