Manny Mendez received his school of hard knocks diploma in some of the hardest correctional institutes since he was a youth. After gaining his physical freedom he began a long journey to free his mind from the prison of addiction. Throughout all of this, his comfort came in the form of creating art. His work has been featured in many exhibits and recovery centers throughout the nation. Featured in several films through his national organization FoReel, Manny is a true inspiration. While everybody’s journey is different, I am blessed to have been able to adjust mine and turn it into a purpose, from seeing the depths of hell, having spent over 15 years in institutions and prisons to overcoming addiction. Today I am a witness that Recovery and God were my solution, along with art! But it wasn’t about painting a pretty picture, I needed to design a new LIFE and that’s the MIRACLE I DID! Manny Mendez is a self-taught visual artist, who learned he had this gift while in prison at a young age, because of an addiction problem. Today he has 7 yrs clean, and sober, he is the CEO of an organization FoReel Recovery, and his creativity has allowed him to write poetry. Expressing his art, he’s also produced 6 inspirational documentaries and continues to help others while working in the treatment field wearing many hats, but his favorite is helping others find their purpose along with Recovery. I was born in Cuba and migrated to the USA in 1980 at 9 yrs old. I adapted well for the first few years, until I hit my teens, then a shift took place for the worst, and I became a troubled youth. I found myself in juvenile programs and detention center a lot, it was there that I got close to art, just drawing! I grew up and continued on a path of self-destruction. Sentenced to prison at the age of 17 due to my addiction, I once again sought Art and we became best friends. Released at 28 yrs old with the greatest of intentions not to go down that path again, I did! For the next 12 years addiction controlled my life, in and out of rehabs, detoxes, and even homeless shelters. On January 16, 2012 I had a conversation with myself and Art somehow got involved, we have been best friends ever since. My creativity grew and I’ve explored many other forms of art including film and writing. I produced 6 documentaries on recovery and addiction and I’m now a published author. Artist Statement Art has been the only thing that has been able to allow me to soul search, and while not always finding the answers I was looking for, it did give me some peace, an instrumental component for a person like me who could never achieve it. Painting consecutively now for 7 years and 4 months, I have also healed, and continue to use art as my 1st form of self-expression when trying to convey a message to the world. At times it’s raising awareness against Substance Use Disorder or wanting to empower the youth. It was as a youth that I found this gift that later helped me through the loss of 11 years of my life, and later became my PURPOSE. PART OF THE GOOD NEWS PODCAST NETWORK. AUDIO VERSIONS OF ALL OUR EPISODES: CONTACT US: The Addiction Podcast - Point of No Return 727-314-7080 #drugaddictionpodcast #alcoholaddiction #alternativetreatment #hopeforaddiction #helpforaddiction