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Stories Of Promise - Damaged Goods

Stories Of Promise

I was never careful, I’ve never been safe. The drugs and the needle came first. I didn’t care about anyone or anything but getting high. It is such a miserable way to live. I don’t know how I ever did it to begin with. It’s not fun. It’s like living a lie. Actually it’s not living at all. It’s meaningless. But as long as I thought I looked good, I never believed that I had a problem.

The only reason I got tested for HIV in prison was because it got me out of my room for a little while. They gave us food, some attention and we got to watch TV. At the time I was surprised to learn I was HIV positive. I took my medication in prison, but that’s because they made me. The minute I got out and started using again, I stopped taking my medication.

I’m unworthy, what’s it going to matter? I’m a convicted felon. I have HIV. There’s no point in trying to get better. This lifestyle is a vicious cycle and the minute I felt depressed I dove deeper into drugs and escorting to pay for the drugs. I was whoever you wanted me to be for the time being so that I could get what I wanted. Living on the streets I had so many different personalities. Deep down, I was utterly and miserably alone.

When I was finally brought to a treatment facility I couldn’t walk straight. I couldn’t even form a sentence. I didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. But while in treatment I got to sleep. I was able to let my body recover without being judged for being busted up. It was here that I finally met other people with HIV, other people addicted to drugs, that I realized I could get better. That’s when I started to care and I was finally able to acknowledge that I had a problem. I had lost everything and it finally hit me.

I’m in the efforts business not the outcomes business. I just do the next right thing and work hard and whatever’s going to happen is going to happen. I did what I did but it’s in the past. I have to focus on me and stop worrying about the outside world. I can look myself in the eye now and I can look other people in their eyes. I’m even back in college studying psychology. The opposite of addiction is connection so I’m putting a lot of effort into making solid connections with others. It’s not easy but I’m finding what works for me. The best part is, now that I’m not using, I take my HIV medication every day. It’s been a long road, but I am proud to say that my HIV is now undetectable. I no longer think of myself as damaged goods.

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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Wilton Manors, FL 33311

Tel (954) 568-7373 ext 7373

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