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Coming KLEAN: Stories of Overcoming Addiction

Pam's Story of Addiction: Homelessness and Recovery.

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[Music]

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my real dad was a heroin addict and my

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grandpa was an alcoholic for about 30

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years

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[Music]

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I’m from a story across the river I grew

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up over there and there was nothing to

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do around there after you know 8 o’clock

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9 o’clock at night so I mean you could

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either use or you know do homework and

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well everybody was partying

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[Music]

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my dad was in and out of prison I didn’t

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know him though

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he was out of my life at 3 I mean I

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definitely was numbing myself from you

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know how I felt about myself and how I

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thought others felt about me I never was

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really close with you know my mom she

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worked all the time and you know I had a

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stepdad but I didn’t know my real dad

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and for a long time I wondered you know

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like why I wasn’t good enough for him to

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quit using for I knew about it and I

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knew better than to do it which is why

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it was crazy that I was the one that

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became the addict

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[Music]

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I didn’t try to slow it or ask for help

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I thought I was fine and I was managing

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[Music]

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[Applause]

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[Music]

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I got in a car accident when I was 17

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and was prescribed percocet and it

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wasn’t really a big deal I thought you

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know I got it from the doctor it was

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fine I started buying it on the street

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which I knew wasn’t okay but it was

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still from a doctor so I thought you

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know it was better than heroin or meth

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or anything like that and so I started

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using and before I even knew what

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withdrawals were I already had them and

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it was too late a boyfriend I had you

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know he would only come around when I

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had drugs so I kept buying them to keep

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him there and very low self-esteem and

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found my worth in him

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I thought it was okay but once I started

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relying on it and I was sick when I

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didn’t have it I knew I had a problem

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[Applause]

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you

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[Music]

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I was living on the street I was

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sleeping on the sidewalks I just thought

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it was really cool I didn’t have to pay

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rent and I would have more money for

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drugs

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I was living up in Washington and I they

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stopped making prescription pills the

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way that everyone wanted them tea made

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it so we switched over to heroin it was

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a really hard like transition for me

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because all of a sudden I was like

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stepping into like the bad drugs

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and then like I knew I had a problem at

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that point and it made me feel dirty

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because I was using drugs and needles

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and didn’t care anymore I didn’t really

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start feeling like really bad about

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myself until like I became homeless I

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was on my way up to Portland to get pick

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up heroin and I got robbed at gunpoint

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in Portland after my car broke down and

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stranded up there and that is where I

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started to be homeless for the next

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three years

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it was the summer when I like became

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homeless it was July so it was hot it

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wasn’t a big deal it was like camping

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everyday it was fun then when winter

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came obviously that was a little worse

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like there was snow there was rain all

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the time I lived in a homeless camp for

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off and on for about two years until I

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started dating a dealer and it wasn’t

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really long after that I was hanging out

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with somebody else who gave me a free

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hotel to sleep in and he brought his

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friend over one day and he left he went

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to the store and his friend raped me

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and when he got back I told him you know

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he act surprised like he didn’t know and

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then it happened again the next day and

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the next day

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he was selling me for money so that he

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could get more drugs for himself I mean

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he was on meth so you know he would stay

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up for days weeks at a time and when he

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finally came down and went to sleep I

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left

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I feel like that’s really when I

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switched from being so innocent and

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naive to having to act strong even

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though I didn’t feel it but I knew I

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couldn’t keep letting this happened to

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myself

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[Music]

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I could give up the heroin in the meth

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like that’s fine because obviously those

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you know weren’t okay but in my head I

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couldn’t rap like around the fact that

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alcohol was a drug too well my grandma

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died and my parents wouldn’t let me come

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see her before she died or at her

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funeral because I was using and like

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even if I wanted to get clean at that

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time I was just so hurt that I couldn’t

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I kept using for another probably ten

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months and even harder I you know I

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started using over an ounce of heroin a

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day and I just I really didn’t care

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anymore

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and then when my grandpa got sick about

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ten months later they just I couldn’t

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miss out on his life too so I checked in

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to clean and I mean I’m not gonna say it

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wasn’t hard but this time like I had a

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reason and you know I got I got to be

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with him in his last few months

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I don’t remember a whole lot of the last

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24 hours I I just remember packing for

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about six hours making the driver wait

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I got in the van and then I was here

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the first month I was here I was I was

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pretty mean to everybody I didn’t

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realize it but I was and it was pointed

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out to me I started helping out other

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girls and I started you know being the

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role model that I hadn’t been in so many

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years and it just made me feel so much

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better about myself and I couldn’t give

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up at that point I felt like I had to be

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a role model and I had to do it so that

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others could see it could be done I mean

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I hadn’t wear makeup in three or four

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years I didn’t straighten my hair or

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anything my hair was just knots all over

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when I was homeless and I remember

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cutting it all out and still having way

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too much hair still but you know like

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being able to like feel pretty again and

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feel worth something more than my body

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was amazing and you know like just being

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able to get up and get dressed and feel

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better about yourself every day it’s

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like I don’t know like I don’t even know

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how to answer that

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after 83 days an inpatient I transferred

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over to the IOP and I knew I had to have

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structure so I moved into sober living

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and I stayed there for about three

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months

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I know everyone says wherever they went

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to treatment is what saved him but I

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believed and cleaned so much because it

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did save me the people that worked here

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were so like loving and compassionate

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and they just cared about how I you know

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was doing and I couldn’t wait to get up

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in the morning to see him again you know

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like they became family and the girls I

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was here with became family

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I don’t really like the rain I was

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homeless and living in it sleeping in it

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you know for about three years and so I

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mean anything I can do to stay out of

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terrain

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[Music]

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when I got out of treatment I started

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working at Subway and then I moved up to

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a pizza parlor and then I went to being

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a waitress I was providing for myself

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for the first time ever at 27 years old

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I had never been on my own never had my

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own place it was really easy for me to I

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think be humble about those things

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because I lived on the sidewalk

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so I’m Hina if I could live on a

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sidewalk I could live anywhere

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everything started to fall into place at

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that point you know I had a job I had an

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apartment I had a car and then clean

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called me and offered for me to come in

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and have an interview and I just like I

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had to take it

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I was actually contemplating moving away

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at that point but like this was my dream

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and I couldn’t not come in for it so I

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came in for the interview and I started

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working here

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I go around to the high schools in our

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area and I tell them my story and I tell

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them everything because I think they

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need to hear it you know like I know

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there’s parts of it that some parents

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don’t really agree with me saying you

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could be homeless you could be raped you

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could be kidnapped

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you know you could die and they don’t

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realize that

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[Music]

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my parents wanted nothing to do with me

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when I was using which I understand now

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once I got sober you know for the first

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probably a year they were so scared that

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I was gonna relapse and I was gonna

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leave again and so they kept themselves

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not at a distance but I think

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emotionally at a distance and now you

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know I have almost four years clean and

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I don’t need their help as much

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necessarily but if there is a time I do

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and I ask them for money or something

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they hand it to me without hesitation

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like they trust me again and that’s an

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incredible feeling

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and this is my house I never thought I

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would live in a place like this like I

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mean I’ve almost five bedrooms and 22

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acres a barking dog two cats huh I I

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definitely feel like I’ve made it in

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life like I it’s really hard for me to

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remember the person I used to be and

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when other people you know they don’t

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believe me because they see my life now

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I’ve never had my own place before so to

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have someone trust me with their house

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like this is amazing

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[Music]

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[Music]

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[Music]

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[Music]

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[Music]

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[Music]

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[Music]

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