JC is thirty and is walking on the edge of life. His life is one reckless decision after another. He has escaped physical death more times than those fighting on the front line in Iraq. Each time he has faced death he swears that his life is going to change and that he is going to live differently. Unfortunately, it is empty rhetoric and the destructive pattern continues.
Born to a teenage mother who was a crack addict, JC started his journey with more to face than most. He never knew his Dad. By the time he was in high school, his mother was in jail due to her addictions and poor choices.
As an elementary and middle school student, JC was exceptional. He was very shy and laid back, but in the classroom he was brilliant. He was also an exceptional athlete. He was small in stature, but very wiry and strong.
His competitive spirit seemed to distract him from his miserable home life. In every sport he played, he excelled. He was a coaches' delight until his sophomore year in high school. That was the year his mother was sentenced to three years hard time and his life started to fall apart.
Like most young men his age, he stockpiled all his feelings and emotions. When asked, he said everything was fine. In truth, his life was a disaster. He continued attending his school. He lived with a number of families of the boys who played ball with him. Because he was a reasonable student and good athlete, the school took a passive position on his no fixed address situation.
Unfortunately, all of that changed when JC started getting into trouble. He started staying out all-night, drinking on the weekends and experimenting with pot. When he was confronted with his deteriorating behavior, he denied everything. He only acknowledged that on a few occasions he drank with some friends on Saturday nights at unsupervised parties.
His behavior was becoming so reckless that no family was willing to take him in. One of his coaches was going to give him shelter, until a school administrator advised him not to.
Finally, one weekend JC was totally out of control, he stole a car and wrecked it. The person who owned the car reluctantly pressed charges, with the hope that this might break JC's cycle of destructive decision-making.
A few days in Riverhead did sober JC up. He promised the world, if he was given a second chance. An extended family member who lived in the district agreed to take him in. He was put on probation for the auto theft and counseling was mandated.
For a few months, the old JC seemed to reappear. He was again focused on school and sports. He was respectful to his cousin and wife who took him in. However, by the summer of his junior year, he was a wild man again.
This time around he had become cleverer. He had developed more creative ways for getting over on the system. He was not as reckless as he had been the year before, but he was definitely not focused on doing the right thing.
By the middle of his senior year, he was having an extraordinary football season, but was failing all of his classes. He was failing because he was not going to class and was not handing in his work. His high school graduation was in jeopardy.
At the end of football season, he literally dropped out of school and life. He disappeared from the social landscape of his community.
The rumors that circulated indicated that maybe he had tried to join the military like some of his classmates. Other stories indicated that he had moved to New York City and had become involved in the drug underground.
Eight months later, he resurfaced. He had drifted around the metropolitan area, living from hand to mouth. His mother was released early from prison for good behavior, but was quickly re-arrested for violating parole due to a series of failed drug tests.
Her additional incarceration caused JC to take pause and look at his life. Someone he respected offered to help him get his high school equivalency diploma and to help him get into college.
JC realigned his priorities and seemed to get back on track. He received a very high score on his GED exam and was accepted at a small, strong, liberal arts college. He lived on campus and played football his first semester. He did well on the playing field, but lacked the discipline and motivation for the classroom.
In the spring semester, he was put on academic probation. He struggled to finish the term. His football coach told him that he was an asset to the team, but if he wanted to play in the fall, he would have to bring up his grade point average. JC swore to the coach that he would take summer classes at home and do exactly that.
Summer came and went and JC did nothing but hang out and party. He never registered for the fall term of his sophomore year. He moved out of his cousin's home and moved in with a group of wild friends. He started a ten-year odyssey of drifting and drugging.
At the age of twenty-nine, his high school sweetheart, who did graduate from college, became pregnant. They moved in together. He started a business for a while that was paying the bills, but his drug use sucked up all the profits. His business collapsed three months after his son was born.
For a short time, he tried to be a responsible Dad and did odd jobs to make money, but that plan was short lived. Now all he does is drink and get high. He is literally destroying himself. His friends are enabling him, because some of them party with him, even though they know his history. When they are confronted, they give lame excuses as to why they don't confront their friend and try to help him.
JC was once a brilliant, gifted scholar and athlete who is on the verge of destruction. What will it take to empower him to reclaim his life? Or is it to late?