My story is like so many others I know in my hometown and surrounding area. My name is Francis and I grew up in Lee, MA in Berkshire County. I’m currently 29 years old, male, and I’m a drug addict. My drug of choice was Percocet 30 mgs that I would snort lines of. Growing up in a small town like Lee, there isn’t much to do besides play sports and hang out with friends. It was a great place to grow up, but like most towns when I got to high school it was drinking/partying on the weekends and after games. I graduated and moved on to college where I played Division III baseball. I never did more than just smoke pot and drink. After graduating school in 2009 I got a job in NH and moved out of my parents house. I thought I had a pretty good life.

Unfortunately in 2012, my niece was born with a terminal illness called Spinal Muscular Atrophy and was given no more than a year to live. She died when she was 6 months old and it devastated me and my close family. I felt an extreme guilt for not being around for her life, so I decided to move home to Lee to be closer to family. That’s where my nightmare started. A friend offered me a line of percocet one night, and from then on I knew I was hooked. It allowed me to numb the sadness, the guilt, and also the fact that I am gay, something I never told anyone due to playing sports and coming from a small town. So over the next 5 years I proceed to lose 4 jobs, get my car repossessed, lose my apartment, default on student loans, rack up credit card debt and basically spend every last dime I had, or what my family could give me, on a pill. It completely ruined my life and it showed. I was deathly skinny, sunken face, etc. But on April 3rd, 2017 I got fired my job. When I got home I finally decided that I was sick of living a life of only thinking about getting one thing. This pill controlled my thoughts, my actions, everything. I told my family and with their outstanding support, found the Bridge Clinic at MGH in Boston. MGH saved my life, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go there. I wish every addict had a place like that. I moved out of Lee and now live in Cranston, RI with my sister and her family. I am so proud to say that I just passed 90 days clean this past Sunday! I also came out to my family in May, which lifted this huge weight off my shoulders. It’s nice to not only think clear again, but to also finally feel like I am ok with who I am. I proud to have this unique story of sobriety and coming out all around the same time. I’m finally now looking for jobs again, and instead of going back into business I think I want to become part of the solution to fighting the disease of addiction. If my story can help just one person, then it was worth me telling it. I have started playing baseball again and exercise daily. It’s become my new addiction!

I know I have a life long battle ahead of me, but staying true to myself will be the key to staying clean forever. I want to thank Chris Herren. I watched his documentary countless times as an addict and it killed me watching every time. I wanted to become clean like him but never thought I could do it. Well now that I know how I feel after 90+ days, I know I can do this for 90+years! You’re an inspiration to so many Chris!