Mark Steiner: A story of hope
Mark Steiner offered a message of hope to those involved in the legal system at this time and those who are on probation or struggling with addiction.
Steiner was invited to speak to Emery and Carbon county residents by Wade Allinson from the Adult Probation and Parole. Bill Allinson serves as a missionary at the Salt Lake County jail. During his time there he met Mark because one of the parolees said he could work for Mark and he gives people a chance. Allinson said they work with transitioning people from jail back into the community by helping them find a place to live and a job. They even help with clothes.
During Mark's time at prison he met this man and they planned on working together when they both got out, but this didn't happen. Mark started building his business and the other man reoffended, but when he got out the second time he wanted Mark to help him and give him a job. Mark said the only way he could do that is if he stayed clean. Mark took the man with him and after three days the man didn't show up.
Allinson said Mark's been working since being released from prison and went on to build a multi-million dollar business in roofing and insurance claim repairs. He has built a baseball facility and gives lessons and is giving back to the community and is married to an awesome lady. "Each one of you have that opportunity. There is that opportunity if you stay clean," said Allinson.
Allinson introduced Steiner to the audience. Steiner began by saying he has been sober since May 24, 2001. Steiner was involved with a program called Conquest at the prison. He has helped to get grants for the program. The program allows people to work on what they need to rejoin society.
"You have to want to be clean and sober," said Steiner. When he got out of prison he knew he couldn't go back to his old friends, in fact he said he didn't have any real friends. Just people, acquaintances he did drugs with. All they cared about was what kind of drugs you had that day.
"I wanted to give back. I wrote my autobiography called Resilience, the bounce back. I lost everything and then started over. My wife has never done drugs. I went to prison for meth. I was sick at the time I am grateful I went through what I did or I wouldn't be here today. My wife left me. I was running the streets," said Steiner.
Steiner emphasized that a person has to want to change. He and his wife Laura have come a long way from where they were to where they are today.
He described his lowest point as being in someone's old shed by himself and he was making meth. It was dirty and there were spare tires and he looked at his hands and they were black. That was the lowest point in his life.
He grew up in a troubled home and started using alcohol and marijuana as a youth. He was arrested for meth.
Laura said she would go and find her husband in drug houses. She would get him out of there. She couldn't believe he wouldn't want to be with her and their children in their beautiful home. Why would he want to be in a dark basement?
Mark was sentenced to five years in prison. Laura said they lost their home. They had three young kids and she had to plan and figure out how to make things work with Mark in prison.
Laura said she had plans to divorce Mark and she probably would have except for a program they had at the prison where the children were allowed to come and visit the inmate, but only if the couple was married. So she held on. She went to therapy and couples therapy and family therapy with Mark. She started seeing him heal and come back to the man she married.
Laura took in foster kids and was very busy keeping everything together, but she made it out to the prison to see Mark and give him that time. Laura said Mark was a loving man, and the addict was not who he was.
When Mark was released from prison he did whatever it took to get back his contractors license. He vowed to stay clean and sober. He said he only had to take one day at a time. Each day he would get up and say, "I can stay clean and sober this day. I worked for $15 an hour with a man fixing up houses and tearing up carpet. The man would fix up the houses and resale them. I wanted to help out financially. We had struggled in the past, but I didn't want to struggle financially ever again. There were a lot of things I didn't know how to do. But, I would read how to do them and then go out and do it," said Steiner.
He was able to get his contractors license back and the state kept a close eye on him.
Mark speaks to those in the state prison about recovery. He let's them know it can be done. He said he's honest and keeps his word. He does exactly what he says he will do. He loves baseball. It is a positive thing. He has put in a batting cage in his back yard that anyone can use. Some parents asked him if he would coach a little league team so he does and spends about 20 hours a week on baseball and teaching kids to hit the ball.
Mark said when he is out doing jobs if someone needs to talk, he will listen. One day he sat and listened to a little lady that was just lonely. He cancelled his other appointments for the day and just listened to her and another time to an older gentlemen. He hangs out with his grandson every Friday. Now, the most important thing to him is family. Not drugs.
He encouraged people to get the help they need. Sometimes when times get tough the old behaviors will try to come back, but he won't let it. He will do the opposite, he will go to a meeting, talk to his wife, play baseball, anything positive to combat old impulses. He has found positive things to do with his addictive behavior.
"You can't hang out with people who are using, they will try to draw you back in. I have addictive behavior. I won't drink alcohol, it will lead you back into drugs. Stay clean and sober and live your dreams. It is easier now than when I was back using drugs. I was pretty sick back then. I recently had a double hernia operation, but that was still better than using drugs. You have to want to stay sober. You need to give back to others. I take it one day at a time. I don't do it alone. I have angels in my life. My wife trusts me now. I give back to the community to kids and the elderly. I am always willing to give with no attachment. No one can take anything away from me. I have already lost everything. You must show up and you must suit up and help others along the way.
"Probation and parole can be tough, but it was easy for me. I didn't have to figure out a way to hide a dirty UA. I was clean, I didn't have to worry, if they showed up at my house, I didn't have to worry. I was off probation the first year. With my contractors license, I had to call in every day. But, it was worth it. I have employees and we have as much work as we want. I wasn't hit by the recession and was hiring employees.
"You need to spiritually reconnect. Whatever that is for you. There is someone bigger and greater out there. There are a lot of things I am grateful for in my life and it's not about money it's about people and grandkids.
"Don't hang out with people who use. It's a disease. Find outlets that will keep you emotionally fed.
Mark and Laura answered questions from the audience. One question was how the children were affected. Mark said the first two years back home were difficult, he had to rebuild relationships. His kids tested him to see if he would run.
Laura had a support system in place for Mark when he got out she had outpatient treatments set up. She didn't want him hanging around with the people from the prison. Mark said none of his children have used drugs, his behavior cured them of that.
"You have to show up and everything else will fall into place. You don't have to go down this road. Think of your family, think of the consequences. Flip the switch. Do the right things," said Steiner.