Every day before I went to work I spent about $150 on drugs, so I could be high all day. I worked overtime—45 to 60 hours, easy—but I was only doing it to get high. I did meth, and with meth you get speed: You hit a bowl, and you’re gone. And when I got home after a day at work, I spent another $150 on drugs. I barely ate or slept. All I cared about was working to get high.
Truth is, I was a pretty good worker. I was the nicest person, and I cleaned everything so that it was spotless—because, again, getting high gave me speed. It took my ADHD and OCD and multiplied it by a million.
When I got home, I’d clean the whole house. Sometimes I was up all night scrubbing the ceilings with a toothbrush. I was always paranoid, so I kept everything clean—because I felt dirty for doing drugs. I guess I tried to rationalize it in my head while I was doing it, but it never set right with me. I worked like this for two and a half years.
But as high as I was, I was lonely. I wouldn’t have admitted that back then, but I was. I had my friends, but I didn’t have anybody that completely and fully understood me. I hadn’t yet met my now fiancée, Jazmin. And I didn’t yet have a little girl who calls me “Dadda”—a little girl who, when I have a bottle of pop, stares at me with those blue eyes.
But even after Jazmin and Izzy entered my life, I struggled. I gave up the drugs, but I was unemployed for about a year, and I felt like crap about it. I remember when one of Jazmin’s guy friends took her out to eat for her birthday. And that completely destroyed me, because I couldn’t get her anything. I felt like a deadbeat, a loser. I felt defeated: I felt like scum, like I was less than a man.
During the beginning of my unemployment, I didn’t tell Jazmin how much it bothered me. But then my bipolar started kicking in, and I started getting meaner. When a guy feels like crap, nine times out of ten he takes it out on his woman—not even necessarily by abusing her, but by becoming distant. You’re so mad at yourself that you feel like your family deserves better than you. You don’t believe that you deserve their affection and attention, because you feel that much like crap. You love them with all your heart—but you feel like you’re not good enough for them. That stuff eats away at you.
About a year into unemployment, I still felt like crap for not having a job. That’s when one of my friends said that he had a job at Wendy’s for me. I walked into my interview as nervous as hell. But three minutes into my second interview, the manager said, “I really like you.”
My first day there I was working my butt off. I go in to work at 5:30 in the morning, and I don’t get off until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. I’m a much better and more reliable worker than when I was on the drugs. Now, I have Jazmin and our baby—I have love in my life. I’m not just working for me anymore, I’m working for two other people who rely on me. This time, I’m not working to get high—I’m working for love.
I’m proud that I’m going to be a husband, and I’m proud to be a father. I like being able to get Jazmin gifts and seeing her eyes light up. When my daughter gets older and says, “Dadda, I want…” I want to be able to get her what she wants. And the only way I can do that is by working.
Izzy is my princess, and Jazmin is my queen—and you better believe that I’ll serve this kingdom as their king. I cannot fail them like I’ve failed in the rest of my life. And even if that means flipping burgers at Wendy’s, I want to make sure that I take care of what’s mine.
After I got my first paycheck, I went to Kroger, and I saw these really beautiful roses—the white and pink ones that Jazmin really likes. I went back to her house, and I set the roses on her bed. When she walked into the bedroom, she lit up and smiled from ear to ear. It had been a year since I was able to get her something special, and that made me feel like a man, knowing that I could bring a smile to my lady’s face. That’s what I mean by working for love.