CAVEAT – NONE OF THIS APPLIES TO ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS. That is a completely, absolutely, profoundly different situation and NOTHING here applies. If you are in an abusive situation, call the Stepping Stones helpline and debrief with one of our advocates.

“I just need someone to give me a second chance. I have been clean and sober for eight months, I have paid my fines, my probation is over in two weeks; I know I may not get my kids back, but I am going to therapy, three meetings a week – staying sober is number one. I can do this, I won’t screw this up. I need this…”

“Well, I’m willing to give it a try, but let’s lay out my expectations and conditions.”

After this particular conversation, for some reason, it occurred to me that most of what I do (what we do at Stepping Stones) is about “second chances”. And how over the years, I have developed an informal methodology for structuring second chances. This method is grounded in the authentic hopefulness that comes from accepting personal responsibility and that elevates people’s belief in themselves to be better and to find new meaning and value to their lives. The goal is to frame these second chances with honesty and effort to meet their need to find meaning – not mine – so as to not compromising my own values and ethics and protect Stepping Stones’ integrity and reputation for serving this community.

  1. watch ventolin inhaler going generic enter buy term papers college furosemide side effects easyjet edinburgh to belfast go thesis on inflation and unemployment case study evaluation source url here elements of an expository essay essay questions on the louisiana purchase 1st day on clomid cialis side effects chills cialis e sonnolenza cover letter order online get link write my assinment go to link cialis spring arbor lasix overnight shipping banned book essay harry potter essay cleopatra where can i purchase viagra in the uk Don’t deny, disguise, or distort the reason for redemption. Whether it’s a co-worker who is consistently late or has a time management issue that is resulting in serious consequences. Or someone who needs to come into our shelter program for a second time. Or a co-worker whose own alcohol use has created negative performance issues. Or someone applying for a job that has a criminal record. Don’t make light-heartedness or minimize the intensity of the situation to lessen the awkwardness of the conversation or because you want the other person to feel “comfortable” talking to you. If you are the type of person that needs to be liked or wants people to think you are their hero/savior, then you are destined for disappointment. You will be taken hostage by language such as “I couldn’t do this without your help”, “you’re amazing”, “you are not like anybody I have ever known”, blah, blah, blah. You will feel like you have been taken advantage of if the second chance goes bad.
  2. STOP talking. Let the other person debrief about their history or the issue needing correction or redemption. The less you speak the sooner authenticity and honesty surface. The other person learns that however ugly the facts are, you will accept those facts unconditionally and non-judgmentally. If you are the kind of person that needs to postulate and show people how wise you are, the truth goes underground and people start telling you what you want to hear. Again, you will be disappointed and ultimately feel taken advantage of. Now, if you decide to hear them, listen for the language of personal responsibility. If you hear a lot of they did, he did, the police did, my ex did, I put in so many hours, you said, or whatever – this person may not be a good candidate for a second chance. Repeat back what you really heard them say and frame it as straightforward as possible. “So you were angry at your boyfriend and you went to the bar, left your kids in the car, got drunk, got back in your car with your kids asleep in the back seat, drove drunk and got pulled over. You were arrested and charged with extreme DUI and child endangerment”? “Your kids live with your mother, you are on probation for three more weeks and…”, or “you missed your second deadline extension because somehow your work was accidently deleted and…”, “you have no idea why for the third time this month, your cash register was $75 short at the end of the day and…”. If the person owns this – that’s a huge first step. If the person continues to try to correct your interpretation with softer, minimizing language – this person may not be a good candidate for a second chance.
  3. Lay out your boundaries and conditions. Again, do not deny, disguise, soften or minimize your lines in the sand in an effort to “make nice”. You must proceed here with the respect and honor for the persons capability to rise to the occasion. When you lessen or soften your expectations, you are diminishing the person’s capacity for profound personal growth and you are de-edifying the necessity of taking absolute personal responsibility to making change in their life – e.g. you must attend three AA meetings per week and bring me the secretary slips to prove you went. You must be on time to the minute, every day without exception, and so on. Remember you are doing this to optimize their second chance success, not to show how much power you have over them; to control their behavior, to be parochial, or to make the point of how bad their past mistakes were and now you must pay. During the time you are defining these boundaries, conditions or expectations – incorporate the notion that there may be a real barrier to these expectations. Such as prior diagnosed mental health issue or learning disability or drug addiction. Potential barriers may be part of the conversation, but make it a point to let the other person know what your expectations are, it is up to them to decide if they can rise to the occasion, get professionally assessed to identify potential barriers to success and get professional help to deal with those issues. These are the margin calls for your investment, to make sure you don’t become over invested in this and lose yourself and your objectivity. You want to be able to walk away in the end, whether successful or not, you acted in good faith and the outcome was their responsibility.
  4. Watch what they do, not what they say they are going to do. What are they doing to show your investment is going to pay off for them and you? If part of their condition was they were going to go to meetings, are they actually doing it or are they saying their car is broken and they couldn’t go to any the first week. Are they actually taking a class in time management or are they saying they are going to try to focus more? If they were to get signed up for healthcare and they say “I was going to but I haven’t had a chance to do all the paperwork yet”. Or if their probation is extended because they had only one beer and someone who doesn’t like them told their probation officer. Do not move the line in the sand. Do not look the other way or accept what they “say”. By not demanding actual behavior reflect their commitment to the second chance conditions, you are enabling them by accepting less and seriously diminishing their chances of changing their lives.
  5. Expect nothing less and accept nothing else. “I was late because I stayed an extra two hours cleaning. You should be grateful that I cleaned when no one else did.” If you are giving someone a second chance to change the behavior of being consistently late and one of your expectations was that the person must be on time from now on….accept nothing else. The presentation of something else – “but I did this instead” is the beginning of the indoctrination process of you starting to make excuses for moving the line. It is creating chaos in an attempt to distract our focus from the parameters of the second chance. Do not waiver – expect nothing less and accept nothing else.
  6. Walk forward and give them the unfettered opportunity to follow. Do not put them on a leash, do not incentivize success with treats, and do not pontificate the importance of their loyalty to you and the path. If they don’t follow, do not move the line in the sand…stick to your agreements. Do not try to pull them along to show how generous you are. This produces a huge power imbalance that may fill your need to feel important, generous and amazingly understanding, however will stunt their ability to find meaning and empowered themselves. Together you have built a clear path to a successful second chance. You walk that path in good faith and authenticity and see where THEY CHOOSE to take it.