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A Child of Addiction


Take a walk with me. Look through my eyes. See what I see. Feel my reality. I was born in Fontana, raised between there and the East Side streets of Los Angeles. I am the epitome of a product of a broken home and a child who was born with a heart of gold that the world turned cold.

I lost my mother a total of four times. Once from the ages 2-5, then ages 5-8 and from age 8 til about two months after my eleventh birthday. All three times my mother served three year bids in one of California’s vicious prison tombs. The fourth and final time that I lost my mother she didn’t have any get bacc. I lost her to the AIDS virus a few days before my thirteenth birthday. My already very small family then lost me to the land of broken dreams- the streets and a very wicked judicial system.

I’m currently incarcerated at a United States Penitentiary and have been for over three years on a ten year sentence. Despite my current residence and my state of physical detention, here in prison I have enabled my mind to jaunt down an unfamiliar path of higher learning and self knowledge. By doing so, I have allowed myself to experience peace, serenity and solace like I never have before in my life.

For the majority of my childhood years, my mother was incarcerated, but for the few months my mother was out of prison she would run the streets of LA practicing petty theft, perfecting prostitution and surrendering her freedom to what truly held her captive– her addiction to heroin and trying to drown her sorrows that stemmed from her inadequacies as a person and as a parent. At the bottom of several beer cans and forty ounce bottles of Old English my mother must have known that she was losing her battle with AIDS and that her demise was near because when she was released from prison in January of ’92, for her last and final time, it was like I was in boot camp from the month of January to the latter part of June. She was teaching me all of the survival tactics that she should have been teaching me throughout my life and trying to do it in six months time.

While my mother was away serving time, I was forced into my father’s custody and care. It wasn’t any better. Aslında, it was worse. While living with my father, our residence was literally in the back of his shoe repair business. There was no shower, no way to prepare meals other than a microwave, and my father and I shared a twin-size fold up roll-away cot. I kept what lil clothes I did have in a cardboard box under his workbench. We would go months without washing our clothes and weeks without properly bathing. I was forced to go to school without brushing my teeth, washing my face, combing my hair, and wearing the same garments for weeks at a time, if I even went to school. It was while I lived with my father that I became familiar with this type of neglect and his physically abusive side and forced to adapt. My father was so caught up in his speed addiction and so high that he could not offer any type of parental guidance. For ten years I watched my father inhale his life up his nostrils and spiral downward out of control.

Because of the type of lifestyles that both of my parents lived, I became more familiar than your average adult with possessing, processing, packaging, transporting, and selling of drugs, and the actual characteristics of drug addicts. At the age of twelve years old I could look at a person and not only tell that they were drug addicts but I was also able to tell what their drug of choice was. By the age of twelve I had witnessed this type of negative lifestyle and behavior so chronically that I believed it to be normal and that behavior was socially acceptable.

Ancak, while I was living with my mother for the last few months of her life, after she was finished putting me through boot camp and teaching me how to keep my hygiene properly in check, how to cook, clean, wash clothes, pick up after myself, how to pay bills, and how to be responsible; she saw that I caught on to what she was teaching me. I remember her calling me to the kitchen table one night and she said:

Oğul, I taught you all of those different things so that you will never have to depend on a woman to do it for you. Şimdi, what I’m getting ready to teach you is for emergency purposes only; just in case life doesn’t go the way you plan. You’ll be able to get ya life bacc on tracc, keep ya head above water and feed yaself in the process. And if for some reason you never get to see what going to Harvard gets you, this will help you achieve your goals. This is not something that you have to live off of or get comfortable with. You get in, get what you need and get out, and never ever try it yaself.

Once I told her that I completely understood, she went into her room and then into our kitchen freezer and she laid on the kitchen table five different drugs that she said will always be hot commodities in any ghetto across America: weed, cocaine, sherm (PCP), speed, and heroin. My Drugs 101 crash course started instantly. My mother taught me firsthand the basics of how to hustle each one. She walked me through the process of how to package, store, price, stretch, twist, and whip each. She even taught me how to tell what people were on what drug, which was a curse sooner than it was a gift. Cuzz, within a few weeks after my mother’s untimely demise, I told my father what type of drug he was on and ended up getting slapped in the mouth.

After my mother’s death I was forced back into the custody of my father, but now the living conditions had changed for the worse. While I was living with my mother for the few months, my father lost his business and everything he had to a fire, so now he was living in and out of different motel rooms, dragging me behind.

By the age of 13 I could no longer take it anymore. I decided that the world owed me. If nothing else, the world owed me at least an equal opportunity and a normal life. So I took to the streets. I wasn’t blessed with a conventional family or living conditions, but I was for damn sure gonna find it or create it by any means necessary. So here I am in the land of broken dreams, 13 yıllık, mentally armed with the survival tactics that my mother taught me and waiting for time to tell. It didn’t dawn on me until I had gotten a lil older and had literally seen and done too much to turn bacc or turn right, that I had been in pursuit of a normal life but the manner in which I tried to seek it in was abnormal. And we all understand that we can’t get a positive from two negatives no more than you can get a negative from two positives. But by the time I realized this it was too late in the game. I dealt myself a dead man’s hand. Now it was time for me to take responsibility for my choices and play it out. Come what may. And of course the hellish conditions that I was raised in, the environment I was forced to adapt to and my harsh situation as a child had a major influence on the decisions I made. Ancak, at the end of the day there was a decision to be made. I made it and respect the consequences that trailed behind it.

To this very day, as I sit in my cell, I do not blame my mother or my father for the seeds of miseducation and contamination they planted in my young mind nor the dysfunctional environment that they both provided and allowed me to be exposed to, nor do I blame either one of them for where I’m sitting while writing this blog post in federal prison. They knew not what they did. They were miseducated, misguided and misinformed themselves, so they passed along what was passed down to them. They did the best they could with what they had to work with. May the Lord bless my mother’s soul and may the Lord’s blessing be upon my father.

I said all that and gave you a brief summary of my life story for the sole purpose of letting you know that whether your situation is equal to, more or less harsh than mine, I’m that somebody who can relate and identify with your pain.

My advice to you who reads this blog: never allow your situation or circumstance dictate the decisions that you make. Yerine, look past your situation for positive opportunities. The decisions that you make represent you and define your morals, principles and code of conduct as a man or woman. It’s up to you to decide whether the glass is half full, half empty or just filthy. More importantly, regardless of what state the glass is in, the decision is all yours. That glass is your life, very fragile and one bad decision can shatter it beyond repair.

A wise man once told me that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to what happens to us that will determine where we’ll be in the future.

Always remember, never be scared to fail because it is through failure that we learn how to win and that’s what makes failure only temporary. It’s giving up that’s permanent. You can achieve anything that your heart desires. The key is hard work, dedication, determination, and discipline. The sky is the limit.

May the Lord’s guidance be with you and his blessings be upon you. Bunu dedi, my closing remark: “The self is the friend of a man who masters himself through the self, but for a man without self-mastery, the self is like an enemy at war.”


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