This is the introduction to the rest of my life.
I knew I needed help. On my own I was an addict. I couldn’t control it until I was forced to confront it when I went to prison. I began to think about my decisions, my actions, who I was, and what I was missing. The addiction had changed from a facet of my identity into its definition. I had to confront my demons in jail. I had to fight to be who I wanted to be, but I couldn’t do it alone. My salvation came through when I found my faith in God. For the first time in a while, I took a step towards healing myself and fighting my addiction.
I was released from jail with hope in my heart. I was finally clean. It wasn’t enough to just beat addiction. I wanted to be more than just a former addict. By pushing back addiction, a trait of my past returned: ambition. I wanted to get a job and start a career. I wanted to go to school again. I was in a halfway house and almost no income. Being able to support myself became a priority. However, with three felonies, my options were severely limited.
I applied and went to several job interviews but once they heard I had three felonies, I had no chance. I walked into most interviews, thinking I wasn’t going to get the job because of my past. Initially I felt this happiness at applying for jobs instead of living the life of a junkie. But with repeated failure, I began to lose hope, as I realized the best I could do was limited to being a fast food worker. I wanted to hold a job and get people’s respect. It wasn’t until I found out about beacon of hope from my friend’s dad, did I have a chance at a career and community.
I didn’t know much about Nehemiah until I applied and they walked me through the process. Many of the employees had checkered pasts like I did and they all came together to form a workforce. I was living in a halfway house and struggling to make ends meet. The first week I was hired, the fellow employees bought me a week’s worth of groceries. I felt like I was already a part of their community and I felt the joy of being accepted by others.
Nehemiah treated me with respect and showed me that we worked competitively. Each of us has a role that is part of a larger assembly line. We help each other out and come up with ideas that will make the entire line more efficient. Being part of this community that promoted positivity and second chances, changed my life. I am able to help others again and in doing so, helping myself accept who I am. I am not a bad person. I am more than a felon. I am more than an addict. I am going to work and pray to have a better life.
Every day is a little better. Every day brings me more happiness. Nehemiah has been a god-sent opportunity. I hope that I can stay here and make a career out of this company. I hope to go back to school to learn about finance and stock markets. I hope that I can help others and bring them back into this community of positivity. I hope to be the reason to give someone a second chance.