1999 was the beginning of my journey into recovery was after many years of feeling sorry for myself, dealing with shame guilt, ego, and living with my addiction. I found myself falling in the same trap of trying to find a job, that would make me feel the way I felt when I played football, and every time I would fail, it sunk me deeper into my addiction. Through a golfing buddy I secured a job as a salesman for a metal roofing company, no more minimal wage for me I would have my own area from West Palm to Key West I was on my way or so I thought,
I never made it out of training. I had a corporate card and the permission to put dinner and a few drinks on the card, I was an accident waiting to happen. I was in my last week of training and in Tampa, Florida. The schedule was changed and I was told by my training manager that because I had picked up everything quickly that I could celebrate a night out on the town and meet them the next day in my Miami.
I never made it out of Tampa; here is where God stepped in. After a few days of partying with total strangers, my car was stolen and I had not been in contact with my job, I found myself at a crossroad.
I could swallow my pride and call my family to bail me out like I had always done or I could do something different. It was cold that night and all I had was the clothes on my back. I had no money and I slept that night under an overpass, it was my first experience of being homeless.
I woke up the next morning and walked about 15 miles to the police station, and when I arrived I walked up to the first person I saw and told him what happen to me and that I needed help. I told this detective who I was and he just happen to be a big sports fan and he knew who I was. He told me if I really wanted help that I would be in his office the next morning at nine o’clock.
He took me to a church where I was fed and I spent the night sleeping in the pew with a bunch of other homeless people. That night I met a young man serving food and he told me that he had gave his life to Christ. He once was a drug dealer and he wanted a change. He started volunteering at the church he attend, after he found out who I was he said something to me that I had heard from several people.
What he said was that I had to let go of the fact that I had threw away an NFL career because it was killing me. The next morning I was at that police station at 8:30 a.m. to make a long story short, I spent 3 days in a detox in Tampa and from there on a plane to Atlanta into 12 month rehab called Oak Hurst. Even though I had many more years of failures with staying sober, a lot of good things happen. However; probably the best thing that happen was finding North Atlanta Church of Christ and there out reach ministry. Many years later, I looked back on that traumatic time and realized that even before I started seeking God he had my hand leading me where I needed to go.
I made some great relationships with the people of North Atlanta, like the pastor of the church Don McLaughlin and his family, which I stay in contact with and visit every time I get a chance. I have had some great experiences that I will share at a later time.