It was five days after I graduated from college, actually, that I celebrated my 10th year anniversary of being drug-free. Aside from that, my story had just been told in front of more than 13,000 people at Fifth Third Arena at the University of Cincinnati (UC). And by none other than the President of the University himself- the same man who had personally selected me to receive the university’s highest award after receiving recommendations from top leadership: Dr. Santa Ono. It was an overwhelming moment when he asked me to stand up on stage and be recognized by the crowd. Something unrehearsed and powerful. I could hardly focus, let alone think of an appropriate action other than waving at the crowd then applauding me.
I later felt like I had maybe been a bit awkward in my wave, concerned a more graceful one would have merited a standing ovation, but I was caught off guard and terrified. It was the largest amount of people that had ever acknowledged my existence in person. What would come to follow that moment would reach even more people. I was front page news in my hometown, the entirety of the front page, and UC Magazine wrote a feature story about me as well. I had won the award at UC based on a number of other factors alone, but what took everyone by surprise was when I announced, tearfully, at the acceptance dinner that I had actually moved to Cincinnati to escape heroin addiction. There’s no way of forgetting the faces of the people I had just dropped a bomb on in the fancy establishment where we’d all just finished our filet mignon- someone who really just wasn’t supposed to be there, was.
Please take a moment to read the UC Magazine feature story.
There’s still much, much more to my story than most anyone knows. Tales of hardship after relocating to Cincinnati from my small town in western Pennsylvania, where I had moved from in 2004 to a small apartment in what was then one of the county’s most dangerous neighborhoods, a place called Over-the-Rhine. Stories that will continue to shock readers with the uniqueness of my story and the struggle I went through to even get out of poverty and back to college, and even more crazily, how I did it. Such will be part of a series of blog posts in the future. And I hope you enjoy them.
The Murphy Method