Part 3: A Local Kid’s Story – Working Towards a Better Future

Posted by Chris Schinke, With 0 Comments, Category: Recovery, Tags: , , ,

RV-HopeIn the first and second post in our series, we learned about a young man, Alex, his invincible attitude and the consequences he experienced when caught with drugs.  This is the last post in the series and here we read the conclusion of his story, so far, and his hope for the future.

How do you think this will affect your future?

Having these charges on my record can affect my future negatively. I already touched on the fact that finding a job after I get my degree will be difficult, but there are many other things that could be affected in my future. I can see myself eventually getting married and I want to start a family. I want to have my kids grow up in a place that they can call home for many years. I am not expecting to be making a ton of money when I decide to get married and start a family because hopefully I will still be in my late twenties. It won’t be easy to get a loan for a house that me and my want to buy/build with a criminal record. I don’t expect to raise a family in an apartment building and having a criminal record could dissolve plans that my wife and I could have when we are ready to start a family. That is a sickening thought to me and I pray every day that is not the case. I am a very future-oriented thinker.

A court record could affect my future by making it impossible for me to coach hockey. I have been an avid hockey player, fan, and lover since as long as I can remember. One of my dreams has always been to coach a hockey team, preferably one in which my son was playing on. All in all, this experience could damage many of my life dreams and goals. That is very upsetting to me and that is why I am so motivated to fix my mistakes so that I am not held back by poor decisions earlier in my life.

Did you at any point, think about the severity of the consequences; the impact on your future or the things that could have happened?

There was one point that I can remember when I thought about all three of these things at the exact same time. This was at my last court hearing where I was going to be prosecuted. The judge had looked over the things that I had done leading up to my court date, but my attorney wasn’t sure if I had done enough to improve my chances of not having the four charges against me being put on my permanent record. I was charged and going to be prosecuted on were curfew, underage drinking, possession of an illegal substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. I had worked with my attorney over the course of the previous couple months to establish a defense to prevent some, if not all, of the charges going on my record. I went to AA meetings, took drug screenings every month on my own accord, and I improved my grades to show the judge that I was heading in the right direction with my life. I went into sentencing not knowing what to expect. The prosecution team worked with my attorney, and due to my admission of guilt, they were only going to pursue the possession of a substance and underage drinking charge. This was a relief to me, but I was still not happy to have both of those on my record. That is when the judge tasked me requirements and a message that I will be forever grateful for. Judge Michael J. Ryan talked to me as if I was his own son. He told me that I had too much potential and that it was not worth throwing away due to alcohol and marijuana. I listened to every word he said. He gave me the second chance for which I was hoping. All charges against me were to be dropped if I completed the requirements that he set forth. They included drug testing every two weeks, an apology letter to the police officer that pulled me over, an apology letter to my parents, a report on Mitch McGary and his situation regarding marijuana use, as well as thirty hours of community service through Robby’s voice. If I did not complete his requirements, I could potentially spend 30-90 days in juvenile detention. When the thought of me being in juvenile detention became a reality that is when the severity of the consequences, the impact on my future, and how worse off I could be, all became blatantly obvious. The real threat of spending time locked in a cell immediately motivated me to do everything in my power to have a clean slate.

What was your reaction to being sentenced to CS with ROBBY’S VOICE?

At first, when I was sentenced to community service with Robby’s Voice, I really didn’t have much of a reaction. I wasn’t frustrated that I had to do community service because I knew through completion, I would get a fresh start. I didn’t have a reaction because I knew nothing about RV. I was a bit nervous to do community service because I figured that everyone would look down on me as another screw-up kid who is required to simply complete his hours and that is that. I wasn’t sure if the members, or RV, would understand that I was just a naïve kid who made a couple poor decisions and who had to face the consequences.

The first step that I took when was researching Robby’s Voice. . What I discovered had a very personal effect on me. I read Robby’s story and I connected with more aspects of it then not. For some reason, I found myself consciously thinking that Robby was just like me in so many ways. In a way, it scared me. In another way, it brought me peace. Peace with my situation that my struggle with marijuana and alcohol was not even in the same caliber as Robby’s struggle. I remember thinking while reading Robby’s story that I don’t even know what addiction means. I really had no idea. It is impossible to fathom what Robby was going through during his struggle with addiction. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the difficulty of his battle. I was weak. I wanted to give up at times I thought were difficult. My battle with addiction is not even credible in relation to Robby’s. From the point, I never have felt sorry for myself again. There is no room for complaining; there is only room for action.

I was motivated. I learned a major principle from Robby’s story. That principle is that even when you think that things could not get worse in your life, someone else always has or had it much more difficult. Instead of being remorseful of having to do community service for RV, I was eager to engulf myself in their mission. I knew this even before I made contact with Rob, the director of Robby’s Voice, and Robby’s father. When I told him that I was excited to do community service for RV he said, “Alright let’s be honest no one is excited to do community service.” I was nervous but truly was excited. I was nervous because I wanted to be accepted by this great organization for who I am and not be judged by my mistakes.

I first helped the organization with their annual 5k run. As soon as I arrived, and met a couple members of the organization, I knew there was no need to be nervous. I also met Rob in person for the first time and the mission of RV became clear to me. I am happy to say that I am also the first court-ordered community service member that was assigned to hours with RV and I could not have been luckier. I learned that RV is made up of friends, family, and members that all carry on the legacy of Robby by helping those in need of guidance or help.

Addiction is a disease and just with every disease it is not easy to beat alone. RV works to educate those suffering with addiction and their loved ones on the dangers and the confrontation of addiction. I am glad to be doing community service through RV. I have learned a great deal about myself and I have learned a great deal about those battling everyday. I will not forget some of the people that I met at the race because their optimistic attitude on this subject amazes me. I will continue to do work with RV even when I am not required by the court simply because I believe in the purpose they are serving as an organization in the community. I have broken my silence when it comes to addiction and my personal struggle through the help of Rob and RV. I want to help others “break the silence” as well.

What have you learned so far?

I have learned a variety of different things throughout the course of the situation. First, I cannot change the past, but I can change myself so that I am better in the future. I don’t want to sound cliché, but as a result of being at the lowest point in my life, it has motivated me to be the best I have ever been both emotionally and physically.

I am the healthiest I have ever been. For once in my life, I am totally invested in my schoolwork and the pursuit of a good education from an amazing university. This is cheesy but I found a girl that accepts me for who I am, even though I have made all of these mistakes. I am happy but not content. I wont be completely content until I have finally taken care of all the court requirements bestowed on me so that the charges against me will be expunged.

I have also learned that I am not invincible. I am susceptible to the law just as anyone else is. It is a shame that I once thought that I would never get caught and that I could get away with anything. I also learned a lot about myself. To be specific, I learned how much stress and pressure I can actually handle until I break. I have learned that being involved with the law only complicates everything else one has going on in their life. I have learned, and honestly believe at this point, that if I never got pulled over that night when I was 17 years old, I may be in jail at 19 years old, my current age. Getting into trouble was “a blessing in disguise” and I thank God for that.

I also learned that when they say that your parents love you “unconditionally” they are a hundred percent correct. My parents have stuck by my side and supported me on this journey and I am forever grateful for them. I was a hard kid to love as they watched me stand as the judge read the charges against me the first time I was in court, but they still did everything they could for me. It is unbelievable that I was blessed with such wonderful people as my parents and mentors in life.

Above all, I learned that everyone makes a few dumb decisions in their lives. The people that really face the brute end of those consequences are those that just don’t do anything to improve. The ones that come out stronger are those that build of those consequences to make themselves a better person by righting the wrongs they have done in any way they possibly can. I am confident that I am one of those people that would do anything to right my wrongs. Finally, I learned that even though sometimes you are required to do something that you may not like or may not see a purpose in, just do it. You might be surprised by what you learn about others as well as what you learn about yourself.

We want to thank Alex for sharing his story with Robby’s Voice.  We have high hopes for him and know he will succeed and accomplish all the dreams he has for his future. And we are also grateful to know that Robby is doing such great work from Heaven, touching people in ways we could never have imagined.

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