It’s Not All Rainbows and Roses

I share a lot of positive posts because my outlook is pretty optimistic these days. However, it’s not all roses and rainbows so I’d be doing a disservice if I didn’t share the setbacks as well. Recently, I was turned down for two jobs within a week because of my “criminal background”. I’ve never had any instances of my background being an issue until this past week.

Now let me explain. I have a misdemeanor theft charge on my record from 2015. It was during the time I relapsed after my first serious attempt at getting sober and doing a rehab. I had been 5 months sober before I relapsed. During this binge, I went to a restaurant in Indianapolis, where I was staying at the time, ate and drank a few beers, and then tried to leave without paying my bill. When they stopped me I was belligerent and refused to pay, telling them to take me to jail. They obliged. I had been drinking all day prior to going to the restaurant and barely remember anything other that sitting on the curb next to the cop car. The arrest resulted in a theft charge, two days in jail and 16 hours of community service plus restitution. All was promptly and properly completed and I’ve been free of the court system since late 2015.

I have been hired for a couple of jobs, actually three, during this time and none had a problem with the charge. In fact, one even told me that my background check came back completely clean so I wasn’t even sure the charge showed on my record anymore. Turns out it is. After being hired by a local store pending a background check, they turned me down for the position when the charge showed up. Then, a local staffing agency had a position that I applied for and was told whoever fills out the application and on-boarding paperwork first gets the job. I was first but once they seen the charge and explanation on my application I received an email saying they were unable to work with me due to my admitted criminal history. So much for being honest, huh?

This story isn’t intended for pity or complaining, it is intended to show that there are always consequences of your actions and sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you have changed since. I wasn’t too upset or disappointed in these instances because I don’t really NEED an extra job, but it’s still humbling. It’s the universe’s way of reminding me where I came from. I believe it’s God way of leading me to something bigger and better. I can’t change the past. I can’t go around explaining my past actions to everyone and expect everyone to understand. All I can do is move on and keep striving to be a better person. I won’t let this setback deter me from what I am trying to accomplish. I know who I am today and I believe in myself. Don’t ever let judgement of a past that you have grown from affect that continued growth. Don’t ever let a system label you. I am not a theft charge. I am not a criminal background. I am not the results of a background check. I am human and I have moved on from the negativity of my past. I will find something bigger and better and more meaningful to do with my time.

I’m fine, but there are people out there trying to recover from a past with felonies on their records. If I’m getting turned down with a misdemeanor I can’t imagine how difficult it is finding a job with a felony on your record. I believe there should be a better universal way of evaluating character and recovery from a past problem. With any past problem though, you have to have acceptance. There is noting you can do to change the past but you can control how you recover from it. Note what you have learned and how you can prevent it from happening again. Then accept it for what it is and look forward. A lot of times, just talking to someone about it and getting it out in the open can help. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Don’t be afraid to tell your story. By carrying around regret and shame in silence you are giving it power. Power it shouldn’t have.

Thank you all for your continued support of me and this blog. Feel free to share your stories via the comments below or any of my social media channels. I invite you all to join my private Facebook group, Sober Friends Club.

Love Y’all!
Mike