On Addiction

Interview Transcript:

Okay, good morning! My name is Kevin Stuart, and I was excited and happy that I was able to share this morning with these young ladies – and may you all continue to prosper in your endeavors; whatever you’ve put your hand to, may it prosper.

Well, I was abused as a child. I didn’t have the luxury of the belt: it was the ironing cord, the steel toe boot, or the fist. But that was the way most people lived – anyway, I thought. Black kids for the most part. You know, your mom would go out there and tell you literally to “Go and pick the biggest switch off of that tree so I could spank your … ,” you know. And it’s like, “Don’t come back here with a little twig,” because she would go out there and get the whole tree.

But that’s what we, you know, were common to…you know, something that I [seen in] my

family anyway. My dad was an alcoholic, so that was the problem, and that’s where the addictions start.

I became homeless in 2015 and with two deaths right one behind the other, it was tough for all of us. So I was living with my sister and she asked me to move out of my apartment to live with her and my mother to help her with dialysis – and, you know, my sister and I don’t really get along, but I agreed to it.

[Editor’s Note: Kevin’s mother passed away shortly after he moved in to care for her. His sister also died the next month.]

But anyway, long story short, I decided like Forrest Gump to take a little run. I didn’t know it was gonna last five years. Part of my problem was drugs; the drug of choice was meth. It’s hard to keep a job you know when you’re up 24 hours, three to five days a week or whatever, you know, um so at that point it was either you know the meth go or the job go, so the job had to go. A buddy of mine, I found him in his tent with a needle still in his arm and he overdosed. And you think that would have slowed me down, but no – that only speeded things up.

But I had no idea that my problem wasn’t the drugs; it was addiction. It was addiction. I didn’t get that, and I didn’t understand that before. I didn’t think I had a drug problem, because I had a 15-year crack habit, and I was spending 600 dollars a day on that stuff, and I made it through.

I became homeless and, like I said, a year went by, two years went by. I started getting stuff stolen and losing stuff, because this puts you in a mentality of always being on guard. You always have to be on guard, especially if you’re living on the street, you know. I’ve always lived in tents, but it’s still considered living on the street. And you know, there’s a lot of wild people out there. There’s a lot of people that, homeless people steal from other homeless people, which is crazy. There are some people out here that are very, very talented and gifted people. And it just blows me away when I hear somebody tell me about their story, you know what I’m saying. And I’m like “dang man this dude used to be a professional baseball player”, you know, “matter of fact he’s still getting league money every month and here he is, homeless”.

I’m 57 years old man and I’m telling you, um, for me to be in this situation is completely outrageous. But I do know that nobody has to go hungry, and if you’re around Austin street or the bridge I’m telling you, people are literally, you know, driving, honking, just to pass you a sack lunch. So you can’t tell me

you can’t you see the love of Jesus. It’s every day, every day, I mean especially on the weekends.

This is the season now where they’re going to start handing out coats, different items like sleeping bags and stuff like that, tents too.

But I believe in me, I believe in, the process – you know, I’m all in. I’m trying to get myself situated and get off the streets because, um I’m 57 years old, like I said, and I don’t know, you know, when that date is going to end.  I don’t have the next couple of minutes, I don’t. I only have this moment, and I live every day like it was my last day.

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