Mr. Ron James once picked the wrong choice in life, and that was all it took for him to continue down a dark, slippery road to a life of drugs and alcohol.
“Life is all about choices,” he said. “Our choices not only affect us, but they affect others as well, and the consequences that are directly associated to those said choices seem to have a fix on others: right, wrong, or indifferent.”
As these choices are made, the teenage populus all over the world are making their parents fingers tap the table incessantly as they wait up past midnight to see if their son or daughter has made it home alive.
In the fall of 2015, James visited Southmoreland high school with the intentions of changing lives as he stood on the stage and told his past of drugs and alcohol. Sadly, even after his confession of decisions gone wrong and the consequences he received in making those decisions, the message is still ignored in the small school community of Southmoreland.
James’ mother was not immune to the mind numbing anxiousness that followed as her son went out the door. Except, her son’s teenage antics didn’t end with his teenage years. They extended through his life to the point of almost destroying him.
“It was in 7th grade that my father left me, and that was when I started to experiment with things. I was experimenting with alcohol and tried cigarettes, some pot, and whippets. By the time I was in college I was drinking more on a daily basis and when I left school I drank on an everyday basis,” said James.
High school is the time in a child’s life where they become who they want to be and make life altering decisions, whether those choices involve drinking, smoking, what college to go to, whether or not to take an AP class or try a drug. Just one time.
“The loss of my dad really affected me. I lost my mentor, my father, and my friend that day and I do believe it affected my choices I made,” said James, “I became the man of the house and with that came a lot of responsibility and stress, and I just couldn’t deal with the pain and hurt.”
Throughout high school, James cheated his way through school and onto college. His technique was proved faulty when he was discovered.
“I was found out. One of my teachers called me on it when she asked me to spell the word ‘friend’ and I couldn’t do it. That was when I realized I shouldn’t be there nor did I belong there, so I started partying on campus and that’s when I really started to get into the drugs like, percocet, oxycontin, valium, and vicodin,” said James. “Needless to say I dropped out and ended up in the streets with some even worse people that introduced me to the most addictive drugs out there like heroin and cocaine. The drugs were no longer an experiment; they were a lifestyle.”
James’ lifestyle became a problem for him and anyone around him.
“At first, I had money to buy my addiction, but then I would run out, so I would borrow money from friends,” James explained. “From there I lied so they would continue to lend me money, and from there I ended up committing petty theft and forging checks. Every time I got high, I knew I was going to go to jail, and eventually I lost count of how many times I went in.”
One day, James made a mistake that changed his life forever.
“Insanity, to me, is doing the same thing over and over again, knowing the outcome and what it will bring, but in spite of it all you still do it. I was in a hit-and-run” accident, he said. “I didn’t mean to hurt them, I was just high.” Fortunately there were no serious injuries in the accident, James said.
James book Choices is the reason he became the man he is now and the reason he is 11 years clean.
“When I started writing the book, I finally realized who I was and I didn’t like it, I didn’t like me.,” he said. “And I realized then that I wanted to help people make the right decisions in life and to not go down the same path that I did.”
James now has a family that he loves, an upcoming movie based on his life as well as a book, and he loves what he does each and every day.
“My problem wasn’t drugs and alchohol, it was me not being able to deal with the pain and hurt,” he said. “When you’re an addict to anything, you don’t care about anyone else. The kind of people that I once was, believe that they are only hurting themselves but unknowingly they are also hurting others. They just want to escape the pain of life, and my life was like a ball of yarn with knots the size of the Grand Canyon. All it took to unravel that ball of yarn was my choice to start making the right decisions.”
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