Rocky, 43

Meet Rocky…

Today I am no longer a hurt person who hurts people. I am now a healed person who heals people. I know my story can never start over, I can never take back what I did, but maybe, just maybe it can prevent this from being somebody else’s tragic story.

I have spent the last 22 years in prison for murder. This is my story.

Until the age of 7, I felt happy, safe and hopeful. Then their fights intensified and reached an explosion when he threw her through the screen door. Then he left. That moment was the end of my innocence. We became homeless, first to a shelter, then to violence.

More than the pain of beatings, I was devastated emotionally. “Why am I being beat like this, why is my mom allowing it, what’s wrong with me?”

By 10, I had developed a violent belief system. There was a fuel tank inside me filled with repressed, unprocessed pain stemming from the abuse and feeling unwanted. Welfare and the projects nurtured every defect, addiction and poor coping skills we possessed. For the next two years, the abuse from my mother’s hands, came in the form of sticks, belts and horse whips.

By 13, she became a full blown drug addict, abandoning her post as a mother, and leaving us to find our own way. I hated my life. I saw myself, a poor, dirty, unloved, worthless kid with drug addicted parents.

Then, I had my first beer, it numbed everything. I found a way to be somebody else.

At 15, I was expelled, I drank daily, I hated sober me. I watched my mom’s drug addicted friends come and go. The pain, shame and frustration was overwhelming, it was the face I put on for the world each day. I took the hurt and funnelled it into anger and rage. I was a hurt person who hurt people.

My aunt took me in, I found my potential, made the honor roll as a senior and was scouted by a major league baseball team.

Unfortunately I was silently suffering, shown the light of greatness but uncomfortable in it, tragically more comfortable in chaos, in a life of drugs, alcohol, resentments and violence.
My addictions even after meeting my one year old son were still more powerful as was my response to run. I was failing at everything.

That night was a culmination of all my poor life choices. I brutally assaulted him, letting out an entire life’s worth of pain, causing his death and a lifetime of pain and suffering.

I dove into self-help, made myself sit in the fire and felt what I put my victim through, the man I murdered. It brought me to my knees. I thought of his family, the pain, the suffering. I found the root of my addiction, my low self-esteem, and I got sober.

Today I love myself, I love sobriety. The grace of God has me on the path to being the man God intended me to be. I find my greatest joy in being a facilitator for youth and helping young men. I see myself in all of them.