Adrian’s Story…In Adrian’s Words:

I graduated from TROSA’s recovery program in February 2019. My little sister was in the audience at the ceremony, watching as I proudly accepted my graduation ring and diploma. The last time I had seen her was three years before—in a courtroom where she was granted a restraining order against me.

A lot can change in three years. I went from being in addiction for more than 20 years to being a positive role model in my community. I had a happy childhood. My life was church, school, and sports until my mother died when I was 14. Her death shattered me. Soon after my mom died, my older brother initiated me into a gang. I sold and used crack cocaine. I was in and out of prison a lot—I did 19 years total. I tried to change. I lived in a sober house briefly before I relapsed and got hooked on meth.

For six weeks, I lived under a bridge. My sister took me in and tried to help me, but one night I got drunk, kicked her out of her home, barricaded myself inside, and threatened the cops who arrived. A few days later, I was in a courtroom where she got the restraining order. My family told me not to contact them again unless I got help.

I’ve been through a lot. I lived through prison riots and gang fights. I watched my friends get shot in the streets. But nothing had ever hurt me like the loss of my family. I knew I had to do something to get my family back.

I was told about TROSA, a residential recovery program in Durham, NC. At TROSA, everything you need to rebuild your life—housing, clothing, meals, educational opportunities, counseling, life skills, health care—is provided completely free of charge. TROSA is long-term, which I needed after a 22-year drug addiction. I had tried shorter programs before, but TROSA is where I changed my life.

What I’m most proud of in my new life is being able to give back. I chose to stay on at TROSA as a “Staff-in-Training.” In 2020, I became a staff member at TROSA, and I work with men who are new in the program.

Helping others who are where I used to be keeps me focused on my goals and I will continue giving back.