My name is Vinnie, and I am a second-generation immigrant who grew up in Little Italy. In case you’ve never heard of it, Little Italy is a neighborhood in Lower Manhattan in New York City. It used to be known for its population of Italian immigrants and Italian-Americans. It had tons of Italian restaurants and grocery stores. It was the go-to spot for Italians new to America, or for those with Italian ancestry who wanted to feel in touch with their roots. It’s not like that anymore today, with only a few Italian spots still open, but it’s still called Little Italy.
I wanted to create this blog to tell you about my experience with drug abuse as a second-generation immigrant.
A part of me believes that if I’d grown up in Italy like my parents, I wouldn’t have turned out this way. I’m okay now, and probably doing better than I might have without going through the struggles of drug addiction. But I can’t help and sometimes wonder if I would have had the same temptations growing up in Italy.
Drug abuse is a massive problem in the United States. You don’t hear about the opioid crisis in the news for no reason. If you had told me when I was a bambino that one day I would be addicted to heroin and other drugs, I would have never believed it. They say addiction is a combination of nurture and nature. I take responsibility for my actions and choices, but I do think where I grew up helped lead me into the world of drug abuse.
When I was a teenager, I was addicted to heroin and other drugs. I dropped out of school and at my lowest point lived on the streets. Now I am clean and sober and own one of the few remaining Italian restaurants in Little Italy, and volunteer at schools in my neighborhood to speak out about drug addiction. I even have an annual event where I donate all the proceeds of the day to the facility where I got sober.
Keep reading my blog to hear my story of addiction as a second-generation immigrant and how I recovered.