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What if I sat you down at 13-years-old, looked you dead square in your eyes and said, “addiction owns me.” What would you have done? How would you have reacted?

This is my story.

You see, this now so-so 26-year-old of a man, or whatever they call mid-twenty year olds now once never thought he would live to be 20 but here I am, still kicking, still breathing, still living. Maybe God had a plan? Heck, all I know is I am here, there’s got to be a reason.

This 26-year-old writing this story wouldn’t be able to do this several years ago. It wasn’t because I was fighting for my life in a hospital bed in Southwest, Virginia. It wasn’t because I wasn’t able too, I was. But, I was scared too. I was terrified to show the world who I truly was — now I am ready.

Back in June, I wrote a story about how baseball saved me and truth be told, it really did. It saved me from the drugs and the mental abuse of not having a father in my life. Baseball was my calling, or so I thought.

Have you ever had something happen in your life and you’re like, “Why did that just happen?” Or have you met someone and you’re thinking, “Why did our worlds cross paths?” Those things happened to me, even at a young age.

I hadn’t quite hit age 17 just yet since my birthday was in September but in the summer of 2008, I remember playing for a travelling baseball team called the “NRV Storm” at the age of 16 with young men ranging from 16-18.

At 16, I was living the life, or so they say. I was a party man, a wild animal on the loose, you can say. I was above the law, I was above religion, I was invincible.

If you thought I was invincible, I wasn’t even close to being invincible and I would quickly learn that when I went to slide into home and I landed awkwardly on my left knee, tearing ACL and MCL. After numerous testing, several doctors opinions the dream of playing baseball, the calling in which I thought God has placed on my life was over.

It was over; but it wasn’t over.

Once I got the news of not being able to play baseball again, I broke down, I got sick. I thought life was over, I thought that if I couldn’t play the game I loved, what was the point of being clean from drugs?

So, my addiction got worse. From smoking pot every now and then to every day. The addiction was holding me down. It wasn’t something I could break, it wasn’t something I could just run from or quit cold turkey. The addiction slowly went from smoking weed to shooting heroine, to snorting cocaine.

For years, I used, I sold, I made money. I made a living using and selling drugs. I didn’t care who I hurt until one day in 2009. It all changed. It’s when I began changed. It wasn’t easy, but it had to be done.

I remember the Morris’ family taking me in their home earlier that year and they were planning a trip to Atlanta, Georgia for New Years but the main reason they were going was to see Virginia Tech play Tennessee in the Chic-Fil-A Bowl in the Georgia Game. They asked me to go and of course, it was free, so I went.

I remember stating to them I need something to smoke but not a cigarette, I was needing dope, I needed something that could get me high. After all we were in Atlanta, it was night time, so maybe after we got back to the hotel and everyone got settled in, I thought I could sneak away to go buy something, but I couldn’t.

That day, December 31st, 2009 changed my life forever.

From that moment on I was made to make a promise, a promise that if I ever struggled with addiction I would call them no matter what, no matter how hard it was to call, I would. Stupid me agreed to the compromise but what I didn’t know at the time was they were saving my life.

Then it happened, one Sunday after going through the motions at my local church, I went home to watch a Redskins game on TV and I had some pot in my pocket. The family wasn’t going to be home for a while, I knew I could smoke it and have the smell gone by the time they arrived home but a commercial came on the television and for some reason I watched it. It was a commercial about living drug free. I flipped it off, threw the remote and cried in anger.

I went to the bathroom down the hall, wept, looked myself in the mirror and said, “You are better than this. You are bigger than this.” I remember taking the pot and flushing it down the toilet. That was the last day I ever touched an illegal drug. December 30th, 2009 was the last time I smoked a drug.

To say I haven’t thought about smoking or using, I would be lying. I’ve had my chances, I’ve had my opportunities, but I have said no. It wasn’t necessarily for me, it was for my family. I couldn’t keep hiding behind the demons so I refused the drugs.

This road has been hard, the journey has been hellish and the fight has been a hard one. Every day I wake up and want to smoke, snort, or shoot up. But then I remember how important I am. I remember how important my life is for the people in it.

Every Sunday that a Redskins game is on, you can find me in front of the television watching the game. Good or bad, I am tuning in. If I can’t tune in, I listen on the radio or get on social media to see what is going on. It doesn’t matter what their record is, it doesn’t matter who their coach is, all that matters is they are on and I am listening.

On an important note, remember it is okay to not be okay, but it is not okay to not ask for help. If you are reading this, please ask for help, reach out, talk to me.

Let’s connect, friends.

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