BW: Do you have a trail name?
Tennis: Yeah, a lady named Gold Digger gave me the name of Tennis, but I think I'm gonna call myself Tennis the Fool. She called me Tennis because she said I had balls.
BW: Ha. Why did she say that?
Tennis: Because I left from Cincinnati with nothing but a book bag, ramen noodles and a couple of sweatshirts. I put the fool part in there because I think she wanted to call me a fool but didn't have the heart to. She was the one who gave me this pack.
I've been through it all. I shot heroin for 15 years. My fiance died of a heroin overdose a month after my dad died. My mom was dying at the same time. It was like watching the whole center of my universe just slip away.
I finally checked myself into a place called CAT House. It's a great thing. It only costs $20 to get in. I stayed there for a month and detoxed. Then I went to an AA based support group. It's a really good thing but it was an indoctrination, know what I mean? It was like an AA bootcamp. Maybe some people need that, but I'm completely against the idea, so I left on Labor Day and started walking from Ohio to Georgia. Man, I've met nothing but good people. I got this whole bag full of gear from angels that have blessed me.
BW: Are you concerned about going back to using?
Tennis: Not really. I was for a while, but now, being out here, it's the least of my concerns. It's spiritual out here, know what I mean? In the AA book it talks about us having a [spiritual awakening]. There will come a point when the obsession [to use] will be lifted. I feel like that's what happened to me.
But I know there's no escaping it. There hasn't been a road that I've walked down that I didn't see a syringe on the ground.
BW: You ever get lonely out here?
Tennis: Kind of, but you'd be surprised. I meet people every day on the trail. They call it a magical trail. It's the people on the trail that make it so magical. It's been an experience of a lifetime. Even if I never get to do the whole things I at least got to do this part. I'll sleep good tonight.