My name is IRA and I am in recovery. I’m recovering from gambling and drugs. I grew up in Chicago. I’m the youngest, there was nine of us, but you know some passed away as I got older. There was a lot of drugs, there was a lot of gambling. I realized that wasn’t for me. So when I graduated high school I left. You know, I went to the military, but when I came back home, it was the same thing. Same in’s and out’s, in’s an out’s. I started cooking, you know the drugs for my family and eventually started using. Which led me on a downward spiral. I was very functional. I mean I went to work every day… But all while I was at work, I thought about “what horse am I going to bet on tonight?” “What car game am I going to find tonight?” “Who am I gonna go buy my dope from?” And it just went on and on, you know, I didn’t care about anybody except for me. And I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. I didn’t think I was a bad person. I went to work every day. I paid my bills every day. I could spend this money the way I want to spend it and I would disappear for eight, nine days at a time. Turn my phone off. This is my time. This is me. I didn’t get clean until I was 44 years old, and that’s when I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I have to get real with myself. I honestly had to accept… what I had done to myself and the other people. When I first started to get clean, that’s when the shame hit me. I keep a little bit of that shame with me all the time. It’s a video that I roll in my head You know, I play that video in my head because the shame that I see is to hurt that I caused. So that shame and that guilt, they say that you’re not supposed to hold on to it… I hold on to that a little bit because it reminds me that I never want to be that person again. My son and my daughter… they’re really happy… To get to know their dad all over again. Today I’m just grateful for the presence of mind that I have now. You know, I don’t have to live like that anymore. And I don’t have to make them live like that either. I’m living my best life now, man.