• Ernest

    When Mom Died, My World Got Much Smaller

    Hi. I’m Ernest. Thank you for all that you do. I’m so grateful for the Mission making a difference in my life. A BIG difference.

    We lived in the projects when I was little. My dad had a lot of talents, and always came home dirty after plumbing, or building or fixing things. If I’d paid more attention, I might be a different kind of person now. When we moved, he started fixing up our new house, but I was too busy playing basketball, working, and drinking with friends. At 17, a friend convinced me to sell marijuana, and my dealing career began.

    Our family moved to another house in a neighborhood after high school. My friends and I sold bags of weed on our block. When crack cocaine came in like wildfire, we sold that too. Now I was making big money, but also picking up drug charges too. I went to prison for a year and that was a big eye-opener. But I got through it, and obviously didn’t think it was a big deal, based on what happened next.

    I really was trying to get on the right track. I kept up with child support and worked steadily, but couldn’t keep a healthy relationship going. After a breakup, I took it hard. Bad feelings caused more drug use--it was all about the feelings. Every day for a year I smoked crack. My sister tried to get me clean once. She said “Take the cotton out of your ears, put it in your mouth and shut up, ‘cause you know nothing about being clean”.

    She was right. I tried, but before long I was using drugs, and selling crack cocaine. I became the big man on the street, so I was the one they wanted to lock up. After six years in prison, back onto the streets I went, and picked up a heroin habit. Then my kids’ mother had open heart surgery. She made me promise to be there for my kids. When she died, my world got much smaller.

    I found my way to detox and the Boston Rescue Mission. Those first thirty days were such an important time. I had a very rough two weeks still in withdrawal, but it was great to be here and not have to think about a safe bed to sleep. The Mission staff helped--they really had an understanding of my situation. My sponsor is a wonderful person who prays with me and prays for me. My aunt encourages me to go back to school and carry the message to those who need it.

    And a difference in my life means a difference in my kids’ life. I can see it in their eyes, and hear it in their voice. Instead of calling me Ernest, they call me father. When I hear that, it gives me strength to weather the storms that come through, and reach the other side with confidence.

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