Celebrate Life -
Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin - 49
Chicago, Illinois

When he was in Kindergarten, in The Rockwell Gardens, Robert tells of being good at ‘rolling his own’ Marijuana joints. When in elementary school the sales from marijuana provided the money needed for school clothes, bicycles, plus fun trips to Indiana Dunes and Wisconsin Dells. It was a family affair, he says, they had a close & loving family, a good life.

Later, the family moved to the Suburbs of Chicago and continued the sales. Robert, at age 18 began to use more harder drugs; like PCP and Cocaine. He held a legal job at the local McDonald's and avoided detection by the law. Even still, he remembers this as a joyful, happy time.

By age 28 he admitted to himself that he was addicted to drugs, his mother took him to church with her, to get help, and beat his addiction. He tried and stopped for about 90 days. But, he wasn't ready to beat it. It was still beating him. As time went on, the mental and physical aspects of his life were compounding the problem as well -- he had been diagnosed with epilepsy and a bi- polar disorder. His choices, lifestyle and economic challenges were also making things even worse. He wrecked 5 cars. He had children with different women, that he had to support. Things like rents for houses, food, clothing, utilities, cell phones -- all the expenses were adding up -- he sold drugs to support his habit, pay his bills & support his children as well. His drug habit had grown to a $100 per day problem. He tried treatment programs but admits now, in his own words, "I did not fully commit myself to the process, did not fully open up.

Last year, at age 48 and needing money desperately, he says "I was careless, did not set up the usual security, was selling by myself, and was arrested with 10 bags in my pockets." Bailed out by his father, he was fortunate to get only probation. He once again turned

to his mother, he knew now that he not only wanted to be clean, he really NEEDED to be clean and stop using drugs.

His attendance at Above and Beyond was more than a requirement of probation for him now as well -- he felt it was a necessity for his future. He found the counselors encouraging and helpful, the programs a welcome focus on positive change for his life. He found the groups open and willing to receive him and he found himself willing to be open & truthful like he had never been before.

Robert is now a graduate of Above and Beyond, and is no loner required to come, yet he comes back. He comes back to maintain his own positive focus on life, to celebrate more than nine clean ‘drops’ with his PO, as he ends his probation. He comes back to help others now -- to share with others how to stay sober. He says that before he got here he didn’t know where to go, or what to do. Now he knows, now he does it. He says: “Analyze it, Visualize it, Socialize it.”