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Many Threads, One Fabric: Vol. 9 – Jeremy

Many Threads, One Fabric: Vol. 9 – Jeremy

To this day, Jeremy draws upon the strong sense of community, solid family unit, and positive relationships formed when he was growing up in the Riverside section of Reading: summers spent swimming in the Northwest pool, playing baseball at Keffer Park and rival city playgrounds, taking family vacations to the beach. A good student at Riverside, Northwest and Reading High (to start), Jeremy values the experiences of those years and the relationships built along the way.

“I guess like, when I got to high school, I started getting around people that I didn’t know prior, and became a person that wanted to impress people. So around 16 is when I started smoking weed and drinking. I didn’t know I was an addict at that point in life.” It wasn’t long before “School became less important to me.” And then . . . “I stopped going to school, and I got myself in trouble and I got sent to boot camp, where I decided I was going to get a GED and then I didn’t have to go back to school – at 16.”

“I came home from there and things just continually progressively got worse. . . I started doing cocaine. . . that’s when things started going really, really downhill. . . . again, I didn’t know I was an addict. And I just continually got consequences throughout my life, to the point where I spent about 17 years (total) of my life in a prison – in bits and pieces.” After maxing out his last case in 2014, Jeremy hasn’t been in a prison cell since.

What changed? Uncertain about the answer, Jeremy notes, “I got married in 2015. And my wife is the type of person that doesn’t allow me to sling bullshit. She showed up places. . . like I didn’t change the way I was living. But it got harder to live that way. I would like to say it stopped everything, but it didn’t.” For several years the consequences kept coming. And then. . . “Got to the point where I crashed and burned. I ended up living in a storage locker with no electricity, no water – none of that – in the middle of August.” And then. . . “I got some stuff and ended up OD-ing.”

A DUI had linked Jeremy to BCPS back in 2020. And now. . . it was time to start applying things he picked up in substance use programs over the years. “I started realizing they were there to help me, that they weren’t out to get me. . . and I was so willing to do whatever it took to not use drugs and alcohol again, I started opening up and trusting these people and letting them know how vulnerable I was to using, how scared I was to relapse and how much I wanted to stay clean and sober.” The seed of the good student planted in Jeremy’s beginnings had gotten enough “watering” over the years to remain fertile and he was ready to let it grow.

“I went to detox, long term rehab, sober house and outpatient. I wasn’t on any kind of supervision where it was being dictated to me. . . And I got with my sponsor, started doing step work. . . I started to understand, every problem I ever had, I was the common denominator. So I had to do everything I could to change the way I thought and responded to things. And yes, it’s hard work. It’s very hard work. Very hard work. Especially when you’re a vain person you think you’re perfect, like a real eye opener.”

“Through the course of my history, I obviously went through a lot of ups and downs. . . But I think what kept me from going over the edge to the point where there was no return was that solid upbringing.” And the relationships, “I tattered those relationships quite badly, and have since repaired them.”

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