I’ve located another amazing transformation story for you today!
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Introduction to Robert:
Robert Gallant grew up in a troubled environment, where he became a dysfunctional alcoholic at a young age. Under his drunken exterior hid a heart of gold and a sparkling brilliance, however, his life brought him through many tragic events, caused by a series of bad choices, including three years of homelessness. After a life-altering event that led to his incarceration for an extended period of time, he turned his life around, let his heart and his brilliance shine for all to see, and never looked back. His life of destructive addictions is no more. Through a dedication to self-improvement and education he has become an accomplished public speaker, author, mentor, and leader. He is ALB and ACB Certified from Toastmaster’s International, and is pursuing an ongoing education in Christian care and counseling. He recently completed the necessary classes to become a Certified Peer Specialist, volunteers as a Life Coach at a prison re-entry center, and just recently was asked to possibly join the National Alliance to End Homelessness! He currently lives as a happily married man, with an amazing family. His goal is to help others find the same success and peace he has gained.
Aza -. What charges/convictions have you faced, and how did they initially impact your life?
Robert – During my life, I have faced a multitude of criminal charges. They all had one thing in common – they stemmed from my addiction to alcohol. The various charges I have faced have had different degrees of impacts upon my existence, depending on where I was in life, and what I “had going for me.” There was also one common thread that ran through the impacts – every charge made me feel worthless, ashamed, and hopeless. It didn’t matter if it was something as minor as the many “drinking in public” charges I picked up when I was homeless, or the most serious one – 2nd degree murder. This last one forced me to face myself, and who I had become. This was not me. I was a boy, and then a man, with hopes and dreams – someone who cried at those commercials that play sad songs while they show you pictures of homeless puppies. I loved life, and everything it represented. This inner reflection was the beginning of healing.
Aza – What was the factor in your earlier life that really drove you ‘into the bottle’ so to speak?
Robert – At first, I drank just to fit in. All my “friends” were doing it and I wanted to be accepted. It didn’t dawn on me later on in life that the REAL problem was that I wanted to be accepted – by anyone who would have me. My Dad abandoned my Mom and I when I was 11 years old. When I later reflected on my life while I was incarcerated, I learned that ever since my Dad left us, I had a deep longing for acceptance – for a family. That longing led me to become something, and someone, I wasn’t. I left behind my true self to search for wholeness at the bottom of a bottle, and the many people I falsely called “friends.”
Aza – What was the changing point in your life, what was it that catalyzed your transformation?
Robert – The thing that catalyzed my transformation cannot be pinpointed to one exact moment. I can only give credit to God. I grew up as a “good little Catholic boy,” so I always knew OF God. I didn’t truly get to know Him until I became homeless. During my time as a vagabond, I met this one homeless man who didn’t drink or do any drugs. He was always happy and content. I wanted to learn his secret, so I started hanging around him. It turned out that his joy came from God. He spent every morning alone in prayer as he read the Bible. He was literally high on the life that only comes from God. I began to change as I hung around him more. I actually stopped drinking for a few months. It was so amazing! I found joy in reading the Bible, singing hymns, and just enjoying the world that God created for us. This peace unfortunately didn’t last. I eventually started drinking again, and ended up in prison for my involvement in my friend’s death. It was at that somber time that I realized two people died for my sins – Jesus Christ, and my friend. At that moment I made a promise that their blood would not be shed in vain. I confessed to my involvement, and left myself at the mercy of the court.
Aza – What was the first step you took toward changing your life?
Robert – Confession. I had to admit to myself that I am absolutely nothing without God. With this basic admission, came the need to learn more about God. I ordered a Bible from the chaplain’s office, and read it cover to cover multiple times. I found like-minded people and began to fellowship. I also searched for any positive program I could take part in. I got my G.E.D., joined Toastmaster’s International, and began a very deep self-study into history, science, and other amazing topics. This time of small beginnings led to bigger and better things in my life. I eventually became president of my Toastmasters club. (This is a public speaking and leadership organization) I even became the president of an extensive rehabilitation center I was housed at for the last year of my sentence. I was voted into this office by my peers, and had the responsibility to govern and lead over 150 men that were housed there! Above all, I needed to find things about me that I could love, and that nobody could take away from me. I learned that I am an amazing public speaker. I have a deep love for God. I get up every day and do my best. Nobody can take these things away from me. I am no longer defined by other people’s acceptance of me. I am defined by how God, and myself see me.
Aza – When did you realize that you had overcome your obstacles, or what let you know that you had really made a change in your life for the better?
Robert- Earlier this year my wife and I were going through a period of turmoil. We were experiencing so many crises at one time. My wife was hospitalized after she suffered a nervous breakdown stemming from trauma she suffered as a child, we were facing homelessness and bankruptcy, and I was waiting to find out if I got approved for medication to treat a potentially fatal disease I had contracted while I was an active addict. While my wife was hospitalized, my leadership and advocacy skills were given a chance to shine – and shine they did. Due to God’s unfailing mercy and love, He blessed me with the ability to navigate this huge storm. During the thick of the “battle”, a happy thought popped into my mind. Not once during this whole ordeal did the urge to drink come into my mind. I had been truly set free from my previous life. With a huge smile on my face, I said a prayer of thanksgiving to God. Fast forward to now – my wife is well on the road to recovery; I got approved for my medication, and am fully cured; we are happy home-owners; and we both have jobs we enjoy. Life is great, and God is good – all the time.
To learn more about Robert, please visit his website here: https://robertgallant.wordpress.com/
To check out Robert’s books, please visit his Amazon profile here: amazon.com/author/robertgallant
It is his utmost desire that you find much hope, inspiration, and growth from these works, and those to come.
I’d like to thank Robert again for his time, honesty, and openness. I also congratulate him for coming so far from such a painful life.
We each face huge challenges in our lives, but we can rise up and meet them, no matter our backgrounds. Keep moving forward!
Love and Peace