What are you willing to do for love? Chances are you have heard them all before — climb mountains, swim oceans, work long and hard, sacrifice, or maybe even sacrifice your own life. Love is the great motivator and that is something that you need to keep in mind as this story unfolds.
Sure Tommy Weber drank and smoked pot when he was in high school, but he also regularly did cocaine. He had a bit of a wild streak as a teen, but what prompted his use? “Just the buzz,” Weber replies. He was adventurous and wanted to try everything. “I have a great family, great mom and dad,“ he says. He was stubborn and he had to do things his way. That hurt and helped.
In his twenties he added pills to the mix. Then in his thirties he added heroin. You have to wonder how he functioned. Weber says, “I started out snorting but then I was doing 1/2 gram a day and at the end I was shooting 2 grams a day. It got to the point where I got up at one o’clock to get high because I was getting sick. I would go to work. Then at lunchtime I had to get high so I wouldn’t get sick.” But when the snorting ceased to have much an effect, “Then someone showed me a needle and I’m petrified of needles,” Weber adds. “That’s when I know it was bad. And everything spiraled downward.” He admits that he was spending about $160 per day on drugs. That’s over $1,100 per month.
He readily admits that he did stupid stuff that eventually caught up with him. He worried his family. His parents took the bold step and had him arrested. He lost custody of his children. Weber says, “When I woke up in the jail cell, I said to myself, I must have done something really stupid. My mom and dad, of all people, put me in jail. Then I started to think about all of the stupid stuff I did. And that motivated me to not do it again.” But first he had a few debts to pay so he remained in jail for eleven months. It was not easy, but he was stubbornly determined.
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After he suffered through withdrawal in jail, he had lots of time to reflect on what he did to arrive at this point in life. Admitting a wrong was not enough to him in order to make things right. “I just can’t say it; I have to show it. I have to walk this path that I chose and show them that I am sorry. And I will make it up to them,” he observes. He was motivated by his children and his parents. He became determined to regain custody of his children and the trust of his parents. He knew that they loved him because they put him jail. He admits that, “Many friends gave up on me. I don’t blame them. It was tough.”
He got out of jail, a family member gave him a job, and he began to rebuild his life. “I stay away from those old people, places, and things,” became a guiding force. He kept reminding himself that his parents put him in jail and how much he missed his children. “I didn’t want to go back to jail and I didn’t want to be six feet deep,” he says. “I thought about how to change, how not to go back to that lifestyle….I changed the people and circumstance. I changed that because that old way didn’t work. Until you’re ready to change, you won’t change.”
But then something happened that he didn’t expect. He met a woman, Christin, and she changed everything. Actually, he changed everything for her. He confessed everything to her. He didn’t hold back. She didn’t run away, but they moved slowly. At one point Weber’s father told Christin that, “He leaves a wake of victims and you will be the next one.” It didn’t turn out that way, but he was trying to protect her.
Christin says, “I came into the picture about two years ago.” She admits that she had to fight suspicion. “It’s not easy. Trust is a huge thing. We started out slowly.” There is no question now, though. Tommy gives his paycheck to her and he receives an allowance. He claims that it keeps him on the right path.
They took the leap and married in December. Asked how life is now, she says, “Life is great! Awesome!” She smiles and jumps a little in her chair. Tommy Weber says, “My kids were my real motivation to change. And now I’m married and my wife gives me life. She makes me happy. She married into three kids. She’s a saint!” He chuckles and smiles. They look at each other across the table and smile. Tommy has been reunited with his children, he is in love, and life is good.
|Tommy and Christin Weber|
That stubborn aspect of his personality helped. He says, “Yeah, if I wasn’t so stubborn I probably would have given up.” He wants to tell his story. “Now I want to prove everyone wrong. I want to prove the news wrong. There is a better way. There is an out. There’s a better path. There is a lot of hope. I don’t regret anything I have ever done. I have learned from everything I have done. I’ve tried everything.” He takes a long pause before adding, “I don’t want to go back there.” To heroin. To jail. To losing his family.
Is it getting easier? “I say it’s easy, but in my head it’s hard. I tell myself that one dumb little thing will set me off and I would lose everything - wife, kids, house, everything. I don’t want to lose this,” he says.
Someone is bound to ask him for advice. He is reluctant to tell someone what to do. He just says, “Here’s my story. The rest is up to you.”
Stepping forward to tell his story, their story, is a brave act because we often rush to judgment. But don't be so quick here. Love stories reveal themselves in unusual ways. Tommy Weber was no saint, but he is a good man who loves his family, his wife, and his life. That, coupled with his stubborn determination to show the world something, brought him a certain salvation and peace and that is a story worth telling and hearing. Today is Valentine’s Day and if there is ever a love story to celebrate, it is this one.