Stories of HopeLife-changing stories of hope, healing and wholeness
I was 10 years old when I first started using drugs. I was the youngest of six kids, so I used to ask my older brothers and sisters to get me high. I continued to use for the next 21 years. At 31 years old, my ex-wife threatened to take away my two little girls from me if I did not stop using. My oldest daughter had only seen me drink once when she was four years old and the youngest one had never seen me. So I stopped. I did not stop drinking because I wanted to, I stopped drinking because I did not want to lose my children. I knew a lot of people who chose alcohol over their family and never got to see their children again, and I am glad I made the right decision. From there on, I was involved in the 12-step program and other related commitments for many years. My ex-wife saved my life, she at least started the ball rolling.
Once I put down the drinks and the drugs, my business took off and I made a lot of money. But in the process I forgot that the principles and traditions of the 12-step program were the foundation of my success. I had let all that slip away. With that money, I bought apartments and houses, I even had my own jet. For about six years or so, I did the right thing and everything was great. Then things started to become unaffordable, I really did not want to change my lifestyle. This is when I started doing things that were against the 12-step program. I started borrowing money that I could not pay back against properties I owned. In 2006 everything crashed, and I was looking at 40 years in prison. I was not bankrupt at this point, so in my sick mind I really thought I was going to borrow myself out of it. That is how far away I was from the 12-step program! I kept trying to climb out of the hole but I could not. When my lawyer came to show me my restitution amount, I signed and agreed for a 10 year prison sentence, which was a lot less than I thought it would be.
When I lost all my money, my ex-wife and I split. I asked my lawyer to postpone my prison date because I had to take care of my two daughters. Once they were in college and high school I went to prison in 2010. When I got there, I was very fortunate because my sentence was reduced to five years. When I started doing my time, they took off another three years. So I ended up only doing nine months and eight days of the 10 year sentence. Once I got out, I started working toward my sobriety again.
I got involved with the Ignatian Spirituality Project while I was on parole. My spiritual mentor advised me to go on an ISP retreat and share my story. So I went on the retreat and loved it, I was happy to help others through my story. I also became great friends with the 12 guys that attended, we all shared numbers. Now I send out daily messages to them, I chat and advise them through any of their troubles.
Overall, ISP is fantastic. It honestly helps me stay sober because I get to help other people. ISP also keeps me closer to my spiritual mentor and God. In the beginning of my sobriety, up to seven years, I was so close to God. It was through the daily practice of the 12-steps and it’s traditions that I was able have this close relationship. Right now, I am trying to get it back because I do not have it. Being close to God was a powerful feeling, I was untouchable and felt no fear. I sometimes let myself get in the way of making process with God, but I continue to fight by helping others. It is easy to move or walk away, but I know he will always be by my side. My goal is to continue helping other people through ISP and whoever God puts in my path.