Voices for Recovery
R F Maldonado
New York, NY
Author and Songwriter
I am a married Latino author and songwriter, a former teenage street-gang leader, and a former 25-year heroin/cocaine addict from New York City. Even after living a clean, sober lifestyle for the past 22 years, I am actually amazed to be here today. Nearly 99 percent of everyone I got high with growing up in New York’s Spanish Harlem passed away long ago. I shared my first bottle of cheap liquor with my neighborhood friends when I was 14, and that same summer, I smoked marijuana. I immediately knew that I liked both, and that would eventually lead me to sniffing heroin at 16 and then straight into my horrible 25-year heroin/cocaine addiction.
After going to jail once or twice a year, I tried going to rehab centers, but my biggest obstacle was actually believing that I could ever change my life and world. I’d start getting high within a day or two of leaving a program. My whole world changed when I entered a 30-day, 12-step rehab program on October 14, 1986, in New York. Since then, I’ve been completely committed to my personal recovery. One of the many wonders has been being a pillar of strength for my family when death claimed both my sister and mom. I never even considered using those painful times as an excuse to derail my recovery and get high.
I’m very grateful to be alive and sincerely hope that the “can-do” message of my own recovery in my book, Dancing on Broken Glass, touches at least one life, changing it for the better. As an addict in recovery, I continue to wish to spread my genuine message of hope and recovery!