Hitting rock bottom is the only way to find yourself.

The year was 2001. I was 20 years of age and I had gone from a man with everything to a man with nothing. Two years prior I had graduated from high school, had a son with my girlfriend, and was managing a store. I had purchased a home and my girlfriend was also managing a store. We had it all and it seemed like nothing could stop us. I was overly happy with my little family but I was destined to fall from the graces that was my life. In a short time everything was gone. There was a lot of different things that went into our failing relationship. I no longer had my then fiance, my son, my home, or my job. I had been going back and forth with my ex to see my son and when I thought I was on top I fell once again. It was a hard time. The only job I could get at the time was at a factory in Holland called Nuvar. I was on the line working for change. I went from managing a couple different stores to assembling office chairs. Without my family I was at my lowest point in life. My daily routine consisted of going into work at 6am, getting out at 4pm, buying a case of beer with my co-workers and drinking our cares away. I would crash out around 9pm and do it all over the next day. I'm not proud of my routine and on top of that I was now living with my father and brother. My dad was dealing with his divorce from my mom still and we were at each others throat. I would go out with my brother and come back late. My dad didn't exactly like this and we would get into physical altercations. I remember my brother would step in the middle of us to stop our stupidity. I felt like crap and I wanted to leave and start fresh. I had decided to stop being a jackass and just work. Maybe something good would happen. My ex and I had decided on our own visitation times but eventually those fell through and I was at square one again. After a few nights of emotional hell I went with my brother to a party. We were out very late and tried to sneak in but my father was waiting. We got into it and he was M.I.A. for almost a week. He returned for a couple days but we barely spoke. Finally I decided that I had had enough. I went around and said my goodbyes. No one believed me except for my cousin Mike. I had gone to visit him at work and told him I was leaving. When I headed back home I called my brother and told him he needed to be ready because I was going to pick up some clothes and split to Florida. He was undecided but I knew he'd come with me.

As I left Holland and headed home to pick up my brother a song hit the radio on WGRD that I will never forget. I blasted "Alive" from P.O.D. and I knew this was the right decision. I had kicked my BS and was headed out to start fresh. I felt that everyone would understand and by starting fresh in a better environment I might be able to see my son more. When I got home my brother was ready but still unsure of his decision. My dad had no idea that we were leaving but I didn't care. If I didn't do this now I was never going to do it. I remember my brother running out to the car and he slipped in the mud. He got up, threw his stuff in the car and we split. It took a lot for us to leave but it was called for. My brother and I had the greatest road trip. We took our time as we headed to Florida. The music we grew up with filled the world around us and we reflected on everything we had been through together. The trip was superb and it brought us closer than we had ever been before. We arrived in Florida and it was just what I needed.

After a couple months I began my dispatching career at the local police department. My life was slowly turning around and I was happy for the first time in a very long time. It took a year for my dad and I to speak but when we finally did he told me that he was happy that I left the way I did. Things have been going great for me ever since my spur of the moment trip to Florida. Throughout my time there I met and worked with some excellent people. I also met my wife there and moved back to fight for my son. Although I ultimately lost that battle, I hold on to a glimpse of hope that one day we will see each other again. Now in case you're wondering, my "rock bottom" had nothing to do with me not being able to see my son. There were other factors that played a role but thats life I suppose. I am still on the rise to success and my family is growing. In addition to my 12 year old son with my ex, I have a 7 year old son and a 3 week old daughter with my wife Rebecca. I am a supervisor at the 911 dispatch center I work at and I am going to school. In a few short months I will have two degrees under my belt and then I am jumping into my Masters. I write my heart out on a blog that is growing in popularity and life keeps getting better. All it took was losing everything I held dear to me. It took this for me to fight back and win. I guess hitting rock bottom is the only way to find yourself...and feel alive.