Rights for All:  Reshaping the Voice of Homelessness

About Me:  The Story

I am a traumatically brain-injured, formerly homeless man with right side paralysis and speech aphaysia.  I am a recovering addict.  I am also a friend and advocate for anyone trying to get out of homelessness, live a full life with disabilities, and explore the wonderful potential of living in recovery, one day at a time.  I am a friend to all volunteers trying to make this world a little better.  Join me, as I strive to do all of these things myself.  

 Savannah has been my home most of my life.  Growing up many of my best memories are about my grandmother.  She tried to bring me up with good values, and made sure we went to church at Thankful Baptist.  In school and around the neighborhood I was always a clown and kidded around a lot.  Being popular was a lot of fun for me.  I used to dress in the most fly clothes I could find and people would get a big kick out of my outfits.  Back in my day roller skating was a big deal  and I was one of the best skaters in town.  I could go backwards, forwards, sideways, upside down seriously.   Let's just say I liked to impress people and look good.  

In my neighborhood another way to impress people was getting bigger and bigger.  That was with the drug scene.  Kids like me could make money selling drugs to buy things that we could not afford otherwise.  I started dealing drugs as a young man and used drugs too.  At the time I didn't have any idea of these drugs power or the harm they were doing.  It was just a means of fast cash and everyone was trying it.  I even got arrested for dealing and went to jail for four years only to return to the business. In the meantime I did construction work, was a car sales man, and  was even a DJ.  I was thinking of going to college.  I was engaged to be married.  Many people who cared about me were trying to get me out of this lifestyle.  

Then about fifteen years ago my brother and I were stopped short.  I was in an alley for a drug deal.  I had a lot of money with me.  Some guys jumped me, robbed me, and beat me over the head with baseball bats.  They left me there for dead.  This was partly about drugs and a feud between dealers.  My brother found me and I was taken to the hospital.  I had a couple of strokes and was in a coma for over a year.  In that time most people thought I would never wake up.  I remember some things from that time like seeing lights and hearing voices that I can share later.  

Obviously I did wake up, but I woke up forever changed. The traumatic brain injury left me paralyzed on the right side and caused what is called aphaysia with my speech.  After a lot of therapy I relearned how to walk, eat, get dressed and all of those simple tasks we take for granted. This was while using only my left side.  I have not regained speech.  I can only make a few words come out.  These changes depressed me and alienated me from my family and friends.  This is especially true from all my friends from the drug scene.  To handle my depression I turned to drugs and alcohol and found myself caught in a spiral going nowhere but down.    Thanks to the support and friends I made at Union Mission I was able to regain control of my life.  I was able to get off the streets, enter recovery programs, and eventually gain my independence, finding a place to call home.  I still seek a little more independence, but mainly I seek to thank God for all that this life has taught, and to reach out and share the pain and struggles.  If one person can be saved from this lifestyle, then I feel like I'm giving back.