My quest to help young addicts

This is my story:

My mother and father separated before I was born. My mother had no education and three very small children to take care of after I was born (three under the age of three). My father kidnapped me when I was about 18 months old and later abandoned at a crack house in Louisiana. My mother and grandfather found out where I was and rescued me, but my mother died just a few months later & my father completely disappeared from my life. 

I was sent to live with a great-aunt and great-uncle who were physically, emotionally, and psychologically abusive of me, and I began running away from their home when I was twelve. I was passed from family member to family member, always ending back up with the same great-aunt. I went to 22 different schools from elementary school to high school. Due to the inconsistency and the instability of my home life, I struggled significantly with school. By the age of 13, I was using drugs, and my use quickly escalated to a full-blown addiction. I developed several mental health issues from the trauma of the abuse as well, including Reactive Attachment Disorder and Bi-Polar Disorder.

When I was fourteen, CPS became involved, and I ended up living with one of my mother’s cousins. As a high school teacher, she recognized some of my problems and tried getting me help for them. She got me special education support, and she spent countless thousands of dollars on treatment facilities, alternative peer groups, psychiatrists, therapists, sober high schools, and medication for me. Even though I tried, I still struggled with drugs and acting out behaviors, and I dropped out of school my senior year when I just couldn’t keep up anymore and felt like I was wasting not only my time, but everyone else’s.

After dropping out and moving out of my cousin’s home, I spent the next three years in and out of jail. I lived in several sober living houses and half way houses. Sometimes I lived with friends; sometimes I was homeless and slept in my car. Each time I ran from one bad situation to another, I dug myself in deeper and deeper holes, feeling lonelier then I was before. I never truly felt like I had anything to live or work for. I pushed everyone away who remotely cared about me. I was a high school dropout who couldn’t do anything right, but even worse, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t stay sober.

In 2013, I finally hit rock bottom. I found myself, at the age of 19, detoxing from methadone in jail and had burned all the bridges with my family and friends. I made a decision in that moment that I could not do it anymore. I turned my life over to my higher power, God, and I moved back to Houston, but since I was not able to live at home anymore, I went to a halfway house and lived there for almost a year. I went to meetings, changed my life and completely changed everything about me. I was not perfect, but I tried, and it took everything in me to change. 

In 2013, with less than 6 months sober, I started working at a adolescent treatment center, Odyssey House, that I had been a client at when I was sixteen. I have been in the field ever since, giving everything I have to support and love the teenage clients back to life. I am now 24, and for the last few years, I have been in some sort of supervisory role in these facilities.

I got a GED at 20 years old and went back to school to be an LCDC (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor). I have recently finished the program at the Institute of Chemical Dependency Studies and am trying to apply for my license; however, until my school tuition is paid off, I am unable to do so as the school will not release my transcripts until the bill is paid in full. I have paid half of the school costs & am struggling to find the money to pay the rest. This is my last resort.

I would like anyone willing to read my story to know how important and meaningful it is to me to have come this far. If you have anything to help, it mean the world. I know this is what I am meant to do, and I believe that God saved my life so that I could one day help save someone else’s. My goal is to finish. I would be the first from my biological parents and all my siblings to hold a degree.


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Justin Roshto
Pasadena, TX

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