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  July 4, 2012      
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Andre Malik Rivera

My story begins here ... February 14, 2006

Hello, my name is Andre and I am an addict/criminal. I was the third of five children in my family. As the lightest child of the bunch, I was always looking for ways to fit in. When I was a young child, I was betrayed by one of my siblings and sold into prostitution. Since that day, I was never the same. I grew up with an identity crisis. I sold drugs and ended up in prison for 14 years in New York. I also had a long record of delinquency in New Jersey. While in prison, I was introduced into a 12-step program. It was different; men were crying and talking about feelings. The only feelings I could express were, "I'm good" or "I'm bad." This program was life-saving.

Through criminality and using drugs, I put myself through unnecessary pain. As a child, I did anything to be accepted. When I got older, I used the same tactics to survive. In 2002, I had a release date and a confirmed address to go home to, but I decided to transition into a halfway house in the Bronx rather than go home. It was the best decision I have ever made. I have been on the road of recovery ever since. I have not re-offended and I have been all over the world because of God and recovery. I am a single parent and enjoying all of the benefits that the program has to offer.

All I can say is that the 12-step program works and recovery works! I hope you have the opportunity to read this story and believe in the power of recovery. It has changed my life completely. I have friends who love me for me. I never have to go back to prison. Despite my past, I have chosen to grow and benefit from my experience rather than continue to look at it as a liability. Lost dreams awaken and new possibilities arise. I know I am Recovery!!!

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


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