Chris M.

chrismI am the third of six kids. Grew up in Rockville, Md. I moved to Pennsylvania in 1983 shortly after I got out of the navy where I was stationed in San Diego and was on the first ship ever to have woman on it (I only slept with one and learned my lesson. Anyway, My early childhood was a happy one. My teenage years were troubled ones.


I am sure you remember the 70’s. Drugs and alcohol and lots of both for me. I had serious issues as a result that forced me to stop all consumption at age 23. Subsequently, I got my shit together more or less, went to college and became an Allstate agent for 4 years at the Park city mall in Lancaster, Pa. During this time I resided in Manheim for 2 years and Rowenna for 2 years. Rowenna, is a small blip of a town along 441 north of Marietta and just south of Bainbridge. During this time, I fathered two children. The ones you see in my picture. Different mothers and out of wedlock. Tough times for me.


After 4 years as an Allstate agent I quit and packed up my stuff and moved back to Maryland to go to work for a high powered estate-planning firm in Bethesda. I hoped to make my riches there but hated it and washed out of that business within a year. Depressed from the difficult children situation combined with my failed business venture, I again turned to alcohol. The year was 1993. The next 3 and a half years marked a downward spiral that plainly speaking should have ended in death. During this time I moved to Annapolis and got involved in the liquidation of hundreds of thousands of dollars of my fathers office furniture.


Didn’t know what I was doing but I was unemployed and He didn’t have the time or where with all to get rid of it. Over a course of 11 months in 94 I made about $90,000 in cash. Then the furniture was gone. The next week I realized I was broke. I hadn’t been living extravagantly, I had drank all the money away. Shortly after this, in a panic, I moved back to York in hopes of straightening out my life.


All the while, estranged from my kids and their mothers and the rest of my family. Another year and a half passed all the while I drank destructively and floundered, my condition worsened daily. I found myself penniless, without friends or family. I was living in a fleabag motel in York and was about to be bum rushed out of the shithole. My drinking was getting progressively worse but I tried and tried again to get sober. I attended a number of rehabs during this time but always failed and found myself back in the drink after a short time.


Then came March 3 of 1997, A fittingly overcast and cold day. Without one single penny left to my name and all my worldly possessions fitting into a plastic trash bag, I called and old friend named Larry Guerreri. I had known Larry from my previous time spent sober. He owned a halfway house mostly for recently released prisoners from the Dept of corrections, many of them criminals coming off of long stretches in maximum security federal penitentiaries. I asked Larry to help me and he welcomed me with open arms. The accommodations were rough and the twenty other guys who lived there were hard cases, but, I was thrilled to be there.


Around this time I had what can only be referred to as a spiritual epiphany. It wasn’t religious just spiritual. A part of my experience revealed to me that I was deeply angry about the problems I had created for myself and I had inappropriately been blaming others. I.e.; my children’s mothers for example. I realized then that if I didn’t forgive any and all of these people I begrudged that I would forever remain sick and I would forever have the need to self medicate and anesticize my pain.


In that moment, I forgave all, and I began my own long healing process. I also set about mending damaged relationships asking for forgiveness and more importantly living in a fashion that gave people confidence in me and me in myself. Honesty was my priority and is the cornerstone of my new resolve. At first, I was physically ill and struggled to hold down a manual labor job. This in spite of my bachelor’s degree in marketing.


Regardless, I took whatever job I could find, loading tractor trailers for roadway package systems, selling and repairing cars for Larry, anything I could do that was honest and helped me to inch my way out of the cavernous abyss I had dove into 3 some years before. My first mode of transportation was a bike. But it wasn’t a regular bicycle, it was a circa 1970 racing road bike. It was given to me by my brother. It had problems though. It didn’t have any wheels or seat. It was completely rusted up and the gears and derailleur were beyond repair. I hand stripped it saved the pieces I could and over the course of my next 6 paychecks bought the parts I needed to get it back together and on the road.


I rode that bike for the next few years. I did acquire a mini van after 6 months or so too and I am more embarrassed about that then anything else I have told you thus far. I continued to sell cars on the side for a few years. I got an apartment for $350 a month and slowly eased my way back into normal society. Still lacking confidence, I didn’t lock down a professional job again for a few years. So, I still wandered a bit. I went to Florida to follow a girl and after 6 months there I left . Not wanting to go back to md or pa, I bought a 23-foot boat, hooked it up to my 1983 Toyota pickup and drove straight to Nantucket where I put the boat in the water and lived on it for the next 6 months.


I fished a lot and would swap my fish to 5 star restaurants for credit. I dinned very well during that time and I have some fish stories to boot. It was while on Nantucket that I met Julie. We began dating right away. She was a high-powered public relations firm’s executive VP in Boston. We continued to date after I left Nantucket and moved back to pa. Long distance and difficult but we managed for a while. Julie was dynamic and saw something in me.


She helped me to assemble a resume and I gained some important contacts through her. One of these contacts was a man who was the vice president for PCS One named Bob. You may remember this cell company it was prominent in this area. So, I called Bob at PCS One and he hired me as a territory manger for York and Lancaster. Julie and I split, but over the next two years I grew my territory by nearly 500%. The company over the same time period grew by only 194%. I was feeling good about myself.


I began to experience other new things like traveling to such places as Cuba and more. I got engaged to a beautiful Young lady named Amy. Then came the news that PCS One was being bought by voice stream (now T Mobile) In spite of my efforts, they wanted to give me a pay cut and take away other benefits I said no thanks and took my tiny life savings of about $9000 and opened up my company, Office Furniture Today,Inc. Amy, was not happy and left me over this.


She didn’t feel secure with a start up company and bolted. I sold $80,000 that year (2002). Last year I sold a million dollars. During this time I have purchased a building for $1,000,000. I have purchased my own home, new trucks. I have good credit and money in the bank. Relationship success has been elusive though.


But, I still believe in love and expect that one day I will have success there too. I am healthy physically riding on average 20 miles per day during the warmer months. My body survived the assault. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally I am well, with room to grow. I try to have a balance in all these areas and I have not forgot the lessons I so painfully learned. I was humbled. Today, along with the responsibilities I accept with children, family, employees and customers, I give of myself. I make donations to various causes and help others who share a similar illness as my own. I am nowhere near perfect but Life is good. I finally get it. Phewww!


Chris M.

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