My parents moved to Texas while I was pregnant with Riley in 2006/2007. Jim soon moved to Texas as well after finishing college and then living with them in MI. He worked at Buca Di Beppo as a server and later as a manager. He dated a girl for a while. Spent most of the daytime hours either sleeping or working depending on the time. We didn't see him much and when we did he looked tired and unhappy, but kept a smile on his face and never let us into his world or thoughts.
My parents had difficult talks with him and he opened up about his addiction to pain killers. He told them that it had started when he was 17 and had torn his ACL. He began taking just a few pills a day and at one point was taking 10 a day. This was on top of his alcohol addiction. There may have been other things as well not shared, but this was what we now knew. His girlfriend broke up with him, he became more reclusive and a change seemed good.
There was a job opportunity for him to move to GA where he could be manager of a new Buca there. He applied to other restaurants here in Dallas, but nothing opened up. He took a leap of faith and moved to GA. While there, life choices were made that opened our eyes to what he was battling. The restaurant began to get suspicious that someone was stealing from the registers and they hired a private investigator to come in. Jim was caught feeding his habit through stealing money and was put in jail for a year and a half. Our communication during this time was very minimal and we found out where he was by searching for him. Jon was able to get information that he was in jail, which jail and the reason for it. We were able to send him care packages and mail. Jim wrote back a few times. (Just spent time looking for his letters. Sad to say I think they were in the cash box that the burglars stole... cue tears.)
Jim was detoxed and after jail was going to a halfway house where they'd help to get him on his feet. He wrote to say that many of the guys had plans to just go right back to their old lives, but that he wasn't planning on that. He wrote about his faith and told memories he had. We had hope while also having knowledge that life was challenging in jail to say the least and odds of coming out on top were not favorable. He shared with us the date that he was due to get out of jail, but never contacted us to let us know he was out. Jon was able to get the information that he'd been released from jail in June of 2013.
The past few years we have tried to figure out where he was. His former boss hadn't heard from him. We called his friends and they hadn't heard from him. We searched jail records online and no sign that he was incarcerated again. We hadn't been contacted by police and hoped that he was still alive. It looked near impossible to be able to locate him. His credit report showed no new activity in terms of housing, jobs, credit or any signs of him being alive.
To be continued (Read blog post titled Hope Part III)