After spending more than half my life in and out of jails, rehabs and prisons while battling drug addiction, I was a dead dog on the road of life. Down in the darkness of death’s doorstep, in the depths of despair, the Light began to dawn. Then everything changed.
By the time I entered the recovery house, I was already a successful author, having written several books on personal finance, identity theft and consumer issues. I had appeared on hundreds of radio and television talk shows as one of the nation’s leading credit experts. Writing was an essential part of my life, but something was sorely missing – my life was a miserable mess. I needed to do something different. I needed help.
As part of my treatment plan my counselor arranged for me to write out my moral inventory in the form of a memoir. For more than an hour a day I poured out all my thoughts and memories, frightfully surprised as rivers of poetry mixed with secret crimes and lovers bubbled to the surface of my soul and spilled out onto yellow legal pads. The result of this process was a catharsis that led to emotional healing and spiritual insight, transforming my life with a deep and permanent Light.
After a brief stint in law school, I changed course and earned my Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Screenwriting. I began writing screenplays and adapting books to film and television. I even wrote a comedy script about my experience in law school and adapted my book Identity Theft into a feature screenplay about a guy who takes the law into his own hands and goes after the person who stole his identity. But that’s another story.
In addition to writing books and making movies, I help others do the same through my work as a creative writing professor and literary consultant. I specialize in helping people become published authors so they can tell their stories and make a difference in the world. Writing transformed my life and I have seen it transform the lives of countless others. Stories heal. Stories change lives.
On the eve of Easter, 2013, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. granted me a full pardon. I hope my story will help others find the Light.
Recovery Date: October 31, 1997
Walnut Creek, CA