"I always had a passion for drawing..."
Originally, I’m from Harvey, Illinois. My childhood was apart from my brothers and sisters because my parents separated when I was two years old. I remember as a kid my self-esteem was low, but I always had a passion for drawing. I didn’t really know I was good until I got to high school when my teachers would look at my artwork and comment on how talented I was. I looked at my work sometimes and thought, “Yeah maybe I can draw”.
My addiction started very early, probably when I was 14 or 15. I’d always see these kids sitting in the back of the bus, smoking weed, and thought I’d like to be a part of something like that. So, I thought, “let me try that”. When I started using weed, it eventually led to the drinking and I remember thinking back then that I was finally a part of something, kind of like those kids who sat in the back of the bus smoking.
When I moved back to California in 2001, I was introduced to crack cocaine, which completely turned my life upside down. I didn’t know how to stop. I never really got into violent altercations or anything like that. But, I did steal and do other things in order to support my habit. I was in and out of jail a lot. Crack cocaine, weed and alcohol took a major toll on my life. I wasn’t as focused, but I did keep my artwork going when I was in my addiction. I remember drawing this lady looking through some binoculars with cocaine smoke coming out of her mouth. She was seeing everything that was being lost, exhaled like the smoke. I still have the drawing. It reminds me of everything that is lost when we are getting high.
The last run was the worst. I got sober back in 2010. I was in school and engaged to a nice woman. I started drinking again, and then came the sack, and then I started using again. I lost everything: my schooling, the girl and my housing. That was the lowest point. I was sitting in an empty room with just a bed and my pipe. I had sold everything. In December 2010, I laid my pipe on the bed and came to The Midnight Mission.
The thing that’s helped me most here, is the people. It’s like a family. I’ve been out here for so long without my family and everyone at The Midnight Mission has helped me express more of my feelings, be more outgoing, volunteer and help other people. That’s the change for me. Now, I have great people in my life, people who have shown me how to live recovery. This place has taught me how to be a man, how to deal with certain situations, and know that I don’t have to use drugs in order to solve any problems.
I want to my artwork to be recognized, but I want it to work so I can help other people. In downtown, I never look down on people, because that’s where I came from. I want my life to be an inspiration to somebody else down here. I can say that you have to want to change, take the good with the bad, and never give up. I want to be a good role model for others and use my artwork as a form of expression to help people. That’s what I’m striving for.
Click here to check out Realistic Portraits, David's webpage.
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