Last week, we celebrated the volunteers who applied some coats of fresh paint to spruce up our SABER transitional housing. One of the residents who’ll get to enjoy that work is Scott.
As a teenager, Scott dreamed of becoming a professional basketball player. Standing six feet, nine inches tall, his height and talent helped him earn a full scholarship to the University of South Carolina at Spartanburg. But two injuries during his final years of college eligibility ended his hopes for a professional career.
He moved in with his mother and worked to help her pay the bills. For four years, things went well, until his father passed away. He didn’t expect it to impact him; they had met each other only twice. But the cumulative pain of that loss hurt Scott more than he could have anticipated.
He started hanging out with the wrong crowd, people who were messing with both crack and powder cocaine. Eventually, he tried crack. “I knew nothing about it,” he says. “After that experience, I was off and running.” For about 10 years, he was able to hide his drug use from his mother. “I started not showing up for work and sleeping late. I was hanging out all night. I was lying to my mother while I was using drugs. My mother and brother confronted me about my using and I promised to get some help, but I never did. I continued to use.”
Many years went by, and his mother became sick with cancer. Her death in 2010 was hard, and Scott made a promise to get help. He did, and he stayed sober for about two years. But then something that should have been a blessing ended up being more of a curse: he inherited $10,000 from the sale of his mother’s house. He relapsed, blowing the entire inheritance in six months, and losing his sobriety-based housing.
Scott passed the next few years hopping from one motel to another. For years he worked for a moving company, but he eventually lost that job and relied on a friend for help. Finally, he had what he calls a “spiritual awakening.” Staying at Roof Above’s men’s shelter, he completed a 12-week substance use program. “I stayed clean even though people around me were using drugs,” he says.
He was subsequently accepted into Roof Above’s SABER residential treatment program for substance use. He’s now been sober and drug-free for seven months.
“I’m proud of myself,” he says. “I have found a program that works for me. The reason I’m trying this time is that I don’t want to die.”