“I want to help others get back in the saddle again”

"Bicycles have been a part of my entire life – riding, building, everything. My parents helped run a small track in Virginia, and we all raced except for my mom. But in my mid-teens I discovered the temporary bliss of drugs and alcohol. In the early days, the party was glorious. Little did I know what was in store for me… I attempted many times to control or maintain, to no avail. Before long, the hideous four horsemen had descended upon me and I had become someone I didn’t even know. I had become a hopeless, homeless, transient drunk and dope fiend. At times I would land a job in a bike shop, wrenching in whatever city or town I had wandered into, only to be released from that job as a direct result of my alcoholism and drug addiction. In August 2015, I found myself in Baltimore, needing help on many levels. I was homeless, living only to get one more drink. I was completely broken, mentally, spiritually, and physically. I found the Helping Up Mission and began my journey of recovery. It’s been a long road, cleaning up the wreckage of my past. I’m not where I wish to be in life, but I’m certainly not where I was. I’ve become reasonably happy and full of hope in my perfectly imperfect little world. A big part of my recovery is provided by the invention called the bicycle. I was given an old 70’s Shogun road bike. I stripped it down, painted it, and built it into a track bike that I love. And I want to help others get “back in the saddle again,” helping men who are also rebuilding their lives to put together bikes for themselves that can get them to school or jobs." —– Graham, 7 months clean and sober, is fixing up donated bikes and teaching other men how to repair and maintain their own bikes

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