Recovery Spotlight: Branden Mc

My darkest day, my lowest moment, my last chance… My name is Brandon McAllister; I’m from Frederick Maryland and I’m a recovering alcoholic, addict, and former drug dealer. See, those first two admissions I would have never admitted to. The last one I took pride in admitting to… Go figure. Real oxymoron right there. See that’s how serious my addiction is. I can mind f@#% myself into believing that the things I am doing that are wrong are right. Growing up, things that were abnormal around me became normal. Like if there wasn’t any food in the house, it was okay to steal from a friend’s house or store. Or if you are angry at someone, it was okay to use violence to express yourself. Today I can see where I got my distorted thinking from…learned behaviors. At a young age I learned a lot of these things. Being in and out of foster care and being shuffled in between different family members and growing up in different neighborhoods. So, needless to say I started to hate myself at a young age. I hated the fact I was mixed, biracial, or as my family members called me “Half cracker-nigger mutt.” My grandma would say that I was her “Nigger grand-baby.” I really didn’t know those things were wrong because when they were said to me there was laughter and love shown to me. Talk about confused. I can remember the first time I ever tasted alcohol… whenever any of us kids would get a toothache my aunt would rub alcohol on our gums and teeth. I will never forget how I felt. That burning feeling. That sparked something in me. So, I always for some reason had major toothaches. LOL Deep down inside I just wanted to escape all the feelings I had of hating myself. These feelings came from me being sexually abused by my father, the physical and emotional abuse of my uncle and aunt’s, and the total neglect of my mother. Those feelings of self-hatred, feelings of being less than, made me start believing I wasn’t worth anything.…that I deserved all the abuse, pain and neglect. So, I always told myself that when I got older I wasn’t ever going to allow anyone to hurt me and as I grew up that’s exactly what I did. HURT PEOPLE, HURT PEOPLE! I can do that with the best of them; through violence, words or pointing my finger. I started using alcohol and smoking weed at about 11 or 12 years old on a regular. Selling drugs was the norm where I came from and that’s what I did. I spent a lot of time in and out of juvenile facilities in Maryland. At the age of 17 I was living my life like a movie, Scarface to be exact. A lot of money around me, women and cocaine. That was the first time I ever tried cocaine. That was the party drug and it brought women and tons of money. See, weed and alcohol were things you bragged about. But cain, noooooo, never admitted to that. And that was a secret that kept me sick. One of many. In 1999 I went to prison. I was given 10 years all suspended but four years for distribution of cocaine. I got sent to a boot camp program. In my mind I just wanted to get prison underneath my belt to have my street cred. I came home from that and my first day out I’m drinking, smoking and selling drugs. Not even giving myself a chance. I stayed home for about four months and found myself with a 20-year sentence with all but 10 years suspended for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. I went to prison with the same mentality. Using and selling drugs. Still drinking real alcohol because in Jessup prisons you can get anything you want. I did four years and got sent to a treatment program, Second Genesis. Not once did I believe or think I had an alcohol or drug problem. I just wanted to get out of jail sooner than later. I used in there, sold drugs and alcohol. I completed that program without doing anything. I came home and my first day out I’m using drugs, drinking, hustling and partying like I didn’t miss a beat. After being home for a couple of months doing the same thing I found myself shot multiple times because of my lifestyle. Faced with death you would think things would change? Not for this insane addict. About two weeks later I was shot again. I’m down at Shock Trauma hospital looking at the faces of those who love me realizing they had started preparing my funeral that would be soon to follow because deep down inside I wanted to die. I hate myself. Remember in the beginning I said that. I hate me. Not understanding God had a different plan for me. Soon my life would finally hit rock bottom. All those meds I got, I started selling them and using them. Doubling up on the doctors and running around Maryland to fill scripts. Still I wasn’t an addict because my lifestyle was about popping percs and oxy’s, selling cain and heroin, partying and riding that wave. I thought because I had cars, money and the street reputation that I wasn’t like you. I didn’t steal or rob for drugs. I had the drugs for you to buy. I really lived that life; New York, Atlanta, North Carolina, Ohio, Miami I went to all those places to purchase drugs. I gambled with my life $40,000 and $50,000 at a time not knowing anyone but wanting to find the drug. My darkest day was here finally. I was already out on bail for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and out on another bail for possession with intent to distribute weed, possession with intent to distribute cocaine and a gun charge with 3 of my friends. Then I got arrested and was given a no bail for first and second degree assault. While in jail waiting for trial I was charged in another case with accessory to first-degree murder after the crime. That was the day I realized I was an addict. I was in a holding cell shitting on myself, hot and cold flashes just wanting to die because I needed those percs and oxy’s to feel better. I knew things had to change and I knew I would have plenty of time to change because I would be going to prison for a long time. I was given 10 years for the drugs, 10 years for the second degree assault, 5 years for accessory after the crime. Off to prison I went. Still not fully committed to change, I never used in prison but still sold drugs for tattoos….Then God showed up again. My son got locked up for shooting someone at the age of 16 and one of my best friends got murdered. I started to see the signs of God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. Then God showed up again almost 6 years of being in prison I got granted to go to another treatment center. Anything to get out of prison. I wasn’t going to use or sell drugs again. That was an easy fix I thought. That program helped me realize those darkest secrets; me being sexually molested by my father really killed me inside and I learned how to talk about those uncomfortable feelings. I learned it was bigger than just drugs and alcohol. I had a behavior problem. I learned about who Branden McAllister really was. I started believing in me. I went to meetings, got a sponsor, got a home group, service position and started really trying this thing. Always hearing things in that meetings like, “Give it a shot. If you don’t like it your misery will be refunded.” “Your way hasn’t worked thus far. So, I did that and I’ve had a lot of fun working the program. Today because of God and a 12-step program, I am a youth coordinator for The Frederick City Housing Authority; a Direct Care staff for The Ranch, a Board Member for the Police Activities League (PAL) and volunteer for I Believe In Me which is an after school program for at risk youth. I am a father to my children today not just a provider of money. Today I truly understand that I have a me problem and whenever I start thinking of only me, I become selfish. I have to help others because it helps me. I have to remain selfless so that I’m not selfish.