People who knew me before I got sober didn’t think I was going to last once I finally did. I can’t blame them
My past was so messed up. One of my darkest moments was when my grandson asked, “Pop Pop, when are we going to come over to your house?” I had to lie and tell him it wasn’t ready yet when in fact, I was homeless. This interaction stuck with me for a long time and I knew I had to get myself together.
I entered drug and alcohol treatment 15 years ago. CFUF came to the program recruiting people who wanted a chance to change their life. In 2006, I completed the STRIVE® program and CFUF helped me find employment upon graduating. After working for a pest control company for a few years, I decided to open up my own business. Miss Ariel gave me flashcards to study for the specialized licensing and certification exams. Around the Center, they would stop me in the hallway to quiz me to help prepare and get the nervousness out of me. I’ve now owned my own business for over five years covering about 25-30 homes/month all over Maryland including CFUF board members and staff. It’s amazing how many people are willing to help you once you’re willing to help yourself. Even recently CFUF gave me a desktop computer so all I had to buy was a printer. They are still helping me move forward. It’s like a family that doesn’t give up on you.
When I was in drug treatment they taught, “Change people, place, and things.” Once I started at CFUF I finally understood what it meant. If you change, other people will change. If you change what you’re doing in a place, it’s a different place. You’re supposed to earn things—you don’t keep fast money. CFUF makes you understand this. I visit the Center often and speak to motivate people to do life a better way. I use my story to inspire honest change.
Being a role model isn’t easy and life is still a struggle every day but now I’m not adding more complications to it. When I bought my house five years ago with the help of CFUF’s home buying assistance grant, the first thing my grandson did when he came over was run and jump on me. Jokingly, I asked him why he did that and he said, “I know you got me Pop Pop.” It was a serious special moment because I had a house and it was finally ready for him to come over. Kids remember when you says things and you’ve gotta keep your word.