Thomas' Bridging the Gap Success Story
Read Thomas’ story in his own words:
I’ve heard that your past makes who you are and where you’re at is who you are going to be. The problem with that is it sounds as if we don’t get the opportunity to change. Life is never easy. When we are down it’s hard to get back up and we don’t always have the support we need. At the same time it’s all about the choices we make as individuals.
Growing up I never followed the right crowd. I always wanted to fit in just like any other kid. My mother was a teen mom, she had had me at the age of 16. Just a baby raising a baby. I would think I am a crack baby but my mom would beg to differ. I started using marijuana for the first time around the age of 8 and regularly at the age of 12. That’s when my disease of addiction began. By the age of 15, I worked my way into harder drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamines. I was involved in a gang, graffiti, and was sexually active.
Around that time, my mother gave birth to a child who was exposed to drugs in-utero. This brought attention to my family by Department of Human Services (DHS). I did not expect the issues I would experience during the time of DHS involvement; little did I know it was for my best.
The process of changing my behaviors required work, and I was pretty resistant. I was getting in trouble for petty theft and for marijuana use. I was placed in custody of my grandparents, tried living at home with my parents, and was eventually placed at a crisis center for a few weeks. Because of the marijuana use, I was sent to an intensive inpatient rehabilitation center. I started to see my addiction put me in the wrong groups and took me down the wrong path. Addiction ruined my credit, and I built up quite the criminal record. I continued down the path of addiction all the way up to the point of homelessness and despair. I was completely broke down with no support. I had burnt all the bridges and wanted to give up. It comes to a point of life where being the same hurts so bad that all you have to do is change.
Where I’m at now isn’t where I should be, but it is a point of happiness and positive direction. I began this new path with my introduction to the Bridging the Gap program. Though I am blessed for the opportunity, it’s also my job to stay involved with the program and participate in their social and learning events. I am currently attending school and working towards running my own business and becoming an architectural engineer. I am beginning to organize my assets by saving money in my IDA savings account while also earning incentive cash for my participation in the Bridging the Gap program. I am beginning to understand what it takes to support yourself and the positivity that is provided by being a functional member of society.
Though I was at a point of despair, I have come very far. No matter how far down you are, if you seek what you see as positive change, whether it be financial, spiritual, health, etc…. it can be done as long as you have faith in yourself and remember support is the foundation of life.