A New Day
Hank climbed on the bus and sat down. After being locked up for almost two years, he was heading home to his sister. It felt great to be free and as the bus moved along, he began to think back to when everything started going wrong................
His earliest memories were of his parent’s being drunk all the time and his dad beating on him and his sister, Kim. When he was twelve, his parents were in a car accident and were both killed. His sister was sent to live with his grandparents, but they couldn’t manage both, so he was sent to a foster home.
The foster family made sure he had clean clothes and plenty to eat, but they didn’t pay much attention to what he was doing outside of school. Hank started hanging out with a group of boys after school. They supplied him with cigarettes and occasionally alcohol they had swiped from their parent’s liquor cabinet. They also taught him to shoplift small items.
By the time he was sixteen, he had gone through five foster families. None of them could manage him for an extended period of time. He was now smoking and drinking on a regular basis. He seldom attended classes and eventually dropped out. He started going from job to job. What he couldn’t buy he would steal. It finally caught up with him. He was stopped by store security with stolen items in his pocket. The police were called in and he was taken in. He called his grandparents. His grandfather came to get him. He agreed to take him in if he got his GED, helped with yardwork, and cleaned up his behavior. He managed to get his GED and stuck around until he turned eighteen.
He had managed to hold down a job long enough to buy a cheap car and moved in with his girlfriend, Meg. Things were going good for a while then he was laid off his job and had trouble finding another one. He started working temporary positions to put gas in the car and pay the bills.
Hank and Meg started fighting more and he started drinking more. Soon, they broke up and he moved in with his friend, John. He started getting by working by day and partying every night.
About this time, his friend introduced him to Beth. He quickly fell in love. After a brief time, they were married, and Beth became pregnant. Once Tommy was born, Hank tried hard to straighten out, but he was still drinking and by this time he was also smoking marijuana. With the new baby, Beth wasn’t working. They went to the county and applied for assistance. Now they were receiving cash, food assistance, and medical. Instead of getting a job, Hank started hanging out with his friends.
Things were deteriorating. Beth had gotten daycare assistance and went back to work. Instead of working, Hank was drinking, smoking, and occasionally stealing. When Beth was home, they were having big fights. It finally came to a head one night when Hank put his fist through the wall to avoid hitting Beth. He agreed to check himself into a treatment center.
The treatment center was brutal. Hank didn’t want to talk about his feelings with them. After four weeks, he couldn’t take it anymore and checked himself out. While he was gone, Beth found out she was pregnant again.
This time Hank intended to try hard to do everything right. That didn’t last long. He still was having trouble keeping a job. He started spending more time out of the house and hanging out with friends. He soon met their neighbor, Julie. She was a single, alcoholic mom of one daughter, and she was home all day. He started spending lots of time at her house between drinking with her and hanging out in her bedroom when her daughter was with her dad. Telling his wife, he was with one of his friends. This went on for a few weeks until someone told Beth what he was really doing. By this time, he had fallen in love with Julie.
Beth still loved Hank and wanted to work things out. Hank didn’t want to see Beth cry, so he lied and agreed to break up with Julie. He was able to stay away from Julie for a few weeks. But, once Beth went back to work, he was back at Julie’s. He also started shop lifting and selling pot. Soon, he was arrested again. This time he was in jail for six months.
When he was released, he started drinking heavily and hanging out with the guys he had met in jail who had also been released. They introduced him to harder drugs.
Soon the drugs and heavy drinking also caused his temper to get out of control. When he became violent and hit his children, Beth was done. She kicked him out and filed a restraining order to keep him away from his children. Hank moved in with Julie and soon also received divorce papers.
Hank now had Julie as a drinking partner all day long. Soon, Julie’s ex-husband took custody of her daughter since she wasn't even taking care of herself. At this point, Julie was too far gone to care. With the support of Hank as a drinking partner, she was drinking instead of eating. Hank was also starting to get drunk and fight with Julie.
One night in a drunken rage, he beat Julie and put her in the hospital. He was arrested and sent to prison. This was the start of a long journey. The first six months he rebelled and didn't want to cooperate. Then Hank found out that his grandparent's had both died within a week of each other. Kim told him she believed they died of a broken heart. They had kept hoping he would turn around. The last time he got locked up was too much.
Hank knew at that point he needed to get straight and stay there. He started attending the AA and NA meetings, he signed up for online classes in auto repair, and requested a position in the prison auto shop. Soon it was time for his release
. He had already set up a meeting with probation and had found outside support groups. He was given a referral to a job position at Quick Oil Change. The owner gave him a Skype interview and was willing to give him a chance. Even Julie was willing to give him another chance and let him start talking to his children..........
As the bus pulled up to the curb, he looked out and saw Kim. As he quickly got off the bus and rushed towards her, he was determined to do his best to be a better person. He was clean, sober, and planned to do his best to stay that way. It was a new day, and he had a fresh start.
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::: clapping. This story brought out many ideas that are not appropriate for this forum. Bravo. If we get a story that speaks to the reader then we have a Mission Accomplished.