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Echoes of Redemption: A Journey from Despair to Strength Through Music and Straight Edge

Trigger Warning: Sensitive Content Ahead Please be advised that this article contains references to addiction, mental health struggles, suicidal thoughts, and personal challenges. The content may be emotionally stirring and potentially triggering for some readers. Reader discretion is advised, and we encourage anyone who feels overwhelmed to seek support.

My Story Begins: Overcoming Life’s First Challenge

This story begins where the last one ends, I remember it in flashes. Finally, I had gotten my wish and was set up to leave this world against my will. The cold hospital bed and the steel poles inside me made me think “Where did I go wrong? Is this my end? Have I finally destroyed this body? Will my mother know I said goodbye? Will my father know I let him down?”

The Inner Battle: Lost and Alone

I scream so loud in my head but the coma has robbed me of anything but inner thought. Lost. Alone. I desire to hold the cold steel. I fantasize about pulling the trigger on society’s rejects to achieve what I think I need to survive. This world has created a demon and there was only one way down.

Relocation and Revelation: From Tacoma to Los Angeles

Sent away from Tacoma WA to Los Angeles CA. I feel in my head that my family rejected me. I was someone else’s issue and what would change? How would I live past 15? New school, new city- yet I still find the poison and the ones who will supply it.

The Turning Point: Discovering Straight Edge Life

My cousin who at the time was a stranger, not a familiar face, took me and explained his outlook. His beliefs. The straight edge life. A movement I only associated with a band- Minor Threat but I had never thought about it on a personal level.

The Path to Clarity: Rejecting Addiction and Lies

What felt like overnight- years of addiction of abuse washed away. I saw my cousin didn’t need the addiction, the lies I was taught by society. My mind was clearer than before. The words of these bands spoke to me and told me everything a doctor or therapist could never teach me.

Musical Redemption: Embracing a New Gospel

I kept on for years going to these shows accepting this as my gospel and feeling empathy. Bands like Have Heart were showing me how to care for human beings and erase the hate that was injected into my brain.

Personal Challenges: The Struggle with Nicotine and Alcohol

I was going steady but again started going downhill slowly for years- still addicted to nicotine and drinking.

A Father’s Reflection: The Birth of MJ and Facing Reality

My son MJ was born. I should remember it as the best moment in my life but I remember it as this. His hard birth caused him to be placed in the NICU. I had little hope for his future or mine. I was working the graveyard shift, I was smoking, and drinking. My priority was not him or my family- my priority became myself and what I could do to “escape” this hard point in my life.

I went down a spiral path of addiction and drug use. Suicidal at times with no hope or love for this cold world.

Awakening and Commitment: The Have Heart Reunion Show

Then one day I happened to watch a Have Heart reunion show for 2019. It felt like my eyes were opening for the first time in a long time. I just started crying- it all made sense to me again. The way I was meant to live was supposed to be free from addiction as a dedication to music that saved me, made me stronger, and always took care of me.

A New Promise: Choosing Family Over Substances

I made this claim- I will not choose substances over my boy or family. I will be clear. I will be present. Mj will respect his father and I will make him proud to be my son.

After years of needing medication- Adderall and anti-depression meds- the peace of mind I received cured me and I no longer needed the medication while living a clean life.

Embracing Challenges: The Diagnosis of Autism and Down Syndrome

A few years later Mj received his official Autism diagnosis. 3 days after his diagnosis- My 2nd son Nolan was born with a birth diagnosis of Down Syndrome. The doctors told me he had Down syndrome like they were telling us he was a disease and I would not want him. I looked at his eyes and I knew I could never leave his side and would teach him the truth of what I had learned.

The Strength of a Movement and a Father’s Dedication

Things are rough, things are hard but I am strong and I need to stay strong for my family. I can not slip back into what was “easy” or what I felt removed me from reality.

I could never explain what this movement/ this way of life has given me. I will give everything I have to show people suffering from addiction that there is a bright light and that every life should be cherished and loved no matter what challenges come your way.

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