It was the loneliness of the streets that spurred Chris to seek treatment for his addiction and escape homelessness.
He returned to Rosa’s to share his story about how he benefitted from the kindness of Rosa’s visitors to improve his life, conquer addiction and find employment.
Chris was first introduced to heroin by a girl he knew when he was 17. He wasn’t keen on it, but “I’m an addict; I’ll try anything,” he says.
“I tried it, and it was horrible. I threw up, I felt sick; but the thought in my head was just ‘it was too strong,’ not ‘I’m never going to do that again.’ So, a few years later, I tried it again.”
By the time he was 25, he was addicted.
Chris circulated among the streets, jail, and various shelters until June 2015.
“It was horrible…I went to Camden and just never came back because that’s where the drugs were. And I just stayed there. It got really bad.”
“When I first got there,” says Chris, “I had all these ideas. I caught on to where free food was, and free clothes were…but then it just got out of control.”
Chris always intended to get off dope, get food stamps, get welfare, get access to a government housing program, but he says, “As soon as I had all those things I just threw it all away.” He kept falling into the trap of addiction.
He had no support on the streets. “You have people that you run with because they need something from you and you need something from them, but really you’re alone. You have nobody at all.”
Fortunately, his family never gave up on him and always supported his recovery. Chris is grateful for that.
He has since learned that “it can make a difference. Things could have been totally different if they weren’t there.”
He realizes he’s no longer alone, and he uses the kindness from his family as inspiration for how he now lives his life.
“All I do is go to work and when I come home, I help other addicts and alcoholics. If I’m out to dinner somewhere, everyone who’s with me is probably one of us.”
He also has a message for Rosa’s supporters: “Don’t ever think that it doesn’t make a difference.”
“Just to experience that kindness – that might have made the difference.”