I never thought I could be normal.
Hi, I’m Gary. At the Mission, I never thought I would feel this comfortable. My life is coming back together in small pieces, and I’m making better decisions now. But I didn’t believe I could live without drugs and self-medicating.
I grew up in an orphanage before going to a foster home in my teens. After a lot of abuse, I ran away and found a benefactor. He helped me through high school until…11 days before graduation, 3 of us were caught with marijuana in the dorms and expelled. It was my first major bad decision.
For another 20 years, I worked in auto body shops through a relationship and a baby. When I was 38, I got into a terrible motorcycle accident. Several weeks in the hospital, and I became addicted to prescription drugs. Eight months later, the doctor stopped the prescriptions and I turned to heroin. For 20 years, I lived like a drug addict: losing jobs, picking up criminal charges—many times out of neglect—and using drugs to start and finish the day. After a substantial charge sent me to prison, I realized it was no longer me running the show. The gorilla on my back had taken over my life.
In prison, the problems continued. There was a pill for everything, and I got them easily. After parole, my social worker helped me to find the Boston Rescue Mission. The first month was a real struggle—my doctor said I was over-medicated, and admitting that was really scary for me. The case managers showed great patience with me, as I did with myself. I wondered how I could function without drugs?
But it’s been worth it. None of my drug days have been as good as being clean and sober. Now I feel real enthusiasm toward the recovery program. I’m looked after and getting the resources I need. I’m much more grateful to the Mission and its supporters today.