Ronald* grew up extremely self-conscious. He felt different. He felt inferior about his crooked facial feature and was often a victim of his classmates’ mocking.
As a teen, he turned to a street gang to gain validation and acceptance. For the next ten years, he immersed himself in the gang culture of violence and drugs. He stole money from his family, even his own siblings, to feed his drug habit. To this day, his full-torso body tattoo is a reminder of the path he trod for so many years.
Drugs had such a strong grip on Ronald. He was sentenced to prison on four different occasions and at no time did he feel the need to turn his life around. Each time he was released, he’d go straight back to drugs, and mostly on the very day of his release. It seemed like there was no escape from the addiction – no way out.
However, his fourth imprisonment was different. Ronald found religion and a new hope for life. When Ronald left prison for the last time, he vowed never to go back to the old ways. Only after so many years, did his mother finally feel that she has gotten her true son back.
Today, Ronald holds down a stable job installing TVs. He takes great pride in his work and goes the extra mile to do his best, and this is not lost on his customers who would leave raving reviews online.
The new found freedom and opportunities that life now brings him, spurred him to share his story in a video. His message which has gone viral on Facebook is a simple, yet powerful one. It is a sincere message from someone who has walked the pain – Don’t start taking drugs. Because there might be no escape.
*Names have been changed.