Ron spent over 25 years behind bars.
Now he is committed to sharing the freedom he knows with others: a freedom he discovered behind bars, and now he is able to keep others from going through his same experience.
It's all about choices.
IT ’S NOT EASY for someone to say they can change, but our actions always speak louder than words.
I spent a lifetime saying I would change, only to fall back into the same destructive situations– drugs, stealing from family, drinking, sex and homelessness.
A series of bad choices led me into a life of crime. Should I blame it on bad parenting,bad luck, my circle of friends, people, places or things?NO.
We are all exposed to a wide variety of people and situations, but we are responsible for the choices we make.After spending 25 years in and out of prison, I was finally challenged to write my book,titled “Choices”. Every choice has a consequence – good or bad.Whether you decide to make good choices or bad choices, your life will be the result of those choices and consequences.
While I was in prison I exaggerated my own story to make myself sound better, seem tougher and look “badder” than the other inmates. I jockeyed for position behind those prison walls, in my cell, the yard and mess hall. The truth was that I was scared out of my mind. I was ashamed of my drug use, of the weeks at a time before I was in prison when I did not eat, sleep or bathe because of my addictions and running on the streets. This is not the sort of thing you discuss over lunch with people you just met.
I survived those years by humbling myself and reaching out to people and organizations willing to help me make positive choices. Had it not been for the outreach programs, mentoring, family, friends and men’s ministry, I would not be writing this story today.
One program in particular opened the door for inmates to receive books from other institutions and libraries throughout the state. Inmates could sign out a book from outside the facility and borrow the book for two weeks – just like a library. When I finally decided to let my old self die and set my sights higher than just myself, I started to read about seminars, public speaking, and helping others. I wanted to be a better person.
I checked out a book titled, “How to Run Seminars and Workshops”, by Rob Jolles. This book had a major impact on my life. The words were like the drugs I was used to on the streets – I couldn’t get enough of them! I needed my daily fix of Rob Jolles. When I finished reading that book, I was inspired to think of what my life could be if I did something similar to what Rob was doing. I wrote him a letter to tell him how his words impacted me. It was the beginning of dozens of letters back and forth from prison, the beginning of a friendship that continues to this day. Rob has been by my side,mentoring and encouraging me. My book would not have been written if it were not for Rob Jolles telling me, “Planning to write is not writing, thinking about writing is not writing. Talking about writing is not writing. Researching and outlining to write is not writing. None of that is writing. Writing is writing.”
When I finished writing, my book was more than 1,800 pages. I then began the daunting task of reducing it to one-quarter of the original length. The process of re-reading everything made me come to terms with who I had been. I saw how I had mistreated people, lied, stolen, and destroyed everything good in my life. I did not want to be that person any longer. The more I read, the more I realized that I needed to make a conscious choice to live like the person I was created to be.
First and foremost, I needed to be fully committed to a positive emotional and spiritual path. As I wrote about my past and reflected on everything that happened, I began to see Ron James for who he really was…..THEN and NOW.
The person I am today is not the person I was back then.
I was released from prison on May 14, 2012. Since that day I have not had an alcoholic drink or chased after drugs of any sort. I have not been arrested or detained for breaking the law.As a published author I've been invited all over the United States as a motivational speaker. I have experienced the joy of legally obtaining and paying for my home and a new car. I have been involved with Toastmasters International as a featured speaker, won speech competitions, and been elected club president. I have a wonderful wife by my side who knows my story, accepts me for who I am today, and wants to be with me for the rest of her life! We enjoy a blended family that includes four children and three grandchildren.
How did that complete change happen? The answer is: CHOICES – good, conscious, moral choices – and a relationship with a loving and merciful God. There are countless bad choices to be made every day, just as there are countless good choices. The choices you make today will determine your tomorrow. So make your next move your best move. Make your next choice your best choice.