I started drinking alcohol when I was around 13: I stole some bottles of wine from my parents and got drunk with a friend. Then around that time, and later when I was 14 – 18, we would ride our bikes, then later drive to a near-by convenience stores and steal various forms tobacco, alcohol, and perhaps a few other odds and ends shop-lifted. In addition, I would just buy alcohol underage and then barely of age, and would drive drunk and/or high. Around the age of 15-16 I was getting into the medicine cabinet of my parents (and others), find and take-steal Seconal, Percodan, Valium, Ativan, Forte, etc., all sorts of Rx pills, and of course drive high. I had been pulled over while impaired, 16 – 19, and never had any real entanglements with law enforcement, well, other than being hauled in with hundreds of others for public intoxication at a public concert when 19. By the time I was 18, almost graduated from High School, I started to smoke pot. All that, I never felt bad about anything I was doing, as all my friends were doing this too so it seemed normal, and was what we were supposed to do, so I thought. Also towards the end of that time frame, 19, I had stolen money from a girlfriend’s parents. Out of all the terrible, stupid, and irresponsible things that I had done up to that point, namely stealing or illegally acquiring tobacco, alcohol, pills and some pot, drunk driving, breaking into places to have a make-shift party, this one really has bothered me, now for a lifetime. It seemingly wasn’t much, maybe a total of $100 – $200 tops; I pilfered $20 here and there over time, but it was theft of money none the less, and from fine, good, warm, loving and outstanding people who did not deserve my depravity as a thief. Later, as I went off to college, I continued the party of consumption of alcohol and drugs and make a mess of my education. Before I graduated from the college, I was hired into a real job, though low paying, it was an entry level ‘good’ job. I finished school somewhat. I had money to buy alcohol regularly, and did, I was 21. From age 21 – 30, I have held a small number of good jobs, job hopped very little, and increased my wealth some, and consumption of alcohol, and occasional pill use, pot smoking, and of course quite a lot of drunk driving. I thought I controlled it all exceedingly well most the time. I never really stole anything anymore, namely that money, as stealing ‘that’ money really had a bad effect on me, and ever since I’ve wished I had never done such a thing. There is something about stealing alcohol or tobacco, but money, that’s different a whole other ball game. At around 28, I married, and had a step-son, was married for 16 years, and watched the step-son do much of all the things I did wrong and am regretful for as well. Divorced now over 10 years. Alcohol and drugs playing a negative role in my marriage, however, I had married a narcissist, liar, thief, financial fraud, and cheater, I got my own handed back to me. I think people refer to this as Karma. Now I no longer drink, nor use drugs, as my previous life with them only served to destroy my mental and physical health, as well as not one good thing came to me while plastered, but plenty of bad news did. I have had gone back to school, earned my degree, and changed jobs, do what I love, get paid well, and have an awesome fulfilling life. As I reflect upon where I am today, and what I have achieved, along with what all I’ve been through, I can’t address all the positive things only, without addressing those negative things as they helped shaped my journey too, plus not getting caught for or while performing many acts of horrendous bad decision making. None of it would have been possible if the family I stole money from had called the police, and/or made some sort of an issue of it. Or if I had I gotten in bigger trouble if the police who let me go when pulled over for drunk driving in my teens and early 20’s. The fact is, I’m just plain lucky that I was never caught, never caught stealing, driving drunk, never caught buying, selling or taking drugs, or just simply never caught doing something incredibly dumb. I most certainly have a boat-load of deep regrets that I carry around like an anchor. I would like to think that I never got caught because I’m so slick, smarter than the average bear. Perhaps because I’m white, privileged, of a wealthy family, or have some special power, or dirty pictures of the towns’ mayor. None of that is the case. This is, in my opinion, a typical story in the life of an American male. If I can in-part anything, do not steal money. For me to rectify this past grievance, the theft of money, I had sent expensive flowers to the family upon the death of a family member. I was my way of paying it back, the illegal debt I one had created. I have dug deep into my past as to why did I do these things, starting off with drugs and alcohol as a young kid. Why I stole money in my late teens. Why a life of drugs and alcohol that did nothing positive but plenty of negative to my physical and mental health. I grew up with something that is very hard to explain to others, but suffice to say, it was a parent. A parent that has deep serious mental issues, over the top strange and weird, at least three different personality disorders that can be identified. Someone so repellent that when others see that person coming, they do a 180 on one heal, and run, not walk in the other direction. It is this that can have a profound negative impact on a child. A child that can turn to drugs, alcohol, even make such terrible decisions as to steal, steal money, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, shoplift, shoplift things that don’t need, drive drunk, and do other great acts of stupidity that I still deeply regret. These drugs and alcohol bought and stolen, were used to self-medicate the pain that parent brought to me. If I was ever caught, police and lawyers would not being using such a defense as the guy’s mother was a “Crazy Bitch” and really crappy. It would be just stick it to him, they’re doing their job, and the rule book says dispense this-and-that for so-and-so a crime. Sadly, this is the case behind why many have done much of what I have in their past, a terrible parent, and it’s near impossible for many to come to grips with that reality or tell their story. I own every mistake, every bad decision, and every single error of bad judgement I have ever committed since I have able to form and recall what people refer to as memory. With a wide assortment of tools available to you today, mend your errant ways. I did. So must you. It will set you free. Your life will change for the better in every detail that you have ever known. Do not carry the wreath of shame around your neck that was created by a parent, you are your own person, with your own thoughts and opinions, who matters and has impact. Think thrice before you steal anything, or consume drugs and/or alcohol, and ask yourself if you’re self-medicating.