AGE:  20


STATUS:  Active user

TJ Ferris is a young man with a track record of accomplishment and disaster.

Until the age of 10, he was mentally and physically abused. His mother divorced and remarried; TJ and his stepfather were close.  Starting at age 12, he began rebuilding a 12-bedroom Victorian owned by his stepfather.  At 14 he dropped out of high school to work full time. Starting with stripping walls and finishing by doing most of the carpentry, cabinetry, and finish work himself, he learned to be a contractor, and by age 18 he was supervising crews for “Extreme Makeover,” a reality-TV show. In addition, he’s good with electronics and coding. He is generally self-educated.

His addiction started with having seriously deformed legs – inoperable.  Percocet stopped working, and at 17 his prescriptions were cut off.  A friend introduced him to heroin, and after 7 months he quit cold turkey, in November 2015. He stayed clean for 2 years. Unfortunately, in 2016 his stepfather, who had been drinking 2 liters of vodka a day, stopped cold turkey on his own and died within a week.  When this happened, TJ and his mother lost a $3 million estate to “greedy step-siblings” who contested the will and won. When the estate was stolen from him, TJ wound up homeless.  He got carpentry work to support his mom and returned to pain pills. When Percocet started costing $30 to $50 a pill, he moved to heroin. The drugs made him mean, so he lost his girlfriend in October 2017.

His goals are to get clean and make enough money – without causing additional decay of his legs and the pain that goes with it – to make his mother secure and comfortable. He has a connection that may make that possible – if he gets clean and stays that way.


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