Convict in Collision

I was born and raised in the South Bay. My parents divorced when I was six. I felt very confused and abandoned due to mom Featured Resident Paulworking three jobs and not being around a lot, and I became a problem teen. I was introduced to drugs and alcohol through river trips with my father and his new family. I never felt apart of life and sought friends that would accept me as I was, usually older kids that were getting high. As things got worse with my behaviors my parents sent me away to runaway facilities and other relatives that would accept me.

Eventually I learned to be homeless at sixteen while living with my father in a van in a bar parking lot. This was my example for many years. I ran as fast as I could from any conflict or responsibility. I could always get good jobs because I was a hard worker, but as soon as I got bored or frustrated, I would become the company’s worst nightmare; showing up late, not showing up at all, loaded on the job, and stealing anything and everything I could get my hands on. This went on for over thirty years.

In 2006, my father passed away due to his Alcoholism. In 2008, I was released from prison for the seventh time, and had nowhere to go, so I went to a treatment program. There I was introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous, but not given the tools I needed to live, so I went out and got loaded again.

In June of 2009, I went to Long Beach Court looking at my eighth prison term and the judge told me that it appeared to her that I was doing life in prison on the installment plan. She told me to take the prison time and when I got out I could continue living my destructive lifestyle, killing myself slowly. I asked her for Prop 36 (treatment) and she told me she didn’t think I would complete it and if I came back to her court with one unfavorable report she would give me ten years. The next day I went to the parole office to check in, and my parole officer put hand cuffs on me and said, “Give me one good reason to take those off.” I told him, “I want to go back into treatment.” He took off the cuffs and said, “Right answer.” He then gave me the phone number to the Beacon House. With ten years hanging over my head, my plan was to do six months, get parole and probation off my back and go back to doing what I do.

Sticking around for those six months, I saw men in the program getting their lives back, their children and families back, and generally enjoying life, which gave me hope. I began to participate in groups; I got a sponsor and was taken through the 12 steps, and learned the value of being of service to others. Beacon House gave me the time I needed to recover from my addiction, and taught me how to live responsibly.

While living at the house, I became a college graduate after not being in school for thirty years and got off parole for the first time in 20 years. I am currently working for Superior Electrical Advertising and had the blessing of doing most of the signs for Disneyland celebrating their sixtieth anniversary. I am blessed with a Higher Power that guides me down the path of life. I want to thank staff at the Beacon House for being patient with me and guiding me to a life beyond my wildest dreams.

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