When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing you do? What is your routine? Do you tell your loved ones that you love them? Or do you just stretch out and make yourself some coffee? We all have a routine, it’s how we start our day and if something breaks that routine it can possibly ruin our day.

You see, I was a simple kid growing up. I would work with my grandfather on his farm just outside of Richmond, Virginia during the summers when I was out of school. It taught me values of life, friendship and hard work. It also taught me how to be a man, but somehow I lost my way.

Growing up, I played rec league baseball and then started to play travel baseball. It was my lifeline. My bloodline. Hell, baseball was everything to me. Baseball, to a point, saved my life. 

As I got older and knew that my talents could take me to a big college and as letters would come in from time to time to play at their school, I started to get “big headed” as some would call it. I was invincible. Or so I thought. 

You see, I was far, very far from being invincible. At the age of 13, I started smoking cigarettes and then it grew from there. By the age of 15, I was experiencing the drugs such as marijuana and truthfully, I loved it. I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. 

By the age of 16 and 17, I was hooked on marijuana. I enjoyed it so much that it was my go to, but, I needed more. I needed another high. Therefore I turned to heroin and speed along with cocaine. 

By the age of 17, I was not only using, but I was selling. I never got in trouble with the law, I was too get to get caught. I was too good at hiding the lies that I was living. You see, I was living a life that I was was full of lies. I was living a life bitterness, a life of pure hate. 

Before we get too far ahead lets go back in time a little bit.

As I mentioned above, I played baseball and absolutely loved it. But, through it all I was still depressed and down. Even though scouts would come and watch me, just solely me, meant a lot, but it wasn’t enough for me. As time went on, I would play baseball with some sort of drug in my system. I needed it so much that I would sneak off somewhere before getting dressed and would shoot up or smoke quickly so I could get a high.

People ask me all the time, how did you do this? Well, at that time I was driving on my own and was able to sneak away to wherever I wanted to go. So, for me, it was pretty easy. 

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I will never forget the day that I was on a traveling baseball tournament league in Covington, Virginia, about 4 hours away from where I lived at the time. My mother was in a local hospital dealing with a brain aneurysm and was fighting for her life. I remember her words to me directly that were “go play baseball. I will be okay.” As much as I didn’t want to go, I needed to. My mom after all told me to. 

The game in Covington was a championship game. Then it happened … as I was sliding to touch the home plate, trying to avoid a tag, I slid early and landed awkwardly on my left knee tearing my ACL and MCL. After numerous tests and over three doctor’s opinions, I knew I would not be playing baseball again. Hell, I could barely stand at the time, thinking about running made me sick.

Sick is what I got when teams that were hopeful for my talents to join their baseball program found out that I was using street drugs to cover up depression and a lack of having a father in my life. I remember getting a call from a team that wouldn’t be named here and they just said it was a sad day, but they were wishing me well.

Wishing me well, say what? I didn’t want to be wished well. I wanted to be told I would be playing baseball again, I was told I was not able to do that.

Through it all though, I had a family truly show me what love was and what love is. In December of 2009 it was brought up in conversation that if I wanted to live with them then I would need to be sober, or at least make an effort. 

I attempted to make an effort. From 2009 to late 2018, I remained sober. Until one day in October of this year. I made a decision to go out with a former friend of mine at this local bar downtown and decided to use street drugs, this then led me back into the bar, high and drunk. No one knows until now.

I used it as coping skill for the pain, the hurt, and the aggression that I had from not knowing my father. I also used it as a mask to hide from the depression. It helped me, at the time.

However, when I came to my senses, I realized I made a terrible mistake and couldn’t come face to face and be honest with my family, friends or even the people reading this.

So, the best way for me to be honest is this way. Write it down. 

Only time will tell where I go from this point, but know that I will do better, I will grow from it and I will receive all the help needed to deal with the issues that I am dealing with. 

A slogan I live by now is “seek discomfort”. 

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