“Right now I am in a homeless shelter. I just got out of jail. In 2016 I walked into a store and told them to give me their money. I didn’t get anything though. They ran in the back, locked themselves in, and called the cops. I got away, but a week later they got me. I was so high when that happened. But I got clean in jail. I have been using since 2004.
“But it’s scary being out of jail. I would rather be in jail than keep using. Addiction is like a prison. It is hell. I don’t know what is worse, out here using, or in jail locked away. I honestly think using is worse.
“I have two daughters, one 14 and the other will be 13 soon. When I was in jail these last 14 months, the mother of my daughters passed away. I have not seen them in a while. Their mother’s father – their grandfather – has custody of them right now. He and their grandmother have basically raised them because their mother and I have been in active addiction for so long.
“I was on the phone with their grandfather this morning. He doesn’t want me seeing them right now. He told me it’s because for the last couple of years I would tell them I am doing good, but then always wind up using again. Every time I would get back in their life, I would wind up using again and leave them, and its damaging to them. He wants to protect them from getting hurt again like that, especially now because their mother is gone. He wants me to be get clean once and for all before I see them again.
“What I want my daughters to know is that I see things differently now. I am so broken down and desperate to change. I can’t make up for what they feel… I know I can’t make up for that. I grew up without my mother. That was all I wanted, was my mother. I promised I would never do that to my girls. But they lost their mother and are growing up without me. Time has gone by so fast, and I know I can’t get those years back.
“It has been two weeks that I have been out out jail. I know I still have a chance, but I don’t trust myself. I have been tricking myself into believing that I finally would kick the habit for years, but I always end up relapsing.”
~ Toms River Library