“When Disaster is an Understatement”

Posted: October 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

   It was mid-October 2008. I had been in management at Papa John’s in Ohio for just over a year, having control over the same store for about 6 months. I received a phone call telling me that a number of my store’s deposits had not been credited by the company bank with the bank saying they never even saw them. After telling them that I would look into what was going on I hang up and panic set in. Quickly I realized that my job and much more were at stake. My whole life was. Figuratively and literally. Allow me to explain.


 In August of 2007 I made a couple decisions that proved to be very unwise to say the least. First, I decided it was time to end a bad marriage. I moved out of my house and went to a new apartment with my new girlfriend. In the process I lost the ability to be a big daily part of my then 7 year old daughter’s life. My personal life was turned upside down. Second, I decided to take a promotion to management from being a delivery driver at work. In hindsight, that choice brought me more hours at work for not anymore pay per hour and gave me far more stress. My work life was turned upside down. Personal life and work life both became a mess. 


  As months passed by the negative affect of those decisions compounded. Things with that new girlfriend I moved in with went south, and I became infatuated with a new to me manager that I was in charge of. Chasing her for months brought confusion and heartache because she proved to be almost equally attracted to me but scared of my instability. By March of 2008 I had accepted an unkind offer to move back to my home with my ex-wife and daughter. I agreed to pay a lot of money each month to rent a bedroom because I really wanted to be able to spend more time with my daughter in her home. My choices had led me to become a good time daddy only seeing my daughter for time together at restaurants, shopping, movies, etc. I hated that. I had lost/gave up 2 sons to adoption when they were very young in the 1990’s. I wanted to do everything I could to keep a healthy relationship with my daughter. That move back to her came with other strings attached, the biggest being I was in charge of taking my wife’s teenage daughter to and from her job. I began driving well over a hundred miles a day and gas moved up over $4 a gallon. My bills, between the increase in rent and gas, had grown to be a good bit more than my income. I now added drowning financially to my upside down work and personal lives. It was more than a mess. I was more than a mess.


  In early August 2008, one year after those decisions were made, I checked myself into a mid-level mental health facility for a couple days. Doctor there prescribed me Ativan, a strong anti-anxiety med, and I returned to work. In hindsight it looks as though that was a mistake, that maybe it caused me to be too calm. I mean, my life was crazy, a certain amount of stress was expected and even healthy. I should have used that stress as a warning sign that healthy changes were necessary aka slow up or crash. To my shame I did not do that in the least.


  Shortly after returning to work I found out I needed tires for my car badly. It would be a good $400 that I needed that I obviously didn’t have. Did this get me to speak up and say I can’t keep living this way? Nope. I started taking money from my store’s deposits. Yep. Being in charge of the store allowed me to manipulate deposits, to roll shortages into the next day. Over the next 6 weeks this ballooned. I had become more than a week behind on getting deposits to the bank. I was now behind almost $3000. I kept praying that somehow someway all would be ok. That a miracle would happen, it didn’t. My life was now a disaster. Then that phone call came about missing deposits and I knew I was close to being found out. Everything was about to blow up. I knew that blowing up would make my life so much more than a disaster. 


  I came really close to driving my car off a bridge on my way to work after receiving that call. It really scared me. I believed suicide to be immoral for me. I called my boss and told him I had a medical emergency to take care of. Then I decided to hide. I still had hundreds of dollars in store money in my car. I used some of that to get a motel for a couple days so I could try to think my way out of all this. Suicide kept coming up as a solution to almost everything. I decided to go inpatient at a hospital in their psych ward. 


  I wasn’t able to be honest about all I had done or all that I felt and they discharged the next day. I had been started on an antidepressant to go with the Ativan anxiety med. After discharging I called my boss and told him I had to quit immediately for health reasons. The next day I was called into the local police department to be questioned by a detective about the missing store cash. I lied through my teeth claiming to have no idea what was going on. They allowed me to leave and I decided it was time to go deeper in hiding. I called my sister in Pennsylvania and asked her if I could come stay with her for a bit. She agreed.


  After a couple days there I felt safe enough to come clean to her about the money I had taken. She suggested I start going to a mental health outpatient day program that she had went through recently. I did and I began to feel a bit better, taking hope the facility was offering me but not giving them the whole story of what I had done. That made it an impure hope. After about a week there I received another phone call from that detective. I let it go to voicemail. His message said that they were issuing a warrant for my arrest and that they wanted me to turn myself in. I called them and said I would come in and I did. It was time to face the music. 


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