Mark J

Meet Mark J

At 24, Mark J had his life mapped out. Dentist. Married with kids. A BMW and Benz, with homes in the Islands and the District. But life didn’t work out that way.

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By 24, Mark J had his life mapped out. He was going to be a dentist. He was going to be married and have the Beamer, the 2.5 kids, a home in the islands, and one in the District. But it didn’t work out that way. The only child of professional parents, he was surrounded by loving family and friends and was set to graduate from Howard University. But opportunity had its downside: drugs, alcohol, and their lure of money and prestige.

“I became involved in selling drugs to get in with the in crowd, I did a lot of partying, a lot of marijuana, alcohol, hash, opium, PCP, any kind of drug you can name. I wasn’t big on heroin, but I had tried it. I thought I would be able to go to dental school, still get high, and pass and succeed.”

He was wrong. Mark J was in and out of dental school three times but never finished. He started a trucking business, but it failed because of his addiction. He was incarcerated three times, in inpatient rehab six times, and in multiple outpatient treatment programs. But the last time was different, Mark J recalls. Instead of going home, he went into recovery housing with other men on the same path. Now, he’s not only sober, but he’s helping others recover. “I never imagined I’d have just the peace and serenity of waking up every day, not worrying about where I’m going to get that next one from, not worrying about who I hurt, or if I disappointed my parents or my daughter.”

Today, Mark J lives in Washington, DC, and helps others recover from addition as a resource coordinator.

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