“I’ve had other jobs in my life. I learned how to weld and worked my way up to journeyman welder-fitter. Worked in grocery stores a couple of different times. Went back to Mississippi and helped my great-uncle on the farm after my great-aunt died. But then some things happened, and I eventually ended up on the street with nowhere to go.
"I’m in stable housing now, but I remember my first night in an emergency shelter. It was rough. I’d never been anywhere like it. They provided showers and offered me clean clothes, but people were sleeping all over the place, on the floor and everywhere. It wasn't violent, but it was chaotic. You couldn’t lay anything down or somebody would take it. I got to move to a dormitory situation before too long because I was recovering from hip surgery and in chronic pain. That's where I am now. It's a nice place; it's good.
"I go to recovery meetings, and I haven’t had a drink since August. Not GONNA have a drink. If I had my life to do all over, I never would have picked up the bottle in the first place. I wish I could tell young people just starting out: Stay focused. Don’t fool with drugs. And listen. Listen. You don’t know everything.”