I was born into poverty. I lived on a reservation with my adopted siblings, a pocket full of food stamps, a dad under constant stress, and a mom addicted to opiates. One uncle died of cirrhosis, another killed himself after killing someone else.
I traded an Xbox for cocaine and Christmas presents for meth.
I drank a liter of Capitan Morgan and a 12 pack of Bud Light. A doctor later told me that the absorption should have shut down organs.
I was 16.
One night I got into an argument with a guy. I grabbed my gun from the car—I’d been partridge hunting earlier that day. I fired a shot. The bullet went up and the bullet went down. Thankfully, it only hit the earth.
I was black out drunk and only later found out what I did. That doesn’t change what I did—but I’m not that kind of person.
After some time I looked at myself. I looked to the left and to the right. We were all dying. I decided I wanted to do something about it.
I went to school. I got my bachelor’s. I kept going to school. I’m now helping guys in recovery.
If all you saw was my criminal record, you’d miss my resilience, determination, and willpower.
You’d miss that I love fishing and hunting mushrooms.
You’d miss that I can tell you what’s wrong with your car just by driving it around the block.
You’d miss that my fiancée is in law enforcement.
And that together we can peaches.
That we have a rescue pup, a home filled with books, and laughter—especially hers—booming down the hallway.
But more than that, you’d miss that you and I are probably a lot more alike than we are different.