About fifteen years ago, I was living in a one bedroom apartment, working odd jobs, trying to support a bad addiction to some heavy substances. During my stay at this apartment complex, a young man that had just turned eighteen, fresh out on his own for the first time in life had just moved into the apartment below me. The kid liked to party like me, he smoked a lot of pot and drank every once in a while, but he had never tried any of the hard stuff, like cocaine and heroin. Personally strung out on cocaine at the time, knowing that having another addict nearby would only help contribute to my own addiction, I decided to ask this young man if he wanted to try using some coke. Of course he said yes, and it was off to the races from there. Before I knew it, we were both running around, spending all of our money on the drug. He started borrowing money from his family, his girlfriend, stealing from people, just as I was doing to support this deadly addiction. I created a monster. For years and years I’ve allowed this guilt for pushing such a terrible and deadly substance on such a young and moldable mind as his. That was the first and last time I ever turned someone on to a new drug with the intent of creating an addict for my own benefit. Years later I ran into this man again at a well-known drug house in a bad part of town. He was strung out, living on the streets, getting his next fix where ever and however possible. I felt terrible; I was convinced it was my entire fault. Over the years I’ve done many countless terrible things to support my own substance addiction and they still haunt me to this day. But in order to move forward in life, I do my best to use this guilt as motivation to do better, perhaps helping others and saving them from a life of addiction, crime and pain in the future. Well just the other day, I saw this young man in the chow hall. So I sat beside him and said hello. He remembered me immediately, smiled and asked me how I was doing. We both talked for a while, catching up on each other’s lives leading up to date. I took full advantage of this moment to explain my motives for turning him on to cocaine so many years ago, how guilty I’ve felt for so many years, and then I asked him for his forgiveness. He laughed, kind of admitting that I was in fact the one that showed him this dark path in life, but I could sense some seriousness in his joke. He told me not to feel bad because he would have tried cocaine eventually in life and his own addiction to substances was inevitable. He told me that this was his fifth time coming to prison. He told me that his favorite thing to do now is heroine. My heart aches for him. I hope he gets better someday. I just thank God for giving me the opportunity to face this man and apologize for what I did to him, enabling me to put one more ghost from my past behind me and use it as another tool in my tool belt to create a stable future for myself and my family.