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  August 29, 2012      
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Gregory Pereira

My story begins here ... May 23, 1995

My name is Gregory and I am an addict, grateful to be in recovery since May 23, 1995. I grew up in the South Bronx, Harlem, Coney Island, and East L.A. I became a gang member, drug dealer and thief. Crime, drugs and poverty had a grip on me and many of my family members. From the 1960s through the 1990s, my Dad and Uncle sold drugs. My mom became addicted to heroin, crack and alcohol and eventually, she died of AIDS-related complications. Since I was11 years old, I lived mostly on the streets. By the age of 14, just to survive, I became a weed, angel dust and LSD dealer and later I was a heroin and cocaine dealer. I made a lot of money, but as a dealer my family never said to not get high on your own merchandise. It was more like "get high on the best merchandise." So I used pure heroin, pure cocaine, and smoked and drank the best at the clubs. After a few years, a few arrests, prison and the spending all my money on attorneys, I soon became chronically-addicted, homeless and destitute. I was buying drugs from the same people who I used to employ.

Over the years, I have been to 17 detox programs and joined a methadone maintenance program for 10 years. I even smoked crack and shot heroin in the bathrooms of three methadone programs. I also joined several harm reduction programs to get clean needles. I also participated in research studies to get drugs. I became both suicidal and homicidal. At that point, I signed up for another research study and I asked the harm reduction program to enroll me in a therapeutic community (TC). Then I prayed and asked God to choose. I went into a TC for two and a half years. On my Mom's birthday I got off of methadone. I was introduced to both Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and applied myself as the programs suggested. I used the principles that I learned and went to work in the substance use and abuse fields.

Over the years, I have managed several programs and started a consulting business on the side. I received much training and used it as a way to help me commit myself to long-term education. I also obtained a bachelor's degree and then a master' degree in public administration. I opened my own business three years ago. I have a contract with the Department of Motor Vehicles and teach classes to those arrested for DWI. With my business, I am a NYC vendor for the Department of Education, I teach gang awareness, substance abuse prevention and HIV prevention in the schools.

I got married and many of my groomsmen and guests were individuals in recovery. I own a home and my recovery friends come over for BBQs. Life still has its ups and downs, but it is an extraordinary life because of the recovery process. So just for today ... I am recovery.

My name is Gregory. This is my story. What's Your Story?


   

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