by Lisa Tome
He's looking for a new beginning.
And starting from the bottom up.
On a hot, humid July day, a 32-year-old man, who asked that his name not be used, was picking up trash along North East's Main Street. He carried trash bags in his hands and on his back he carried a small bag containing iced tea and water.
At first the man said he was a "volunteer". A short time later, he said he planned to spend seven hours picking up litter to fulfill community service requirements for both Drug Court and his recovery house.
"I've found a lot of beer cans. And there are a lot of alcohol bottles down by the water. And I've found the little bags that drugs come in, unfortunately," he said.
He knows plenty about drugs. He's been to both jail and prison and said he has been a heroin user for 18 years. "I've been clean. I was in jail for 45 days and I've been out of jail for 16 days. I was in prison before that. I slipped back into my addiction and Drug Court gave me another chance. I've been in Monarch House since the fourth of July," he said.
Monarch House is operated as a ministry of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of North East. The house is overseen by Robert Laird. New Beginnings minister Pastor Phil Meekins said Monarch House is in the process of joining the Maryland Recovery Network and is in the process of becoming a certified recovery house. That process will mean that more funding will be in place to help the recovering addicts such as the one that was picking up trash.
"I am now trying to rekindle relationships with my family. I've been homeless and a heroin addict. Drug Court gave me a chance and Mr. Laird gave me a chance," he said.
Note: His name was withheld at his request but the information was verified with his recovery house.