I was homeless and a business owner

Work. Get high. Shoplift. Always on the run. Eventually everything crumbled.

I was alone with my two dogs, Alpha and Omega, in the dark of my car detailing shop. We were homeless. And I was a business owner. I had set up a room in the shop because I couldn't both afford a place to live and run a business while keeping up my vicious drug habit. 

I worked during the day and as soon as I finished detailing a car I would go out for drugs or drink.

This had gone on for months. It became harder and harder to cope. Finally there I was sitting in the shop in the dark with the dogs. Neither of us had eaten in days. It was cold. I’m sorry to say that I abandoned them, left the shop and went off in a customer’s car headed to do what I did. 

What I did was to rob, steal and speed down a never-ending hole of darkness in an attempt to stay high and escape reality. 

My first stop was a food store where I began my shoplifting spree. I stole beer and meat because everyone buys beer and meat. From the little old man in the ‘hood to the many business owners looking for discounted products, I knew I could always barter beer and meat for cash or drugs. 

The customer’s car had become both my house on wheels and my getaway.  

This went on for days. Steal all day. Drink and get high between thefts. 

When night comes and I can no longer shoplift, I park somewhere and I try to sleep so I can start over again the next day. I have to park and drive and park in spurts because a person asleep in a vehicle is suspicious. 

I don't get much rest. Morning comes fast. This is when a lot of the food stores begin to open and my day begins. I hit the first store and the chase to get high and escape reality begins all over again. 

I’m only thinking about the next fix.

Days become weeks and I finally have to ditch the car I had lifted from the shop and steal a different one to continue on my quest. I'm homeless now for real and there is no hope in sight. 

Finally I can't go any further. I’m paranoid constantly. I feel trapped. It always seems like I’m being followed. 

I drive and drive until I run out of gas. The car is empty. I see that I am right around the corner from the detox center. I know what needs to happen. I contact my family and let them know where the customer can find their car and that I’m going to check myself into detox. 

The customer whose car I took does not file charges. 

I start detox for the 100th time. From there I go to VA's treatment facility. I complete their program and they assign me to the HUD-VASH program and I'm put in an apartment. 

The apartment is right smack in the neighborhood where I used to get high. It lasts for about a month and I relapse. I relapse hard and I get up with a neighbor and we begin shoplifting and getting high constantly. 

We get caught. 

My neighbor bonds out but I'm stuck because I'm facing the Habitual Felon charge in another county. I'm sentenced to 67-93 months in prison. 

Then I go to prison.

In prison I start to work. I work on my mind. I work on my body. I work on my spirit. I put away all the foolishness and I make a total commitment to God and myself. I don’t want my past to become my future.

Sixty months pass by and because of my hard work, prayers and COVID-19, I am released early from prison and assigned to a transition home for men on pandemic release.

In this home now I’m able to work and save money. I’m saving for a place to live and transportation. I am focused on staying clean and sober while working on my life and facing my issues. I have reconnected back with the VA and the mental health team there. 

I am applying all the tools that I've obtained over the many years in and out of jails, various institutions, and living homeless on the streets.

It’s my 50th chance from God. I’m grateful.

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