Rick: From Darkness to Light

Before I found the Stonewall Project, my life was very dark. I lived in a passive suicide state for a long time. Drugs worked two-fold: there was always this chance that the next one would finally take me out and if it didn’t, at least it would numb me to everything else going on around me. If it weren’t for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Stonewall Project, I can say without a doubt I would not be here now. 

I learned some of the people I met had similar backgrounds and that made a big difference – just knowing that somebody had been where I was, or at least experienced parts of a similar story firsthand, helped. What they had to tell me meant a little more. And I felt like there was hope for me. 

It’s important for me to give back to the community that saved my life. And I want to continue to do what I can to make sure other people know these resources exist. It’s important to make sure other people have opportunities to do the same thing. I continue to pass my message down to other people so that they can see that change is possible. 

Note: The Stonewall Project, now a program of San Francisco AIDS Foundation, opened its doors in 1998 and welcomed its first clients—gay men who wanted help with their crystal meth use. At the time, the harm reduction philosophy of the program, and the treatment strategies used to help clients, were a radical departure from the traditional drug treatment approaches being used. Today, Stonewall supports people with three harm reduction goals: substance-targeted abstinence, substance use management, and full abstinence.

I was in a dark place and the Stonewall Project lifted me out of it