Michael Chenoweth authorphoto 7f81de0c-cbc9-45e7-8dda-fff6e6e1ff4fSo I don't really know how to start this, but I guess you could say I was never really a star student. My success didn't really start until later on in life. My family always did the best they could for me. My mother did have some mental & physical handicaps that made it difficult to grasp a normal routine of learning by example, but she loved me & always fought to give it her all before her problems became too severe.

When they did, I went 30 miles east to the Cascade Foot Hills along the beautiful Skykomish River off of Highway 2 in Gold Bar, Washington. Not many people have heard of it, because it's one of those towns you blink on a road trip & you've missed it. This is where the main pinnacles of life came to fruition for me as a child & partly as an adult.

My grandpa was the greatest thing to a father figure, he taught me most of what I know today & am grateful for every bit of it. When no one else could he was there to show me how to tie the laces on shoes, ride a bike, throw a baseball, one of my favorites was fishing. Most importantly, my grandpa was a great example of someone who could work. Now when I say work, he wasn't a paperwork all nighter guy, or a tool set & car guy, he was kind of something different. For years, I looked up in the sky to see a man who was never afraid of anything.

This man was a logger by trade, excavator on the side, fisherman all at the same time (literally).
I've seen him stop a back hoe, put his climbing gear on to clear a wind fall 60 feet up, & stop for a smoke break to yell down how to reel in a fish, while I was standing on back deck of a cabin sitting river front. I could write a book about all that, but anyway, later on in life I'd remember this to pursue my career.

As a teenager, I fell into a drug addiction to try to escape memories of a not so pleasant city life.
By16, I'd seen more trauma than most adults would be able to cope with normally. By the time I was 19, I'd combined a drug habit with a equally as deadly alcohol recipe. When I was 20, I'd overdosed twice, been to jail three times due to my self affliction & I had no idea how this would impact me in the future, because I didn't really care.

It took me a full year to recover from almost a 10 year addiction. It was a full year & more after my mother died in a horrific accident that I was fully done. I had to start over. The only family still willing to help was my Grandparents. They played a big part in my recovery & still do. My grandpa put me to work helping the community with extensive yard work & landscaping. My Grandma talked with me & made sure I wasn't going to relapse. I did a couple time when I came back to the city, that's not her fault though.

After awhile I left Pennsylvania to branch out on my own & gained my first job with a company there. I worked a full time summer job as a janitor & ran a machine that cleaned the floors. When that was over, it was time to come back home. A short while afterwards I ran into a man called John Williams in Snohomish, WA. His recruiter for sign wavers showed me one of the training videos & I saw a guy flipping the sign around & doing all this amazing stuff. That's when I looked at her & said "I can do that." She replied, "Sure you can!" enthusiastically, but I could sense the doubt. After a near broken sign & a lot of embarrassment I was doing that! I'd become a pro.

For the first time, I'd felt true pride & accomplishment, in myself. I took this confidence on to other jobs, back around to Liberty Tax office in Everett. I'm writing all this before I start my shift at 1pm, & I've gained even more skills from working here as well. I feel it when people honk at me, or give me a thumbs up that for once I'm actually good at something. Even though it's temporary, this job is the highlight of my year, & is a strong contribution on have almost 4 years clean from drugs.

Now I have a child on the way that I'm super excited about, but scared for at the same time. I don't feel entirely secure with our situation right now, but feel that somehow everything will fall into place.

Thank you,

Michael Chenoweth