Ricky* sees light at the end of the tunnel, and for the first time in nearly a decade, he's able to say, "I feel blessed, like this is right where God wants me to be." Ricky's "tunnel" has been a long, dark journey through bi-polar disorder, PTSD, and obesity, to cocaine addiction, homelessness, and prison. He's quick to add that his life wasn't always this way.
"My father was a minister and my mother was an English teacher. Everyone else in my family has been very successful. They all have college degrees. I went to a private Christian school, and I grew up in the church."
But Ricky also grew up with learning disabilities and some then-undiagnosed mental health issues. Compounding that, he says, "I was a really obese child. All of that put together was tough." Then, when Ricky was fifteen, his father died. "That threw me for a big loop," he says quietly. Ricky got into drugs. "Cocaine became my miracle weight-loss drug. My mental disorders and the drugs were a terrible combination." . . .