It is a New Year for Brian

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Brian, age 43, was born in Saint Petersburg,
Florida, and raised on Anna Maria Island, Fl.
“Growing up, I had a great family life with
loving and supportive parents,” recalls Brian. “I
was the youngest of four children – the baby of
the family. I was raised in a Catholic family and
developed a close relationship with God. From
kindergarten through twelfth grade, I attended
Catholic schools. I did not fit in with the
normal kids, so I spent time together with the
“loser” crowd. We were an antisocial bunch. At
age 16, I started smoking marijuana, tripping
on acid, and experimenting with other drugs.
At the time I was being bullied a lot and I did
drugs to escape reality. Drugs made me feel
good and fit in.”
“I graduated from high school and moved
to Orlando to attend Valencia Community
College. I met new friends and started
clubbing and experimenting with psychedelic
drugs. At the time, I thought that I was just
a normal kid. I got caught stealing from the
hotel I was managing, and my dad said,” Brian
you need to leave Orlando and move to my
work apartment in Georgia.” I met someone
and we moved back to Florida and got heavy
into drugs. My drinking got out of hand, and I
still did not know that I had a problem. When
the relationship turned sour, I moved away
to Colorado. There is where I was introduced
to black tar heroin and oxycontin. I started
noticing withdrawal pains and that is when I
finally realized that I had a problem!”
“I moved again! This time back to Georgia
to live with my sister. I quit heroin “cold
turkey” but started drinking heavily again. I
was introduced to methamphetamines and
injected daily. I soon lost everything, could not
pay my rent, and moved into a hotel. I was in
a horrible relationship of physical and mental
abuse. My cousin secretly got me, and I moved
back to Florida!”
“After a year in Florida, I got hooked on
opiates again and started “shooting up,” all
day and every day. My addiction went from
zero to a million. I spent the next four years
hiding my addiction from my family while
“shooting up” not to be “dope-sick.” I finally
came clean and asked my family for help. At
age 38, I had finally given up. I attended my
first 30-day program while on suboxone and
I became addicted to the medication. When
I started to experience withdrawal pains, I
immediately sought to relieve them through
heroin – the drug that they were supposed to

ease me from. I would spend another two
years addicted to heroin while going in
and out of 30-day programs.”
“At the age of 42, I went back to the
30-day rehab again. This time, I found
myself in legal trouble and knew that I
had to do something different. With the
help of the rehab and my parents, we
searched for a more permanent solution
and found the Helping Up Mission (HUM),
online. I saw what they had to offer, and
I knew that making such a commitment
was something I had never done before.
I needed to address my mental, spiritual,
and physical health issues. I purchased a
one-way ticket to Baltimore, left my dog,
and sought help!”
“My previous program was small, and at
first, being one of the 500 people that
HUM served was overwhelming. One day,
I was sitting alone while feeling depressed
because I did not know anybody. Another
client asked me to join the HUM Choir and
I nervously agreed. Before I knew it, I was
coming out of my shell! Through HUM’s
resources, I went hiking, on retreats to
Camp Wabanna, attended outside recovery
meetings, and enjoyed therapeutic art.”
“I spent the first two months of the
Spiritual Recovery Program assisting
in housekeeping as my work therapy
assignment. One day while signing thank
you notes in the Philanthropy department,
I asked Philanthropy Specialist Mike
Cannon if there were any opportunities
to help. The atmosphere was relaxed,
and I was brought over to be an
associate, answering calls, giving tours,
and cataloging gift-in-kind donations.
Thanks to my hard work, I soon became
the Philanthropy Intern. With increased
responsibility, I continued to attend my
wellness appointments, but I wanted
something more. I enrolled in online
classes at Southern New Hampshire
University to pursue my degree in
psychology with a minor in addiction
counseling. Even though I have graduated
from the program, I have decided to
stay at HUM for a couple of years while
finishing school and finding work.”
“It is a new year and I have been able to
reinvent myself! Thanks to you I have been
able to address mental health, obtain my
driver’s license, and get my teeth fixed in
the Dental Program. HUM has completely
changed my life by offering me much
needed help with compassion. After all
the times I spent in and out of 30-day
programs, I wish I had found this place
earlier! Because of you and HUM, I have
become a stronger person who can help
other people!”