Sharyn Jordan--1993 & 1998

NO CALL FOR PITYThe ResidentsSharyn Jordan--1993 & 1998Sharyn Jordan Holland, 2001Donald Ray OliverCarl Green, 1992Carl Green, 2001Ruby MonroeFamiliesMark DunfordNext

Sharyn Jordan--1993 & 1998
Sharyn Jordan--1993 & 1998

"You have to fall and
bump your head so
many times! It don't
take just one time for
something bad to
happen to stop you, for you
to want to stop."

I have no place to go. I don’t have any relatives here, other than my mother. And me and my mother don’t get along. I can’t stay at her house. She put me out.

I dropped out in the twelfth grade. I was accepted at A&T University through my SAT scores, but I never went. I was trying to be with the “in crowd.” Now I find out that’s not the crowd I should have been with. They never went past the tenth grade.

My last job, I worked at the McDonalds on Chapel Hill Boulevard for two years. I got pregnant, so I stopped working there. And then I started receiving AFDC [Aid for Families with Dependent Children] for my kids, so I got lazy—I found out I didn’t have to work. But I’d rather work now because that income was not enough. And plus, I got on drugs.

I used to use crack every day. All day. I would wake up in the morning and have one hit. That would give me energy for the rest of the day, and then I would go out and get more money any kind of way that I could to get some more. Because it makes you want more. And once you used it so long and you don’t get it, you don’t have any energy. That’s why I’m in treatment.

At first, I was sleeping fourteen, fifteen hours a day. That lasted about a week and a half. Then I would have a set-back reaction: get the taste and the effect, even though I hadn’t had any. And my brain would say, “Oh, I’m going to get some.” It only lasts about thirty seconds, so they told us just to sit there and mash our legs to the floor so we wouldn’t move and go get anything. And it worked. It has to be a mental thing, too. If somebody tries to make you stop, you won’t stop. You have to want to stop.

I stopped because it came between me and my kids. I had a little girl at that time. I just had a little boy three months ago. My daughter is with my mother and my son is with his father until I find a place to stay.


I had an apartment. I had met some guys who had a lot of cocaine, and I let them set up shop in my house. And that means I could get hold to it anytime. I could keep hollering for it all day because they didn’t want you to kick them out onto the street with all their cocaine. So they supported my habit so they could stay at my house until they sold out.

I got arrested a couple of times. I couldn’t depend on my mama. She’d say, “You shouldn’t of did it!” But I call my father, he come and get me. He did give me a stern warning. He said, “The third time, you’re on your own!” But he at least came to get me before he told me I’m on my own.

And then I went the third time. They arrested me for maintaining a dwelling
for the guys who was selling cocaine out of my house.

You have to fall and bump your head so many times! It don’t take just one time for something bad to happen to you, for you to want to stop. It’s a series of accidents that happen. And I figured that the last straw was my kids—I have to have my kids.

I wish I had half the money now that I spent on cocaine. I’d be in a mansion somewhere. Too late now. Too late now.

I just look at it as something that just used to be, like a memory. So it’s really not a problem anymore. But they say I can always go into remission. I can always set back. That’s why I’d just rather not be around it.

 1998 (no image)

Since the last time we talked, everything stayed the same until I started to get clean. I was in and out of the shelter, trying to find places to stay in abandoned houses, staying with God-knows-who else, who had a room for a night. Struggling to find a meal through the course of each day.

The things I had to do to get my drugs: I prostituted, I stole, I even tried to sell some so I could keep my habit going.  I stayed in the hospital for two days because I had been stoned. Actually stoned, with bricks.  Suffered severe lacerations. I had staples put in, in one, two, three, four, five, six different places. If I didn’t have hair you’d be able to see it.

I’ll never forget it--like it was yesterday! I’d been helping the girl and her crew make money. That night she said, “I need my fifteen dollars.” She gave me a time limit and I didn’t get it. I said, “Wait a minute, why is she so hot about fifteen dollars!” I stood there and didn’t think that my life might be in danger. She came back with three more girls with sticks and bricks and I couldn’t do all of them at one time. The one who initially told me that I better have the money--she got a brick in the face. But the rest of them came from behind.


So much has changed. Just like working here now at the shelter. I’m a residential services assistant. What I do is basically be here for the clients. The day that I came in for that interview, I don’t know whether Miss Maggie remembered my name, but I knew she knew me when she saw my face! I said, “Oh, gosh, I hope I can still get the job. I’m not the same person anymore!” We sat down and went through the interview process, and she loved me. She was so proud of me. And it just lets me know if people see you trying to do the right thing, they don’t hold you down. They try and help you as much as they can. This is the place for second chances.

From my perspective, TROSA, which stands for Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, is a place to learn how to live life on life’s terms. You get up in the morning, you prepare for work, you deal with different personalities and you learn how not to use. You learn to set goals and grab dreams again. Like you used to when you was a child and people would ask you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

When I was in prison in the DART [Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment] program, they was teaching me about the shame and the guilt and all the wrong doings I’ve done. So I wrote my mom a letter apologizing to her.  I told her that I love her and that I’m sorry. And I’m going to work my fingers to the bone, ‘till my last breath, to get my life in order. And I meant that, and I guess as time goes on she can see it, so it makes things a little bit easier, because she had been told so many times before and it never happened.

She calls me, I call her. When she brings my daughter over, she sits around with me. We laugh, we talk, we even reminiscence about some of the things I used to do as a kid. You know, we’re coming together like we used to be when I was real small. I remember a close bond with my mother then. But it seems like somewhere along the way I lost it. Because I was rebellious and curious. I was a “curiosity killed a cat”! But today I sacrifice. If there is something she doesn’t want me to do, I don’t do it. Just to hold on to that bond.

I love going around telling my story! I really do. We used to have guest speakers come to the jail when I was there. And some of them had been there doing time, and they come back and tell their story. And I remember what I felt. I’d say, “Man, look, they’re doing it!  I can do that! I can do that!” They come back and they look so good and they sound so good!”

So that’s what I’m going to do. So maybe somebody else will say, “Maybe I can do it, if she did it!”


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