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Personal Perspective

Street Work

Winter 2008/2009

Personal Perspective: Street WorkI grew up in Colorado. I was in a foster home at the age of 16 because my parents were getting a divorce and I was acting crazy -- so my father placed me in a psych hospital for three months. When I was released he told me I could not come back home because I was "uncontrollable." So I moved into a foster home with a really nice family. I spent a year there and then I got moved to another family. When I turned 18, my father said I could move back in but only if I got a job. I got a job at the airport, and then at Taco Bell.

I saved up and was about to get my very first apartment, when two of my friends asked me to move to New York City with them. Having been in foster care, I felt disconnected from my family, and they always talked to me negatively, so there was no point in staying just to be with them. We wanted to better our lives and make our dreams come true.

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See Also
Read More Articles in the Winter 2008/2009 Issue of Achieve
More Inspiring Stories of Gay Men With HIV
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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Mark Milano (New York, NY) Tue., Jul. 9, 2013 at 6:09 pm EDT
Just wanted to respond to maryellen - the picture was taken of clients at the program where the author received services. The teens in the photo wanted it to be a "high fahion" type shoot. They all loved the final pic.
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Comment by: DAMIR (MANCHESTER,NH) Mon., Apr. 13, 2009 at 8:15 pm EDT
GOD BLESS YOU GOOD LUCK BUDDY
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Comment by: maryellen (spokane, Wa) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm EDT
Great story, and I send my wishes for this young man. who writes so authentically and beautifully, that he continues to grow and thrive in his endeavor to live well. He's got a unique voice that rings clearly, honestly.

My one complaint about the article is that that the body.com has chosen a ridiculously gratuitous graphic to accompany an otherwise compelling and authentic story. It looks like a posed shot for a teen reality series.
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Comment by: Sam Reese (South America) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 1:15 pm EDT
There is nothing to be sorry about...all of us make mistakes and all of us have to find the right path. No one can judge what you went through and no one will ever know the nightmare of a lonely night with a warm hug. I am pos too ten years now and like you went through a lot but what is life but a learning experience? We sometimes self destroy and don't how much harm we are causing to ourselves and those one around us but we some strength and some silence and reflection we are all able to keep breathing loving every single day with all the ups and downs all the others have and what is to learnt is up to you to see and understand. Dream and fight for what you want...past is gone and thank you very much for the inspiration to all of us who are wondering why we made mistakes... just to recover and stand up and get stronger. Un abrazo (big hug)
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Comment by: Topher (Toronto, Canada) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 6:43 am EDT
Thank you for sharing your compelling and honest story. We certainly have a lot in common. I had a huge career in Broadcasting as a writer and was making a lot of money. I worked in the ad business and then in the performing arts. There was a lot of drug use in that environment. And of course, being a gay man, from an abusive family, I had tons of issues I had never worked on, especially all the grief and loss when all my friends were dropping like flies in the early 90's. I started with coke, and ended up homeless as well, smoking crack on the street. Today I live in a beautiful condo, I am starting to re-unite with my family, and am working on a major publishing deal writing -- not for TV ads, but for children, raising awareness about drug addiction, bullying and HIV to kids ages 9-11. Anything is possible if we focus on the day and task at hand, have a strong sense of spirituality, and, of course, do our best to help our fellow beings --that's the biggest one in my opinion. My prayer for all of us is that we will never give up hope and that our purpose is lived out to the best of our ability. Bravo brother! Be well, and keep the faith! T.
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Comment by: Kirk (Dallas, TX) Thu., Apr. 9, 2009 at 12:16 am EDT
I myself am a recovering addict in Sex Addicts Anonymous and I have HIV from my addiction. It has been 4 years now. Its root for me was self-hatred and not knowing myself as well. It was a life that was so perfection driven that I felt I disappointed my family, God, and certainly myself. I know better now. I am sober and have been for the last 3 years and I am loving myself so much more. Yes, I am a witness that you can become the center of attention in a positive way. I speak in churches, social groups, ASO groups, hospitals on my story of hatred toward self and how loving self breeds better behaviour. I commend you and thank you for being a positive influence on me. I hope one day to meet you and hug you and say you have made a difference in this 36 year old's life.
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Comment by: Les (BC, Canada) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 10:56 pm EDT
The best of luck to you. You're on the right track, I'm 53 & pos. too. Life can be rough but remember to love yourself & find someone to spend your life with who is honest & real! All the best to you, take care!
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Comment by: Jerry Robbins (ST Petersburg FL) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 10:15 pm EDT
Sorry you got messed up but glad you are trying to straighten out in the drug world that is.
You need a good ASO to get in a program I guess. I am not familiar with drugs and don't want to be as you know how they can mess you up in many ways. I wish you all good things and good luck.
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Comment by: Hudson Kelly (Chicago, IL ) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:49 pm EDT
Keep your head up little bro and this story will inspire so many others out there who are in the same kinds of situations. As a prevention model for TPAN and HIV POZ for nearly 6 years you can go on to do anything that you want to in your life. Our stories are very similar yet i never found myself doing drugs and the like as I always looked at myself as wanting to do better then my messed up family but some people are coaxed into things and without a solid foundation that is what happened to you; you are much better off doing what you are doing now and its all about wanting control over your own destiny. If you see your self sliding look me up I'll keep you on the right path but I think you'll do just fine.
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Comment by: Max (NY) Wed., Apr. 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm EDT
Poor kid, sorry for you
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