CHANCES: CHAPTER ONE
As I stop and think about that time in my life now, I look back with a faint smile. But back then, it wasn't a laughing matter. When we go through life, we have choices. There are a hundred different routes we can take, but only a handful lead us in the right direction. When I came to my crossroad, I didn't know which path to take. Many of us never do. I was only 18 years old when my life was flipped upside down. I was on my own, by myself, with no shelter to call my own. I would end up in situations that I would never dream of being in. I share this story to warn others that are making the same mistakes. This book is not suitable to readers under the age of 18. Please keep that in mind.
It was May 28th of 2001 and I had just graduated from high school. As most kids do, I thought I knew the world. I did good in school but I never gave college a second thought. I thought I didn't need it. I knew I would find my own way one way or the other. Needless to say I was 100% wrong. I had all the opportunity in the world at my hands but I chose a different route. It would lead me to the gates of Hell with no way out.
After graduation, I begin working at a coal sampling facility where my old man was working. He got me the job and I took it. I had a few thousand dollars left from a settlement check I received back in March. I ran through most of the money like it was nothing. I was shopping everyday and I began to experiementwith pills. They made me feel like Superman. I was on top of the world. I had it all. When I woke up, I did whatever I wanted to do and it spoiled me at an early age. It would become my worse quality and my best, the love of money that is.
By October, I was broke. My habits were expensive. In terms you can understand, I had to have $200 a day to get through the day. I was becoming an addict, a person I never thought I would be in a million years. After taking the pills for months now, I began to notice that I would feel sick when I didn't have them. Now, I needed them just to live without sickness. My addiction became a heavy blanket that followed me like my shadow. A few friends interduced me to Oxycontin and I fell in love. It made me feel like I was floating, like I could walk on water. Once again, I was on top of the world.
I went from pain pills to oxycontin, both are similar. My logic was I was spending $100 a day on pain pills and I only needed one oxy, which cost me $40. I would be taking less pills and saving $60 a day. I would make the switch because it made sense. I was running low on dough. Even when I was addicted, I still conducted business matters. As long as I had one in my hand, I would feel great. Thinking back, I hated this person. I hurt many people. I hurt myself. I was on my way to big things, big deals.
I remember October 14th because I was down to my last $40 dollars and a friend asked me to go play the poker machines. I told him I was broke. He told me he would give me $5 to play with. I said sure I will go. Johnny and Joey went with me and we went to the local quick stop. I had never played these machines before, but I fell in love with them. I put my $5 in and I won $10. I was happy. That was my cigarette and gas money for tomorrow. I don't know why but I stuck another $5 into the machine. I won a bonus spin. Keep in mind, I don't know what I am doing. It comes to a screen and I hit all the same. The light up top begins to flash and I keep hearing the "tick, tick, tick" sound from the machine. Everyone in the room is looking at me and for a moment, I was confused. When I looked up to the top of the screen, it said jackpot. No way! I hit the jackpot. $5,342.36. I went from five dollars to five thousand. Gambling soon became another addiction that I had to face. So what. I was on the top of the world.
THE LOVE OF MY LIFE
I was always an emotional person. Every night I would go to bed, I would always wonder why everything happened like it did. I felt like I could change if I had someone to love. I tried many relationships during my teens, but they never worked out. I had my heart broken once before and I didn't want to feel that pain again. I chose to not look for love. It wasn't worth it to me.
In November of 2002, I began spending a lot of time with my uncle and aunt. We all became close to one another and my uncle was more like a dad to me. He was always there for me and he helped me in anyway he could. My truck engine gave out and it was up at my uncle's house. He was going to put in a new engine for me for basically free. I didn't have a ride. I was sitting at the steps of the apartments across the street talking with a friend when a car pulled up. I lived in a small community where everyone knew everyone. My friend came up the steps and she told me her sister liked me. I was always the shy type. I remember being bashful and feeling out of place. I asked her where she was and she stated she was in the car. I walked down the steps but she was just as shy. She wouldn't get out of the car. It was dark and I couldn't see her. We all decided to meet up at her house the next day.
I remember being very nervous knocking on that door. I didn't know what to expect. I had never seen her before. I opened the door and I recognised everyone but this girl. She had long dark curly hair and a beautiful body. As the door shut, she turned around. Everything around me was in slow motion. Time stopped for me that very second. Our eyes met and in an instant, I was in love. She was beautiful.
We talked with each other like we had been friends for years. I felt like I already knew her. She made me be the old me. I didn't think about anyone or anything but her that night. She was the one that asked me out because I was so scared, so nervous. I felt like I was on an interview to be president or something to that nature. I believe I feel in love that same night when she had told me she has liked me since second grade. Her life wasn't perfect. Her story is the same as Cinderella. She lived with her step mom and two step children. They treated her bad and made her do all the laundry. It is true. She had prayed for a man to come and take her away. Her Cinderella story came true.
Right away, I didn't change much. I did quit hanging with friends and I began to habg out with my girlfriend. Ashlie was a good girl. She was very respectful and beyond her years. She had a rough life growing up and she remembers all the way back when she was in diapers. She was happy to get out of the house and she quickly healed my heart. I felt responsible for her and I had no problem with taking that role. I quickly became her sole provider. She was younger then I was and she was still in school. Her dad and step mom quit providing for her and I couldn't help but feel bad for her.
I remember our first Christmas together like it was yesterday. I bought her this expensive gold necklace and I surprised her later that night. By her actions, I could tell she had never had anything like that. She was pure and honest. I wasn't use to that. I was on top of the world going into the new year. But it would quickly be revealed that I had to make a choice between her and my habit.
I remember pulling into the house at 7a.m. My mom and dad were getting ready for work. I went and stood in front of mom and pulled out all my money. I was happy. I gave her a little bit. My mom was my hero growing up and she still is now. I was lucky and blessed to have her. She had always took care of me and she was my best friend. Thinking back now of all the times I hurt her and made her worry, it breaks my heart. After all I have did, she has always been by my side.
For example, I wanted to play football and at the time, we didn't have a vehicle. She would fine me a ride and she would walk 2 miles to the field. Most times, I walked with her. She was my shield growing up. My father and I to this day do not talk. We have never been close. He was always working when I was little and he was always close to my little brother. Still to this day, I really don't understand him. I did bad things but we all mistakes. He has a cold heart and he doesn't forgive. So, we haven't talked for many years now.
Anyway, the first thing I needed was a newer vehicle. My old truck was about to fall apart and it was rough on gas. My mom cosigned for me and I bought me a new truck. I took the remaining money and made an investment so to say. I made a deal with someone to run across the Eastern U.S. and deliver products back and forth. I ended up with a constant route that included New York, Indiana, North Carolina, and Florida. During those eight months, I made over $300,000. I was becoming a complete different person. I didn't like looking in the mirror because I didn't like who I saw. Just as quick as it began, it was over. I didn't have a job and most of what I made was done spent. I thought it would last forever. I had around $40,000 left and I was spending a few thousand a day. I was in way over my head with no way out.