The day Randy Anderson was sentenced to more than 87 months in federal prison was the worst day of his life.
At one point in his life, Randy was using and dealing cocaine daily. That lifestyle caught up with him one day in 2004 when he came home to find himself surrounded by police vehicles and officers with guns drawn.
To avoid any lengthy jail time, Randy volunteered to enter a drug treatment program. After completing the program at the Minneapolis drug treatment facility RS Eden, he was arrested on drug charges again. It was Randy’s second stay at the RS Eden that sent the message that would change his life.
“One of the counselors told me I was being stubborn,” he said. ”That was my turning point.”
His counselor challenged Randy to enter sobriety and, not one to turn down a challenge, he obliged. He’s been sober since Jan. 10, 2005. However, despite his recent sobriety, Randy still needed to account for his past actions. He was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.
The day Randy drove himself to prison was the scariest day of his life.
“My heart fell out of my chest,” he said. “I was devastated by an outcome that was so much worse than I ever could have imagined.”
Randy was able to reduce his sentence to 54 months with good behavior. After his release and once he acquired a steady job, his newlywed wife encouraged him to look at postsecondary education.
“I decided to go for it, but at the age of 43, I was scared to death of going back to school,” he said.
His first day of class at MCTC was the second scariest day of his life. He remembers turning around in his car to go back home twice, and telling himself he couldn’t do it.
When he finally arrived at the College, he found the atmosphere inviting. Within moments of his arrival, Randy was approached by a fellow student who offered him directions. Randy realized involvement would be his key to success as an adult student coming back to college, and shortly thereafter he connected with Student Life and the Addiction Counseling Club.
“If you don’t become involved with Student Life, you’re missing out,” he said. “It made my educational experience as a middle-aged man really fun.”
Diving into MCTC’s renowned Addiction Counseling program, Randy found his niche. Drawing on a lifetime of connecting and building rapport with new acquaintances, Randy used his involvement and connections jump start his education and work toward a future career as an addiction counselor.
“In any client-focused career, you have to find a way to connect with someone on a personal level,” said Randy. “As an outgoing person and someone with experience going through addiction counseling, my goal is to connect with the people who went through what I went through.”
Before he graduates from his program in December, Randy will spend the summer interning at RS Eden—the very place that turned his life around. He already knows he’s on the right track, too. “I was offered to stay on as a counselor after my internship,” he said. “I’m starting my future right out of the gates.