I was abandoned by my mother, and my father was killed when I was one. My grandparents raised me. My problems started early; I was expelled in the 4th grade, a pattern that continued. In high school, I started using marijuana and harder drugs. I was in and out of juvenile centers and jails for years.
I hung out with the wrong crowd, was fired from every job and had no concern for my family. I was a career criminal. At 22, I met a meth cook who taught me everything he knew. We traveled together until we had a falling out over a large amount of methamphetamine. I was shot at from a balcony. The bullet missed my head and hit my shoe. I escaped with my life but went on with my lifestyle.
At 25, I was sent to a boot camp for ten months. When I got out, I went back to my lifestyle. I was arrested again. There was no shortcut this time. I was given a 30 year sentence, and was looking at years.
When I got out of prison, I didn’t want to go back to my old life. My family got me enrolled at Goodwill Industries of Michiana. My first day on the job, I put together boxes. The next day, my boss informed me that I set a record for the most done. I quickly gained the respect of my supervisors. I asked for a more challenging job and was put in the computer department. In a short amount of time I reorganized the area, and they were impressed.
After a couple of months of being in the program, I applied for a drive-thru job in the Niles store. I was denied at first, but kept inquiring, and was eventually hired. At first it was difficult. My boss was hard on me, but it was my fault. Finally, I learned to control my mouth. My boss, “the tyrant,” actually became one of my closest friends.
Then, the industrial services coordinator position became available. After what I think was the only good interview I have ever done, I was given the job. My ideas and opinions are respected, and I work for my heroes! I could not be happier at the progress I have made with my life in the two years I have been out of prison.
I have now been sober for seven years. When I was released from parole, my parole officer shook my hand and told me I did a great job. I have made amends with my family, and we are close. I am proof that you can rebuild a severely damaged life.
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