Blurrdvision: Rapping Down The Road To Recovery
Written by Rob Smittix on April 4, 2019
“You may have seen him walking around Downtown Albany or perhaps even Troy. He’s the guy wearing headphones, singing aloud with a smile and a dance in his step. I met him riding the 522 CDTA express on my way to work last summer. It was a crowded morning bus and I see this guy writing in a notebook wearing earbuds and dancing in his seat like no one was watching. I could tell he was writing lyrics and my curiosity couldn’t help but ask “can I listen?”
He reached over, handed me an earbud to hold to my ear and proceeded to rhyme to the beat. We made our introductions and became friends almost immediately. Matthew Raymond is his name but he goes by the alias Blurrdvision, that’s his rap name.
These days the majority of popular Hip-Hop music does nothing for me. I don’t care to hear about the money you have, the drugs you are proud of doing or the women you disrespect. Don’t get me wrong there are many talented and enjoyable rappers still putting out great music all of the time but usually they are not found in the mainstream. Matt’s music seems to be the exception, rather than the rule. Sure his music speaks of violence and drugs but he is not glorifying the lifestyle; he is telling his story about how his childhood experiences, abuse, relationships and loss were triggers leading him down the dark path to drug addiction.
Matt dabbled in substances from inhalants to hallucinogens but his drugs of choice were opioid-based. When using heroin he did not use needles, he would snort it in the same manner that people do cocaine. The reason I point out his method of use is because sniffing heroin is not a safer way to consume the drug. I personally have nothing to compare it to but from what I understand, when someone does dope through a needle the sensation of being high comes on much faster. When inhaling the drug it takes longer to feel the effects thus resulting in the deadly mistake of taking more which creates a much higher risk of over-dosing. This is exactly what happened to Matt.
“My first near-fatal overdose. I was found after 12 hours, unconscious on my mother’s bathroom floor. My body had completely shut down, all the blood pooled to one side, causing Multiple Compartment Syndrome. When the paramedics arrived I was lifeless and needed to be paddle shocked three times, just to get my heart going enough to make it to Albany Med. I fell into a coma for six days, kept on life support with the debate of amputating my arm and leg. They cut and cleaned all of the dead tissue and flesh from my arm and leg. These things called “wound vacs” were hooked up to me to drain the fluid from my swollen arm and leg. My last rights were given and my family was called to the hospital. I was very septic, contracted MRSA and came down with pneumonia. Finally, I awoke from my coma. Spending a total of seven weeks in the hospital and taking nearly a year to walk again was a life-changing experience. I had multiple skin grafts, surgeries and now suffer from chronic nerve damage, but I am alive.” Matt got clean after this but even after surviving this trama he still relapsed a few years later. Matt says “I overdosed and nearly died six more times.”
The pivotal moment for Matt was when he had to explain to his son that he got into trouble due to a drug-related arrest. Matt told his son that he had to go away for a while and his boy’s response was “It’s okay Daddy, I forgive you and I still love you.” These words along with the disappointed look on his child’s face, hurt more than any wound that Matt has on his body, but in a sense it was exactly what he needed to hear and see. He immediately checked himself into rehab, this time he not only wanted it he was ready.
A Behavioral therapist from an Intensive outpatient program helped Matt step back and take a really hard look in the mirror, exposing Matt to himself. Matt lived for a few months in community residence and graduated to a supportive living facility. Everything was getting on track but because of a situation Matt needed a place to stay for a few weeks.
When you say it out loud it sounds like a terrible idea but I let a recovering drug addict who I met on the bus a few months ago stay at my house with my family; I even gave him a key. Why did I do this? Because I have faith in Matt and I believe in the path that he is on. Matt has proven himself to us and we are happy to have him in our lives.
Matt now attends college classes focusing on a career where he can help prevent others from making the same mistakes that he has. He also volunteers for Friends of Recovery and has been given the title of Area Coordinator for Rensselaer County /Youth Voices Matter. A lot can happen in a year and Matt wears his recovery bracelets with pride. Most importantly he is making progress with getting his children back into his life. A message from Matt to those who are struggling with addiction, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, what you’ve been through, or how far you fall. Life is too precious and short to waste. Anyone can recover.”
On May 26th, Matt will officially be clean and sober for a year. This story is to be continued..