I am writing this letter proceeding a request for some insight on the type of person that I was when I received a criminal conviction. I want to let you know that no amount of writing can ever exactly show you who I was a few years ago, what I went through, what I learned from it, and what I did with the experiences I had gathered from my lifestyle I live. A lot of pain goes into becoming a better person, and without it change does not always occur. Thank you for considering me for a candidate in this profession.
The girl I was a few years ago walked down a long road that got thinner by the moment. I had many beautiful dreams and talents, but something inside me stopped me from running after them. I don’t want you to think that I am making excuses for why I was an addict, although I did have reasoning behind my decisions such as domestic violence with the father of my daughter who was also an addict, internal insecurities, and other extreme pressures. In the end it was my own decision, to use and then become used by drugs themselves. I began using when I was in my late teens, after never being the type to use at all. I formed a relationship with a man who is now my daughter’s father, he was an addict and I was then exposed. I didn’t know much about drugs, and I tried them, I ended up becoming addicted to narcotics. I made many hurtful mistakes to myself and others that I am to this day not proud of, I was feeling hopeless and had lost faith in nearly everything including my higher power. The only thing that kept me functioning and breathing, was my job. I decided it was ethically not in best interest for me to stay employed, and I then moved to Florida for rehabilitation. The only hope I had left was working with people, and when I couldn’t do that anymore I realized I had ruined everything including my relationship with my daughter. She was a year old and had been staying with my mother, I felt she was better with her than in my dangerous situation. Although I was an addict, I tried so hard to find something good in my days. I tried to stay positive and get my daughters father to want change with me, and I knew I was built for more than this shell of a human. At my worst I was homeless in my car, wondering if I would wake up the next morning. I was mentally, physically and spiritually robbed of anything I had ever had by my own self destructive habit. At one point I was a straight-A student that everyone saw beautiful bright future for, I was going to become an art and English major! Never in my life did I suspect I would become and addict and end up homeless, never in my life did I work think I would be a nurse either. At that point I didn’t think I would worry about buying a house, or having a decent credit score. I did not ever want to get married and I did not want kids. After I was arrested for forging checks, I felt a pressure lift from somewhere deep inside. I had prayed to a higher power for some sort of intervention that was beyond me, because I felt that I was powerless. I was very thin, very sickly looking and also very sick on the inside. Never in my life would I have thought I would be where I am now. The girl I am now is better than the girl I wanted to be, the me I envisioned was strong, but I am stronger. With a little work, my life became a miracle beyond my hopes and dreams. My future was once a black page, and now very, very real and alive. After I prayed to my higher power, I was arrested and liberated from the shackles I had placed on myself. I was put in a cell small enough to make me face all my demons. I decided then that I was done, I would never let this chance go to waste. I feel that every human good bad or indifferent deserves a second chance at life, at redemption. In this process I’ve seen people move mountains with just a sprinkle of faith and encouragement, people that were incarcerated and cycled through the system, broken out into the world and made something out of nothing. These people like myself, don’t talk back to you, or show you how tough they are, they stay quiet and give back to the world that they took from. They know the only way to overcome the trauma inside of them is to give to others so that they don’t go back. By giving back we save ourselves a lot of grief, we right our wrongs and put hope that someone else’s child, mother, father, sister brother, can get sober too and become a better person than they were before. Many of us in recovery suffer from mental health, before or after our drug use. By accepting ourselves, we learn to deal with things like anxiety or depression with love and support from our community, counseling and medication prescribed by our doctors.
This epidemic is very real, and it is only going to get worse; we need more nurses that are trained to spot, identify, analyze and put to work individualized treatment plans for each addict and alcoholic. Experienced nurses are the best nurses, not only do they relate, but they can identify self deception and manipulation. The worst process I will have to face is always holding myself accountable. It is very easy to be accountable with a judge holding a gavel over your head, or a panel of people approving your license, but the real test comes when you are free of all these people. The test comes when there’s no longer a criminal conviction staying above you. In order to maintain my sobriety, I go to outpatient regularly and voluntarily. I am on unsupervised probation that requires I call an automated system once a month and pay my restitution. There is no one mandating me to counseling, or to take drug screens. I see my doctor and maintain my health and upkeep. I speak at schools to children about domestic violence, drug addiction and other hard to swallow subjects. I work with KED (Kids Escaping Drugs) a rehab for kids stemming from West Seneca, NY that last minute had be speak for them and love me on their team. They recently filmed a documentary with me as one of the main stories in October of this year. I go to meetings, the meetings are extremely important there are foundation made up of people that have felt the same things and want the same result. I have also chaired two meetings in the past, and stay very apart of my homegroup and AA/NA community. They basically teach you how to become a better person, anyone with any type of compulsion could go to one and feel better. The fellowship itself is beautiful and it teaches you how to put some faith in to any type of higher power. I also do not drink although I never had a problem with alcohol, I make the conscious choice to keep myself safe and healthy. I do not put myself in situations that can threaten the life I have begun to build. I also have a wonderful family that loves and supports me when I am feeling less than expected.
- The crime I committed was taking checks that were not my own from my grandmothers frozen bank account and writing them out to someone that I would then pay to cash. There was never and I mean never, enough money to fill my addiction. I felt as if I was filling a cup with a hole at the bottom without getting the sip of water I needed. I could’ve won the lottery and still ran out within the year (depending on which lottery jackpot). The difference between then and now is that I do not need money to be happy, or fulfilled. Living comfortably is a wonderful goal I seek to have a better life, in order to achieve this I have talked about money management in rehabilitation courses, my personal counseling and my own personal research. I managed to get an online savings account as well as finally opening a normal bank account last year. I utilized a scholarship given to me through Access-VR for nursing school, and used the loan to fund my bills. At one point I had never considered checking my credit score or worrying about the kind of financial reputation I had, and now I have been making advances to fulfill that. I’ve been responsibly making payments on things without overdoing it so that I am still financially stable. I give my grandmother money so she can sustain me living in my daughter in the other half of her house. I have given her whatever I can give her to pay her back for everything I’ve put her through. I also paid off old parking tickets, made payments on my restitution, payed others back that had given me money in my addiction, and I usually try to donate to a cause with a small amount. At one point donating wasn’t even a question. My main concern is giving back to the people that deserve it, while being able to survive on the funds I have. I’m not going to lie and say I haven’t been broke before. I spent nearly a year completing my rehabilitation, that was a rehab facility, long term treatment, a halfway house and THEN continued outpatient. In this time I was normally completely broke and had to rely on my support system to help me. This is my mother, father, and grandmother who have taken the time to give to me when I was healing myself and TRULY needed it. I did not commit any crime to fulfill the hole in my pocket while getting clean, nor have I ever stolen anything since then to have money. Drug addiction creates a desperation beyond explanation, after years of battling it, years of having NO criminal activity, I gave up and fell to my knees of the lifestyle calling my name to fulfill the addiction. I have a daughter that also needs clothes and food, with that being said I also live in a house with my grandmother who has to eat. I have to contribute to the household to keep it afloat. I want you to know I would hope I would never ever hurt anybody again, especially the way I did before. I’ve had my debit card stolen, refund checks lost, and decided that karma does come back around and all I can do is hope I get my money back. The future I would like is not too far away, with all my fines and payments being paid better due to my rise in salary, I will soon be able to pay everything off and go back to college and buy a house. I would love to do anything in my power to create a private environment for my daughter and I of our own as long as my grandmother is in safe keeping.
Due to the delay in my license I have passed up some opportunities to progress such as starting an RN program that required my license numbers to begin. I have tried to be as patient as possible, but I was very excited about moving forward in my career. I would like to finish my education while my daughter is still young so I can continue to expand my mind and our future. I was offered many other well paying jobs, but decided my future is with the Chautauqua Nursing and Rehabilitation until I finish my future schooling. I truly thought this would be the easiest part of my process after passing my boards and providing documentation, but I do not mind explaining my situation. I understand my past makes me a liability and I will work with whatever is required of me to build trust and succeed.
Over the last two years I was faced with very strenuous situation that most people could fail in. When I came home from treatment I began working again in an environment where I figured out drugs might of been present, I then left this job after getting another and went right to nursing school. Nursing school was not easy to get into, I had to explain my situation plenty of times and the wonderful people of the program saw a light in me, took the chance to be a conductor to my future. I fulfilled their expectations and the love and support I received from such amazing people taught me to stop judging others myself. I believed no one would help me because of my past and I was dead wrong. Many, many, people have almost carried me to where I am now, without the help I’ve asked for and received I would not be where I am. My grandfather had Alzheimers disease and became ill in my first few months of school, I juggled school, taking care of him while he was on hospice, working and being a mother at this time. I was very, very stressed, but I coped by going to my meetings every other night, talking to my counselor and getting involved in activities that made me feel good about myself when the world was falling around me. At one point his nurses handed me his narcotics and said, “you can give him these with his doses as specified times.” I told my family that I would like them present with me administering his medication, I did not feel triggered by giving my grandfather comfort medication, but through others experiences made sure I was prepared. Truthfully, it is not narcotics that trigger me, it was never the drugs themselves, I had an internal issue with myself that had to be dealt with. When I faced issues I did not want to feel, I used instead of working through them. I now work through my issues and tell the truth about them. I do not hide in the dark and hope someone sees me. I know my patterns, cycles and events that lead to my using. I have a relapse prevention plan, amazing support system such as my family, friends that do not use, coworkers that know my life and also hold me accountable, my teachers, those in the fellowship of my meetings, and people that work with recovering addicts like myself. I talk to MANY women about recovering physically and spiritually and finding a passion that they LOVE. The fire for my career burns much more brightly then my addiction tried to burn through me. This career is my calling, I want to give back and find people like myself who once felt alone in the world and now can be helped with a similar understanding. My patients need another good person in the field. With such a growing rate of addicts, there is a growing rate of recovering addicts in the nursing field as well. There are many people in the nursing field more worried about a paycheck than the people. I am currently working as a nursing assistant and feel very close to people. I am there for the patients and I will not give up on this career. It is my hope that nothing will stand between me and becoming a possible doctor and/or physicians assistant, for this is my ultimate goal. I have put my entire life into the last two years and fought harder and with more strength than I ever believed possible. I have proved many, many people wrong about their doubts and done everything in my power to achieve everything I set my mind to. It is not okay to commit crimes, but I also feel it is not okay to let a mistake determine the potential of another human being. I cannot make a decision on anyone else’s behalf, I cannot force anyone to trust me based on words, but if given the chance I can save lives and be one of the most compassionate and driven healthcare providers for this community. Please look into my case with great consideration of the positive things I have done in a short amount of time. If I am approved I will continue to move upwards and the sky is the limit for me. My community knows me and has put complete faith in me, and I hope you will also. I will never shun people away for their mistakes and will be the one that gives someone like me that push they need to succeed. No one can take these two years of redemption from me, and I will continue to redeem myself for my beautiful daughter and everyone that believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself.
Thank you so much for your time,
Brianna Jaynes, GPN