new icn messageflickr-free-ic3d pan white

Andre and Essence: Mott Haven Bronx

Andre had just gotten Essence's Easter photo taken and was walking home when I met them. Andre, 40, is a former addict who has been in recovery for 12 years. He started using drugs at age 12, and was soon smoking and dealing crack. He was sent to jail twice and spent almost 7 years incarcerated. "I lost communication with my kids, burned a lot of bridges, and almost lost my wife of 22 years."

 

He went into detox four times, but it his wife and three kids who finally gave him cause to make it stick. "My kids didn't ask to come here. For me to make them and not take care of them isn't a good thing. You have a choice. Drugs don't jump up in your body. You either pick it up or walk away. I have walked away."

 

When I asked him how he wanted to be described he said, "I am loving and sincere. I never forget my struggles because that's where I come from" Of her father, Essence, age 3, said, "He makes me laugh, always tickling me!"

 

More Bronx photos here: Bronx

44,206 views
74 faves
23 comments
Taken on April 8, 2012