My name is Larry. I grew up in Muskegon Michigan, I was lucky because both of my parents were in the home.
My father was a hardworking man and a good provider for his family. As a child my father taught me the value in being supportive of your family. As a young boy I wanted to be and act like my father. As a child me and my siblings didn’t want for anything, we were the ideal family.
But there’s more to my story.
My father, a casual drinker, started drinking more often than before. Because I watched everything my father did, I quickly noticed his drinking. I believe I was the first one to notice the change. My father quickly became an alcoholic and abusive to my mother. I can remember how frightened I would be when he would jump on my mother.
We were the kind of family that wouldn’t let outsiders know family business, no one knew what was happening behind closed doors. Back then domestic violence was not looked at the way it is today. At that time, a man didn’t go to jail for beating his wife and in most cases they didn’t ask him to leave. It was terrifying as a child, being woke up to loud bangs and hearing my mother screaming for her life.
“While in school my grades were poor, it was hard to concentrate in class after being up late trying to protect my mom from harm. I was nervous, my heart would race and I would freeze up when someone would raise their voice. It didn’t even have to be raised toward me and anxiety would set in. Growing up I never realized the impact this would have in my adult life.
School became frustrating to me. I was ashamed, I was a poor reader and I was behind in the other curriculum. I remember my parents coming to my 5th grade graduation and my teacher was giving awards to my classmates for reading, math, and spelling. She did not want to leave me out so she gave me an award for rhythm. My mother was so embarrassed and it showed on her face.
At the age of 15 I dropped out of school. I started to purchase my own beer and wine and smoking a lot of weed.
One day my cousin Charlie and I were in the car getting ready to go to work and he pulled out a white rock. I asked him what it was, he said it was cocaine. He crushed it put it in a cigarette lit it and passed it to me. When I smoked it I was instantly hooked. I loved the way it made me feel. As a child I always found dangerous things to try. I loved the adrenaline rush from the dangers. I found all that in that little white rock I just smoked. My life changed at that moment.
“I feel good about who I see in the mirror for the first time in a long time.”
I had not known that my life would never be the same. I would go to work, earn my paycheck just to find the dope man on payday. I wasn’t able to maintain this routine for long. Eventually I was fired from my job. Now broke and unable to support my habit, I began to steal from retailers.
I was now in full fledge addiction. I spent the next 27 years in and out of prison. Always getting out with good intentions, but never taking responsibility for my recovery. See, after spending a good length of time in prison not using crack I would get out thinking I was cured, not realizing that my disease had grown and became stronger than it was before going to prison.
My mother was heartbroken. I was so embarrassed. I didn’t want to face anyone. That was the first time I had thought about killing myself. See I thought I would rather die then to face the people who love me.
I always knew that I needed to give myself a chance to get out of Muskegon and try something new, but something always told me you’ve already tried everything else! A new voice, a louder voice, told me to try God! I got on my knee and prayed for God to help me.
Everybody told me that I couldn’t parole to a community outside the county where I caught my case, this is usually true, but I prayed on it and God answered. I put in a request to parole to Mel Trotter Ministries, not thinking it would be approved and 2 months passed and a guard slid my mail in my cell I opened the letter. God had answered my prayers. I had been approved to go to Mel Trotter Ministries. I thanked God because I knew he had something planned for me. I made a promise that I would do everything I can to stay clean. I’ve been clean ever since and for the first time I see hope and progress.
I arrived at Mel Trotter Ministries on May 23rd, 2018. I entered the Pre Program for Recovery, known as the Step Up Program. I am on track to successfully complete this Program on next week. To date, I have kept my promise to myself. I have remained clean and sober!!!
God has surrounded me with so many caring people it feels like angels. My advocates have helped guide me, they have walked along side me and they believe in me.
As of today I’ve enrolled into GRCC to complete an associate degree in culinary arts. My relationship with my family is gaining strength. My relationship with God is growing stronger every day. And I feel good about who I see in the mirror for the first time in a long time.
One of my favorite bible verses is 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, Will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from sin, then I will hear them from heaven, and forgive their sins and heal their lands.”
I had to humble myself, but I couldn’t do it on my own, I had to ask God, because I was hurting. God hears me from heaven because I do what he ask of me.
First God has shown me how to love people regardless of who they are or what they have done, and God has shown me by reminding me of the love he has given me and not only that he has put strangers in my life that has demonstrated so much love for me and for that I am forever Grateful!