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My Drug Problem Ruined Lots of Opportunities


Hi I’m Ezel. The Mission doesn’t just provide help, it motivates me. Feeding homeless people at night is an eye opener—I could be like the other folks on the other side.
Growing up, my mother worked two jobs and my older brother took care of me. He didn’t take no mess, so he protected me from any bullying or trouble. He became a best friend and a father figure, keeping us on the right track. I struggled in school—maybe ADD made it harder—but they passed me. Auto mechanics, bike repair, and motorcycles interested me more.

Marijuana went through the neighborhood, and I started smoking it at 13, then selling it the following year. That and school problems led to me dropping out in 9th grade. Then the neighborhood changed and crack became the new drug. I picked up some of those sales, then started using crack myself. My brother overdid it one weekend, got a heart attack, and died while I watched. It affected me a lot. I really lost a best friend close to me.

I’m not positive what led my sister to do a drug intervention at 17. Was my habit really that bad? Could she see the downward spiral that my brother’s death caused? Maybe she just wanted many more good years for me. Or she just didn’t want her kids around my drug use. I went to Pennsylvania to my dad’s and started over there. I was trying to clean up for a few years, but my drug problem ruined that. When I returned to Boston five years later, things started to get crazy. A destructive path landed me in jail, then more moving around, suicidal thoughts after my mother died, and finally a heart attack. By Thanksgiving, I was tired of running around with drugs, and checked into detox.

I made it to the Boston Rescue Mission, and I’ve been clean for 8 months! Living here has made my life so much easier. Feeding homeless people at night is an eye opener—I could be like the other folks on the other side. I’ve been going to church since I’ve been here, and doing work with the Salvation Army. The Mission has really helped me become a man after being spoiled by my mom for so many years. The community is teaching me how to deal with problems, and dealing with them sober. Now I’m getting my strength back. It’s motivating to see how people are willing to help addicts when they help themselves, including me.

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