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Stories Of Promise - A New Frame of Mind

Stories OF Promise - RichardIt came out of nowhere. I could barely breathe and there was an intense pain in my chest. I tried laying down but that hurt. I tried getting out of bed but that hurt too. The pain became so unbearable that I finally went to the hospital. After drawing my blood and running some tests, the doctor told me that the pain I was experiencing was heart inflammation. I was sure it was from installing drywall, painting houses and inhaling all these dangerous fumes without wearing a mask.

The heart inflammation was surprising in itself, but what the doctor said next left me in shock. He informed me that my blood work came back and that I tested positive for HIV. Not only was I on bed rest for weeks from the heart inflammation, I was stuck in a hospital room with nothing but my negative thoughts trying to process the fact that I had HIV.

Looking back, I guess it shouldn’t have been such a surprise. I’d been running the streets, smoking and selling dope since I was a teenager. My addiction to crack cocaine led me to a point where I couldn’t even recognize myself in the mirror and I eventually found myself making reckless choices when it came to my health. I would see these females getting high and sometimes they would have sex with me in exchange for drugs or money. Most days I was so high I didn’t even bother or care to wear a condom.

I thought having HIV would motivate me to get clean, but it took me years before I finally decided I was tired of being “the dope man” and I checked myself into a detox facility. Now, I am working on my sobriety and focused on my recovery. When it comes to relationships, I am practicing abstinence because I honestly have bigger things to worry about than being intimate. Living with HIV has given me a new perspective on what’s important and right now that’s taking my meds and staying clean, and that’s what I intend to do.

Broward House is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.

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