ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A recovery specialist in Atlantic City is pulling from his own story to help people struggling with addiction.
For Vinnie Kirkland, the crossroads of his life are at Atlantic and Ohio avenues.
"I was standing on that corner with a shopping bag with all of my belongings in it and didn't know where to go. (I) didn't know what I was gonna do," said Kirkland, who works at AtlantiCare.
Kirkland was once homeless and later incarcerated. Now, he's a helper who gets people into recovery.
"This is a person that is just lost. I was like that. People looked at me like that. So always remember, no one is hopeless," he said.
Kirkland made a change in his life 22 years ago when he became a free man.
"I would change. I would do better. I would want to help people," he said.
Today Kirkland is part of the Opiate Overdose Recovery Program at AtlantiCare, where he goes into the emergency room and offers services to people who have overdosed.
"For an individual to buy a bag of heroin knowing this could be their last bag, it's very sad," he said.
Apart from that, most of his time is spent in the community, working with programs like the Hope One Bus, which offers resources and help to people experiencing homelessness.
"They don't think it's possible to go from being homeless to driving a car, having your own apartment, wearing nice clothes and bathing. I'm telling them these are the things that can be possible as long as you just let me help you," he said.
While Kirkland was released from prison more than 20 years ago, he still likes to come back to his corner because now he sees it from a different view. It's a place where he can spread hope.
"When I stand on the corner, a little tear once in a while comes down because it's just a reminder to keep doing the work that I do," he said.