“I’ve overdosed 6 times and I was on the run from the police because I was facing a prison term for robbing my sister in law’s jewelry box to fund my drug and alcohol addiction. In my mind, I was thinking I would pawn it and once I get my G.R. check, I can cash it and get the jewelry back but I never did. So they found out the jewelry was missing and they pressed charges. I was living in my sister in law’s garage at that time and she kicked me out of her house, thus, prompting me to live in my car in the parking lot of Walmart. That’s where I slept and I would eat from the dumpster at AM/PM because they throw their food out at 11 PM. I would take sponge baths at the 76 station bathroom and I would hustle all day for my drugs. I was okay with that lifestyle. I did that for about two years when my car broke down, the life that I knew ended and I didn’t know what else to do. That’s when I took 2 bottles of over the counter sleeping pills and I shot a rig of heroine, I was trying to take myself out. I thought I was doing it the easy way when the police kicked in the motel room I was staying in because they had a warrant check. I think that was a life saver for me because I asked for help and I got it by the police kicking in the door and sending me to prison. I got the help that I needed and wanted.

Life today is a big change from where I came from. I have been sober for 13 years. My advice for anyone struggling with addiction, substance abuse, or any mental health issues is to communicate and find someone to talk to. Talk about what is going on with you and identify what is wrong so that you can face your fears. All of this is done through honesty, communication, and giving back what was given to you.”

-Johnnie (Irvine, CA)