The economy crashed and I was out of a job.

I started hanging out at bars, and drinking a little bit. And then, I got caught up in the meth epidemic, and I got busted for selling. That was my last time in prison. I did 5 ½ years.

It was my last time, but it wasn’t my only time. A lot of the choices and bad decisions that I made were from the time I was 16 until 34 or 35.

The turning point this time was that, I noticed the cycle. Earlier in my life, I just didn’t want to confess to it; admit it to myself. I noticed that when every time I was in the back of a police car, I was either drunk or high. It was the processes and the things that I learned that changed by life.

You’ve got to re-establish yourself. You’ve got to be like, this is what I’m about. This is what I do in my life and this is the way I go. Then, the people that are on your path, they start coming to you. Instead of the negative people, you got people that believe in the same thing that you’re trying to do in life. Those are the people that you want around you.

To think that almost 4 years ago I was crawling out of a taxi cab after doing 5 ½ years. I got dropped off at a halfway house in Portland. There was a guy there with their HR team that was, like, “hey you should try Dave’s Killer Bread.” I went to the temp agency and I applied. I started by filling in for somebody that was gone for a couple weeks. Then I was offered a position in the wrap department.

Every time I had an opportunity, I would take it. Any chance I got a chance to work with people that I admired, I took it. Being able to be a part of things like that, working with people that have been down the same road that I’ve been down, it’s really helped me out. And, that’s what I really enjoy, is, just the people.

There are days I’m just like, I don’t want to say it’s a dream, but I just want to take care of what I have because now I have so much more to lose.

From arriving at the halfway house to where I am now. It’s just amazing to look back. Now, I’m engaged and get to spend time with my daughter. I have a job I consider a career, own a home, and so many other positive things. It’s amazing.

I have a 17-year-old daughter. When I got out, she just had turned 14. She is very important to me. She’s moving out soon with a full-ride scholarship to attend college. I’m super proud of her, but it’s also really tough for me. We’ve overcome and conquered a lot together. It doesn’t fix the past, but it made up for a lot of time that was lost.