Stephen Boling tells cautionary tale to studentsOct 23rd, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: community
Stephen Boling, 25, knows a thing or two about second chances.
In the early morning hours of New Year’s Eve 2011, Boling was returning home from the bar after a long day of celebrating the life of his best friend, who died three days earlier.
“I made a promise to him that I was going to straighten my life up, stop drinking, stop doing drugs,” said Boling. “And then that night, I was coming home and wrecked.”
Boling says he was aggravated, and was speeding down a wet Hwy. 23. when his truck fishtailed, causing him to lose control and crash into a telephone pole, only a mile-and-ahalf from his home.
“If you don’t slow your butt down, God will take your legs out from under you,” said Boling with a surprisingly upbeat voice, as he laid in bed at his Port Sulphur home, paralyzed from the waist down.
Boling grew up fast, he says, and got his first taste of rebellion through substance abuse around the age of 13. His father, a valedictorian law student at LSU, came home to Port Sulphur to celebrate passing the bar exam and died of an overdose when Boling was only 9 years old.
During his young adult life, he was in and out of jail for alcohol violations, drug possession and violating his probation.
“I was spoiled and I took everything for granted; I didn’t really care about life that much,” he said frankly.
Cole Sisung, Administrator for the F.I.N.S. program [Families in Need of Services], said that despite the program’s efforts to help him change, Boling was headstrong and set on blazing his own self-destructive path.
“He was constantly on our case load; but he continued to disobey and lead that lifestyle,” said Sisung.
Unfortunately, it was his life-altering car accident that set him on the right path. Boling is now a Christian, the proud father of a 4-month-old son, and is still looking toward the future. He is currently using his harrowing experience for the ultimate good: sharing his story with trouble teens in Plaquemines Parish’s F.I.N.S. program.
“Judge Clement’s vision is to better educate kids on the dangers of that lifestyle, with the goal of keeping them out of the criminal justice system,” Sisung, a F.I.NS. Administrator explained.
F.I.N.S. focuses on turning children’s bad behavior around through outlets like their mind/body program, teaching them healthy coping skills, and through motivational speakers like Boling.
“We had Stephen come out and speak, and he’s had a really powerful impact and really connected with the clients,” said Sisung.
Boling says it is now his life’s charge to help lead teens away from a destructive lifestyle. He hopes to continue his motivational speaking on a broader level someday, but for now, reaching out to the ones close to home are crucial to him.
“I’m trying to motivate others through my testimony,” he said firmly. “I would like for kids to know you can fun without drugs or drinking; none of that makes you happy, you only get it for a second and then its gone.”