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I've Saved at Least 52 Others from Overdoses


Hi, I’m Paul. The Mission community holds me accountable. Like any good program, there’s enough slack to test my progress and enough tools to get my my life straightened out.

My childhood was kind of chaotic. I had alcoholic parents who fought a lot. I did well in school until my last summer, when I experimented with drugs and alcohol. I blew a wrestling scholarship and ended up dropping out. Right away I worked in plastering, made good money, and partied a lot. For 13 years I had fun racing dirt bikes until I broke my leg and lost some confidence. Back then I got oxycodone the wonder drug for about 6 months. After the doctor cut me off, I tried a bag of heroin. That led to a long addiction. I maintained a business with a few other guys for many years until finally I got sick from dope. When that happened, everything came to an end—my marriage, car, job, apartment, the relationship with my daughter—and I ended up on the street.

For 7 years I lived a miserable life in the woods of Lowell. I saved 52 other people from dying of overdoses, and was saved 3 times myself. I went from the American dream to living in a tent.

One morning I woke up and said “I’ve had enough”. I went to detox, to the next step, and the next step after that. When I turned 50 I thought “this is my life, and I deserve better”. I really wanted a better life. I found in the Boston Rescue Mission a community that holds me accountable. For awhile, I thought that people here might be out to get me. I mentioned that to a staff member, who said “Look, if that were the case, you wouldn’t be here.” To a couple of staff members I will be forever grateful for all of their help. Now I feel I can be reliable, keep my word, feel good about myself, and restore a healthy relationship with my daughter.

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