Everything was fine. I had a new job, enough money to do what I wanted, and plenty of friends. People knew me as a dude who just really liked to party. My weekends always started on Thursday nights…I never understood why people waited until Friday to celebrate. It was my third week on the new job, and I was really itching to go party. So I did. I got blackout, per usual - probably went to 3 bars, smoked a pack of Marlboro Lights, and drove home. I didn’t wake up until late Friday afternoon…I missed work, had several missed phone calls, and a miserable hangover.
Long story short, I got fired. This wasn’t the first time I had been fired, but it was the first time I had nowhere to turn. I had nothing. I spent my entire paycheck on partying the week before, I had already sold my furniture for cash, and I had already borrowed money from friends.
To me, the only logical option was to start stealing. So, I hopped in my truck and started scoping out some nearby neighborhoods. It was the middle of the day, so I knew most people were probably at work. I noticed a box on someone’s porch, parked my truck on the street, looked around to make sure no one was watching, pulled out my phone and pretended to be on a call, walked up to their door, took the box, and drove away. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even feel bad about it – I was excited to get home and see what was in there!
That day stands out in my mind as the real turning point for me, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Things went south. My morals, my attitude, my relationships, my work ethic, my desire to live – it all faded in a hurry. I stole like that for the entire summer. If something was valuable, I’d sell it. If it wasn’t, I’d throw it away.
It’s pretty tough to even put this in writing. I was such a terrible human being. Even 2+ years into sobriety, it’s hard to shake those feelings of regret, sorrow, and shame. A big part of my recovery involves “making amends” to others, wherever possible. That’s the real challenge, in this context, because I honestly don’t even know who I stole from – I don’t know how to make things right.
Luckily, God has started to show me how...
I initially started hand-delivering CLTIVATE orders just to save some money on shipping. If an order came in from anywhere in Charlotte, it made sense for me to just hop in my truck and drop it off. It’s so bizarre, but I realized I legitimately enjoy doing that. And now I know why:
With every package I leave at your door, I’m replacing something I stole. I get chills every time an order comes in, because it’s another opportunity to clear away the wreckage of my past. CLTIVATE has grown to a point where I can certainly focus my time on other things – delivering packages myself is just not a sustainable practice. But guess what? I don’t care. I’m going to keep doing it, because it’s so freaking cool, and I owe this world a lifetime of service.
God is such a great Redeemer, isn’t He!? Just two years ago, I was stealing boxes from front porches in broad daylight, and now I’m literally leaving boxes on porches by night. So when you see me driving around on Instagram, that’s what I’m doing. This is my “why”. Sobriety has shown me a life I never knew was possible, and CLTIVATE is my way of giving back.
Whether you’re in Charlotte or somewhere else, I’d love to send you something. By all means, overwhelm me with orders. This is a total God thing, and I’d love for you to be part of it!
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him shall be condemned. Psalm 34:22
-Zack Gudzan | Founder, CLTIVATE