“Drinking was my downfall, my gateway drug to crime. I was never afraid of going to jail because I was always drinking, consequences meant nothing because I wasn’t sober. One of my more serious incidents was when I was told that I got so drunk, I shot a gun in a house – no one was hurt, but I woke up in jail.
At first, I would call people once a week, then once every few weeks, then once a month. Eventually, I stopped calling people, I didn’t want to know they were having fun. Every time I got out and went back in, I went back for longer. One day I thought to myself, ‘a bad day outside is better than a good day inside’ and I came to the realization that I have a bigger purpose in life than to fill a jail cell. While incarcerated, I would remind myself of that lesson, ‘I am more than an inmate.’ The seed was planted. I began to view myself and my life in a different light. I met a girl who had me thinking about the future – something I never considered before. Upon release, I deleted Facebook and didn’t talk to anyone, other than her and my sister. I didn’t want any bad outside influences interfering with my goals. The way I saw it, a $3 beer was the cost of my freedom, so I quit drinking. When I quit drinking, I was reborn. I left behind all the childish stuff a boy holds onto – the drinking, the partying and the consequences that come with that garbage.
I started working for a company that knew my history. I have a good work ethic and had to prove myself to them so I took every shift I could. I became an Apprentice Glazier and got my Red Seal certification. I went from making the 6 O’Clock News to making $36 an hour within a year and a half, and I just got another raise to $38! I hit the gym at 4:40 a.m. like it’s a job, then I’m off to work, almost daily.
I recently bought a house with the girl who changed my life, but my most recent purchase might be my favourite – a Harley Davidson paid for in cash that I earned at my job. I still experience setbacks because of my past. My bank denied my mortgage because of my criminal record and I had to get it through a credit union.
I earned my current life because I quit drinking and associating with people who wouldn’t grow up – and didn’t want me to grow up. My goals now are hobby-related. I hope to do bodywork restoration in the future but, for now, I ride my Harley or get tattoos – it’s cheaper and less risky than my previous life style. Everybody wanted me to change but I wasn’t ready — you need to want the change. I think I always wanted a better life, but I wasn’t ready to earn it until I lost everything I thought I needed.”