I grew up in a home with drug use. So as far as learning how to handle life, that was my example. When I was 19, I went through some trauma and I didn't have any coping skills. I started drinking and then moved to meth. That kind of took over my life for 10…15 years. 

I always had some sort of job, but I didn't get along with people. I had no humility. I was always right. My grandparents were gone, I still had family members that were using. And my dad, I didn't go around him, because I wasn't doing good things and I wanted him to be proud.

I kept working. And I used the entire time. I got my first felony, for possession. At that point I was working nights, unloading trucks and stocking shelves. I had to keep that job because I'm a convicted felon, and how am I going to find another job? Then they changed our hours and I had a hard time adjusting. I was late all of the time and I got terminated. At that point, my life spiraled.

I was with my sister and my nephew lived there, and I was using at the house. They said they were going to charge me with endangering the welfare of a minor. That devastated me. I've always loved children and thought that I was a kind, caring, loving person. Something clicked in my head -- I am abusing other people, doing exactly what was done to me. That's not who I wanted to be.

But I just wouldn’t stop using. Finally, I called my dad and I said, “Dad, I need to stay with you for three days so I can get clean.” He allowed me to do that and that was a big deal.

It was time to start looking for a job and Dave's Killer Bread is where I had my heart set. I remember hearing about Dave when he was just out of prison, that he was doing something different with his life, reading the story on the bag, and knowing that he hired felons. 

So I did everything I needed to do with the employment office and finally one day I got a call that I could come here. I was very excited. I was just 60 days clean and hadn't worked in a year and a half. I cried on my first day, but I loved it.

I was a good employee, but I didn't have a good foundation or a good plan for not using. I was still hanging out with people that used. I came to work one day after I had spent my entire weekend using and it was obvious. I was terminated. It was devastating. I was given the option to come back in a year if I cleaned up and could prove I had done some different stuff.

I managed to put some clean time together. I kept going to meetings. I kept reaching out to people. I thought about how I left Dave's, embarrassed. I felt very undeserving of the opportunity. But I was reminded that this is a second chance place. When I applied to come back I had to speak to the supervisor, the one who had done the termination. She wanted to know what was different and why I should have the opportunity. I told her I had spent some time really working on myself; I had some time to get humble.

They gave a call to come back to work. I showed up every day and my attitude was good. I remember making a conscious decision, no matter what anyone asks of you just say “okay,” and I did that, no matter what. I was thinking about making my dad proud, I was thinking about making myself proud.

It's amazing how much compassion I have. Being patient, being kind, just making the choice to have a good day, coming to work with a positive attitude, and then allowing that to be infectious for other people. I never thought of myself as any of those. And now here I am doing those things.