“You wanna come back to my place and ‘smoke?,’ she asked. She was an attractive woman I had just met, and I wanted to be with her. I didn’t know what she was talking about. I figured she was referring to pot. I was 32 years old. I had smoked maybe three to five joints my entire life, did no other illegal drugs, and I was not a big drinker.
However, she wasn’t talking about pot; she was talking about crack cocaine. I still don’t know why I tried it, but I did.
Within 90 days, I lost everything but my life. I lost my career as an executive with the Jacksonville (FL) Chamber of Commerce, my car and my apartment. I now see how mental issues plus my hedonistic, promiscuous lifestyle led me to this point.
I struggled with addiction for a decade. I once got clean for 27 months. I established a new career with the Jacksonville Public Library. I married a woman who had moved to Florida from Des Moines, IA; we had a child. But I let my addiction catch up with me; I relapsed, committed a felony and went to prison. My wife and child moved to Des Moines.
After 51 months, the Florida Department of Corrections released me on May 25, 2014. They paid my way to Des Moines. I was determined to become part of my son’s life.
I arrived in Des Moines with nothing. Although I had worked in prison, I was a bit shaky, and Goodwill® helped me transition back to the working world.
I worked with several people at Goodwill of Central Iowa, including Counselor Laura Lentell, Culinary Coordinator Katelynn Hector, Janitorial Skills Trainer Kevin Kincaid, Workforce Strategist Kevin Lord and Skills Manager Michele Keenan. They gave me the confidence and wherewithal to find employment at a popular Des Moines restaurant called Django. I’ve been there nearly a year now, and have already been the employee of the quarter and promoted to hourly manager. And, most importantly, I have begun re-establishing a relationship with my son, Milo.
Goodwill showed me that my life wasn’t over. To quote the great author George Eliot, Goodwill reminded me that, “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”