Continued from Part II
When we left off in part II, I had just gotten trashed and crashed my car in a brutal roll over accident in the middle of the night on my way to nowhere. Literally and figuratively.
After dealing with all the immediate aftermath I could pack in one 24 hour period, I just laid on my bed. I was in shock, but I wasn’t naive enough to think this was it. No one messes up this big without big consequences.
Some memories started to come back to me. There was a cop at the scene. He asked me if I had anything to drink that night, and my answer was “Yeah…a lot.”
That was the only question I remember being asked.
Shit. I have a DUI coming my way.
In Canada, a DUI (driving under the influence) is a big deal. It’s life ruining for most people without an abundance of money. I fit that category, seeing that most of the money I earned at the gym was used to fund the college education of local bartenders across the city.
I was screwed and I knew it.
Later that day I got what I was anticipating. A call from the police requesting a meeting on Monday morning. My anxiety was through the roof. At the same time, I knew I deserved everything that was headed my way.
Monday morning rolls around and I leave the house two hours before my meeting starts. The bus system in Ottawa’s west end leaves much to be desired, so an early departure and a ton of walking is to be expected.
When I arrived at the police station my stomach was in knots.
This was it. This is the moment I find out that I have a DUI. I can’t travel to the U.S anymore, I’ll need to pay out tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees, insurance rates that I’ll never be able to afford…the weight of all my thoughts was crushing.
When called for, I walked into a small room in the back of the police station and I was met by the same officer that was at the scene of the crash, although I didn’t recognize him.
He had a stack of papers. They were applications for the O.P.P. (Ontario Provincial Police).
I had been considering a career change just prior to my accident (yeah, it feels as ridiculous to type as it does to read) and I had these forms in the back seat of my car.
“I found these all over the highway” he said. “Why do you have these?”
I told him I was considering applying to be a police officer. My father was one, and his father was one, and it was something I had been thinking about.
“I’m not going to give you a DUI.”
I wasn’t sure I heard that right. NOT going to give me a DUI?
He said, “I’m going to give you careless driving since you were involved in a single car wreck, but I’m not going to give you a DUI. If you’re really thinking about becoming a police officer, a DUI would destroy your chances of making that happen.”
About 6 thousand pounds was lifted off my shoulders.
Sure, careless driving would really jack up my insurance and driving record, but it was much less than I deserved.
I left the police station feeling as good as I possibly could, all things considered.
It was time to go to work, and I had to rush.
I already knew the rumors would be flying heavily, but I didn’t expect things to go the way they did.
A few people asked me if it was true I was going the wrong way on the highway.
“Umm…no, I wasn’t.”
When I saw my manager, I was sure to tell him why I missed work on Friday. I got about three words out of my mouth and he cut me off and said, “Yeah…I heard.”
Then he asked me to meet him in the office in ten minutes.
I met him and his manager in the office, closed the door and sat down.
They opened the meeting by saying that my work performance hadn’t been up to par.
“What?” I questioned. “My sales last month were 10k, and my roster has been growing the last couple months.” (this was true, and this was my rebut since sales were the be all end all at this gym).
They countered by saying that I didn’t call my clients on Friday to cancel our sessions. This was true. I mean, I was in the hospital, but it was still true.
“As of right now, you’re terminated from Goodlife Fitness.”
Those words hit me like a truck. In my eyes getting fired was crippling. Who would hire me after that? This was a huge failure that I couldn’t even imagine myself recovering from.
This training job at Goodlife Fitness was my first ‘real, grown up’ job. It was like walking up to the plate and striking out at life on my first at bat.
It was devastating.
I don’t blame them for doing it. But I did at the time.
How dare they? I felt like they were kicking me while I was down. They knew I crashed rolled my car. They didn’t ask if I was OK, they fired me instead.
For about 6 weeks after being fired I had a recurring daydream of driving by and throwing a cinder block through the window.
I’m so thankful I didn’t indulge in that thought.
They told me I had 15 minutes to gather my things and leave the property.
I was already pretty emotionally crushed even before hearing this news. For years I regretted not going out with more of a fight. I just had no juice left.
I packed my stuff and began walking home.
I pulled my phone out to call my girlfriend.
No service. I hadn’t paid my bill.
I had no job, no car, no money, and in my eyes, no chance at all of ever digging myself out of this hole.
I didn’t get much accomplished over the next couple of days. I knew I needed an income as soon as possible, so I put my feelers out. Confidence was extremely low, seeing as I was just fired from my most recent job.
Besides submitting some resumes and asking around, I spent the rest of the time in my room eating gummy candy.
I was low. I failed at life. I left home, took a crack at it, and fantastically fell on my face.
I did catch some breaks out of all this. Insurance was going to pay me out for the car since there was no alcohol officially involved.
This makes no sense at all, but because I felt so worthless, this payout didn’t actually help me out. It motivated me to wallow at home longer. Eating more gummy candy, and wishing the whole situation away.
A few weeks went by, and I felt worse than ever.
My parents still didn’t know about any of this, my sister knew, but I asked her to keep it a secret, which was extremely difficult for her, and I was wallowing in the darkness of my mistakes for entirely too long.
I was thoroughly aware of the damaging nature of my lifestyle. I didn’t know it before, but I knew it now. This was more valuable than I knew.
You hear all the time that you find out who your true friends are when you’re down and out.
This is very true. Let me tell you, my circle shrunk drastically during this period of time.
Learning that people who I thought were my friends really weren’t was just icing on the cake of everything else that was on my mind.
Can I step away from the story for just a second?
The story up until this point, the car crash, getting fired from my first personal training job, this was all a secret until now. This blog is the first time anyone has heard this story outside of people I trust with my life.
I never disclosed my getting fired to any potential employer from then until now.
Lucky for me, most employers don’t actually look into it.
Writing this is extremely liberating. It’s also extremely frightening.
These are secrets I intended on keeping. Not publishing and sharing on social media. I just hope someone finds it helpful, and by the end of the series, possibly inspiring.
Back to the story.
After a few weeks spent in bed eating gummy worms, getting soft, skinny, weak, and dull, the survivor in me began to show some life.
It was time to start crawling.
I always viewed this situation as a hole that I dug for myself. A very deep hole. And everything I would do for the next decade was dedicated to me crawling my way out of it.
It was time to get on my hands and knees, and ever so humbly begin to move forward.
Continued in Part 4
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