NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) – One man says he knows all too well the struggles facing many in our city. He knows it because he’s lived it for years. It hasn’t been long since he faced his darkest days. His mission is to give back as much as possible.
“It’s kind of surreal to just be back,” Justin Biggs said as he walked along a highway overpass. “I never thought I would have to come back. I slept under the bridge with about 10 people every night. Mental health does not discriminate. Addiction does not discriminate. It could be you, your daughter, your son. It could be anyone.”
Justin was only 16 when the course of his life first changed.
“I went to my mother’s medicine cabinet to get Lortab,” he said. “I remember taking two and it was the best thing I’ve ever felt in my life. I just felt numb and I loved it. It made me feel like I wanted to feel like this every day for the rest of my life. That’s what I ended up doing.
From there, his addiction grew, resulting in him missing rehab, losing opportunities with family, and eventually living in campgrounds.
“Keeps the wind off you because you’re stuck in a hole downstairs,” Justin said, pushing back some brushes and looking out over a small patch of woods by the freeway. “At first I stayed here to get away from everyone else and to feel safe. Finally, I take meth and heroin with IV. I would take meth. I couldn’t sleep so I had to take the fentanyl shot to calm down and go to sleep. I hit my absolute rock bottom. Getting this low I was like, “Man, I gotta do something.” I started chasing sober life with the intensity I used to chase meth and fentanyl every day.”
After living without a home for around nine years, Justin’s life changed course for the second time. He now lives in a transitional home and works a good job. Justin believes that when you’ve been through what he’s been through, you pass it on to others.
“The most important thing people need is love,” he said. “This is someone’s mother, father, son, brother.”
Justin has just started collecting clothes, gloves, essentials and more from everyone who donates. At the end of October he will return to the places where he lived to distribute these things. He calls his efforts Hoodies for Homeless.
“If I hadn’t been through the things I’ve been through, I wouldn’t be so motivated to go back and help people who are going through what I’ve been through,” Justin said. “It caused a lot of pain, but I think it will end well.”
Justin credits the turning point in his life largely to the mentorship of Pastor Robbie Gallaty of Long Hollow Baptist Church
If you would like to donate to Justin’s cause, you can reach him at [email protected]