Amory father getting a second chance with his children and in life after more than 20 years of drug abuse and addiction
KILMICHAEL, Miss. (WCBI) – Eric Crisp was born into a life of addiction and drug abuse. “The earliest memory I have was, my parents were crackheads and they sold the front door off of our house for crack,” Crisp says. Growing up in Amory, Crisp says he sold his first bag of marijuana when he was 8 years old. He started using meth when he was 12 and tried cocaine for the first time at 14. Age 13 was the first time he smoked meth with his father. “Me and him started smoking meth together,” Crisp says. “And then when I was about 17 or 18, me and my dad started cooking dope together.” A life of using and selling drugs is how he found himself facing 30 years in prison for drug trafficking, possession with intent to distribute and grand larceny. In May of 2019, his son Alex and daughter Ali had to watch him be led away in chains.
“I was in a yellow jumpsuit and belly chains and shackles when (Department of Homeland Security) took them from me a little over two years ago,” Crisp remembers. “(My son) said ‘I want to be just like you daddy when I grow up.’ I just wanted to grab that little boy and shake him and be like, ‘No. You don’t know what you’re saying.'” That day, Crisp made himself a promise. “I don’t know how or when but I said ‘I’m getting my kids back,'” he said. Even if it meant spending the next several decades behind bars. “I was laying there in my rack in Monroe County Jail and I told Jesus, I said, ‘If this 30 mandatory years is what you have in your will for me to go do,’ I said, ‘I’ll do it.'” But the next day, Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook told him he was going to a rehabilitation program as part of his bond. Which is how Crisp came to God’s House of Hope in Kilmichael. “He came straight from the Monroe County Jail and all he had was the clothes on his back and a milk crate full of papers from the jail,” says assistant executive director Rebekah Johnson. Crisp says his first two weeks at the House of Hope were not easy. “I went to the office and I told the men’s overseer, ‘Call the jail. Tell them to come get me. It’d be easier for me to go do these 30 mandatory years than have to sit here and do what I’m doing here,'” he said with a laugh. Crisp says three things got him through the 6 to 8-month recovery program: his faith, his son Alex and his daughter Ali. “Every time I want to get high, I think, ‘What about (my son)? He looks up to me. What about him going out there and getting high,'” Crisp says. “I don’t want that for him. I want better for him and I want better for (my daughter).” On July 13th, 2021, Crisp fulfilled his promise, regaining custody of his children 800 days after they entered foster care. “When my kids got to come back here with me, that was the best day of my life,” he says. Alex and Ali have since moved into the House of Hope with their father, with rooms just down the hall from his. Crisp says the center is his new home and he is working as a counselor and mentor to those who have made some of the same mistakes that he has. “I don’t want them to say, ‘My dad is a gangbanging junkie in prison,'” Crisp says. “At least now they can be proud to say, ‘He’s a counselor at God’s House of Hope, leading people to Jesus.'” While he says he is still learning to be the father his children deserve, Crisp says he is just thankful to break, what he calls, his family’s generational curse. “From my pawpaw, to my daddy to me, I’m not trying, I AM breaking that curse,” he says. “That way, it ain’t on (Alex) or on (Ali).” While Crisp says the House of Hope is where he wants to stay, he still faces those drug charges. However, Sheriff Crook says the farther and farther Crisp goes down his road to recovery, the less prison time he could potentially face.
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