My name is Richard, and I am 58 years old. I’m originally from Boston, but I have lived in San Francisco for 33 years. I enjoy life now, which was not always the case. As I share my story, I hope that parts of it may resonate with some of you in a way that is helpful or makes you believe that anything is possible. I know this for a fact because, for so long, I did not think I would be alive at this point in my life and I didn’t think it mattered if I was. That is not the case today, but it took a lifetime to get there.
I didn’t understand that it is not the destination that counts, but the journey itself. Before I begin, let me say that I am a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and am therefore abstinent from alcohol and drug use. I fully understand if that is not your path. While being abstinent myself, I encourage harm reduction— which includes needle exchanges, safe injection sites, and safe sobering sites. I support using whatever tools/means you have to help get you safely through the issues you’re dealing with in life. My wish for you— and what I attempt to do in my community— is to help others help themselves with the safest, least harmful choices available.