Stories Lived

Drugs & Lifestyle Choices: Leon’s Story

Step Back in time, I’m 26 six years old, in the prime of my life. I have ten men working for me building and siding custom homes in Alaska. The building season is winding down and my crew and myself did very well that season. I was on my way to making a very good living for my young family and myself.

Anyway, my crew and I have a little celebration party.

Well, that little celebration party almost cost me my life and did cost me everything that was dear to me. See, that night I started mixing drugs and alcohol and had a drug over dose. Not a ordinary overdose, one that caused a blood vessel that supplies oxygen to the part of my brain that controls motor movement to rupture, leaving me totally paralyzed for weeks, (a massive stroke).

You may be asking what kind of drugs. But it doesn’t really matter at this point. It was the lifestyle I chose to live back in seventh grade. A lifestyle choice that was made out of ignorance, of not understanding the deeper issues involved in the choices we make, like living your whole adult life disabled.

After ten days in a coma, I wake up with a wet rag in me mouth totally paralyzed, The doctors thought I might swallow my tongue, when and if I came out of it. When I did come out of it no one knew it. I could hear prayer and everyone in the room talking about me as if I were dead. With my eyes frozen, I could hear the doctors tell my mother, “If He does live, he will to need constant care the rest of his life”.

For the next weeks, it was my mind and myself trying to figure out what was going on. It took me 12 weeks of eternities, filed with hallucinations in a convalescent state to make sense of what had happened to me.

Soon, I would be teaching my muscles the most basics of life like drinking water and sitting in a chair. My lifeless body would slither to the ground, if I had no seat-belt holding me into my wheel chair. I spent months in a convalescent Hospital drooling on myself, not be even able to hold my head up, thinking of where I was in life and where I was now. After Two and half years, I was finely able to walk by myself.

After 35 years I can hold my own, to a limited extent.

I have no pleasant memories of my adult life, just struggles, existing from one place to another. I never took my boys to a ball game, or out to have pizza on a Friday night after practice.

I never lost any of my memory or my mental capacity, just my motor movement was affected. I have to thank God for that one. Life with out motor control is a major inconvenience, but at least I am still able to reason and execute plans and dream.

I’m not to happy about how my life went, but the final chapter has not been written. I will never get back those thirty-five years. But if I’m smart about it I will utilize my life story to reach out to young people and encourage and counsel them to make positive choice for their futures. Encourage them to catch a vision of their futures and if they don’t like what they see, they have the power to change their lives and humanity into all they can imagine and more.


About the Filmmakers
Submitted by Leon Crandell

Myself and John Risky Boltz Work together @ division digital to create videos and inspire people in the inland northwest.

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