Baltimore is an incredible city filled with beautiful architecture and deep cultural history. However, a community of deprivation and adversity lies just a few miles outside of the city’s main attractions. And that's where I grew up. Once labeled the “Heroin Capital of America,” Baltimore has seen better days.
Nonetheless, it's a city of strength and resilience — two traits I’ve had to rely on over the past few years since being diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and surviving a two-year addiction to anxiety meds and an accidental overdose.
This city has taught me things that not only saved my life but ultimately helped me redefine it. Here’s a list of five of the most important lessons I learned growing up there:
1. "Separate the sin from the sinner."
Forgiveness is the gateway to a lifetime of happiness and understanding. Right before my first son was born, I made the conscious decision to finally forgive my father for not being in my life for more than 15 years. That forgiveness freed me from years of pain and resentment, and allowed me to become a better father.
I’ve learned that a person’s wrongdoing is not necessarily a reflection of the person themselves, but merely an act of human imperfection. By holding a grudge against anyone, you're essentially holding yourself hostage from everyone.