Mauricio Rosas is a Mi Valedor vendor who has experienced both homelessness and addiction. He started experimenting with drugs and alcohol while he was a teenager and went on to rely on alcohol to feel better. It was when Rosas first went to the offices of Mi Valedor that he realized that he needed help. Now that Rosas has made positive changes in his life, he feels that he has been reborn and urges those in need of help to reach out for the support that they need.
I grew up in Colonia Morelos, Mexico. My father always worked very hard to give us what we needed and taught us to keep our shoes clean. I first smoked marijuana when I was 13 years old and I got drunk for the first time when I was 15. The alcohol made everything worse. My use of psychotropic drugs continued. My use of cocaine continued. With the marijuana and the pills, I still managed to get to work, but when I started drinking alcohol heavily, it was as if I forgot about everything else.
When you can’t afford to buy brandname alcohol, you have to switch to cheaper alcohol — and that changes you. If you buy a liter of cheap alcohol, such as Tonayan, it drives you crazy. It becomes a disease.
I have a lot of different jobs: I know how to make pies, pizza, biscuits and hamburgers. I’m also an electrician and I sell several newspapers.
The first time I was invited to come along to Mi Valedor I thought, “What for?” But, at the same time, I wanted to get better. Alcohol used to give me a boost, but now it gets me down. I like to fit right in, and I was pretty depressed and smelling bad from being on the streets.
Now I am “the voice of the street” on the radio
When I arrived at the magazine, I realized that I needed to get better. At Mi Valedor they greet you, offer you coffee, biscuits. I feel like I’m with family here. I used to be lying around, and now I am “the voice of the street” on the radio. I haven’t had a drink since Aug. 31. It’s been easy to stay sober because I’m in a shelter and I’m separated from places where you can drink.
Right now, all I want to do is throw myself into living, because, in many ways, you could say that I was dead before. I want to rent a little room and live quietly there.
I have been very distant from my family because you are locked in a very small world when you are on the street; but when I came here my brother started talking to me again.
“If you are in a situation where you end up on the streets, seek help.”
Looking back on my expeience, my message to others would be: “If you are in a situation where you end up on the streets, seek help.” But don’t just look for a quick fix to the situation. Look for a better alternative. Life on the street is not real life; it’s like hell. But I can say I’ve been to hell and back.
Translated from Spanish by Louise Wilson. Courtesy of Mi Valedor / INSP
Read the full Dec. 5 - Dec. 11 issue.
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