Six years ago today, I woke up, did my normal morning routine, and then put on a suit, grabbed a portfolio case full of legal papers, and headed out the door. 20 minutes later, I walked into a massive court building in downtown Phoenix with the potential of a jail or even prison sentence hanging over my head. The life that I had begun building in recovery and the progress I had been making looked like they might be put on hold for a while. It was one of the three most difficult days of my life.
That day, a handful of you went to bat for me. Some of you did it in person, others of you wrote letters. But all of you made a tremendous difference. My public defender did nothing for me. Genuinely, she did nothing. You did.
I walked out of court that day with my freedom (mostly) intact, and my momentum unaltered. I did so because of what all of you did. I know for a fact that is what made the difference. The judge himself told me he came in that morning prepared to sentence me to time, but had changed his opinion because of what he had seen and heard.
Based on the math, I know that if I had been sent to jail at that time, my daughter would not exist. She would not be here. My greatest joy wouldn’t be in my life.
Based on the math, had I been sentenced that day, I would not have met Brandon Bird when and where I did, to have him suggest that I go apply for a job at a place called notMYkid. There is a very good chance I wouldn’t have the career I have right now.
To those of you who believed in me at a time when I had made some incredibly regrettable decisions and were willing to speak up or write on my behalf: Thank you. As each February 10th arrives, I think of that day and what you were willing to do for me. I can confidently say I won’t ever forget.
I thank God for each of you and hope that my actions in the years since that day have made you feel that your time and effort were well spent.