Things Fall Apart – Calvin’s Story, Part 1

“Without Our Saviour’s Housing, I’d either be in jail, dead, or walking around crazed. Like it says–Our Saviour’s. It really saved me.”

Life was good for Calvin. He had a stable job and made enough money to help support his mom and brothers financially. On weekends, he indulged his culinary interests, hosting elaborate dinner parties for his friends. He could make even the gloomiest day seem brighter with his wide smile and optimistic outlook.

All of this was about to change.

Calvin’s mom died, and in his grief he missed more time than his job allowed. He was fired exactly one year after being hired. Facing sudden unemployment, Calvin wasn’t worried. He was certain his savings would carry him through.

When Calvin received $10,000 from his mother’s insurance, he decided to pay off his childhood home where his younger brothers still lived. He gladly paid the $5,000 the bank told him was owed and told his brothers that all they’d have to pay was the taxes. They owned their home free and clear! Then he learned that his mother had a second mortgage worth over $46,000.

With a job more urgent than ever, Calvin continued to search with no luck. He moved in with his brothers, and it was all they could do to buy food and pay the bills. He was powerless as he watched the home he’d tried to secure for his family go into foreclosure.

Then Calvin met some new friends. They were having financial problems too but didn’t seem to mind. They checked on Calvin often and seemed genuinely concerned for him. They brought liquor and marijuana. Calvin began to party with them. It was much easier than confronting reality.

One of these friends introduced Calvin to crack cocaine, a drug nearly unmatched in its ability to addict. It tells the user that not only is everything okay and under control, but the future will be better than ever before. Calvin couldn’t get enough.

Over the next 11 years, Calvin lived as what he calls a “functional crackhead.” He found and held a job as a housekeeper at a national hotel chain–and even got promoted twice! He volunteered in the community. He lived at different times in his own place or with friends or girlfriends. He also smoked crack almost every day.

As Calvin fed his addiction, he began to miss his old life. His body broke down under the cycle of long days working and longer nights partying. He missed his brothers, with whom he had parted ways. He missed the good friends that he never saw anymore. He made a few tries at sobriety, but they never stuck.

Eventually, Calvin’s double life caught up with him. When he ended up jobless and homeless, he knew: Something needed to change.