‘I’ve got a lot of apologizing to do’

(Video by Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News)

Lecon Chuitt grew up in Tyonek picking raisins out of his parents’ homebrew, he said.

He was 8-years-old when his brother, 13, got drunk and killed himself.

By the time he was a teenager, Chuitt was binge drinking too. A prison escape and armed robbery spree in his 20s landed him in prison for much of his adult life.

“The first month, I said, ‘Well, I’ve been clean a month. I’ve been clean two months.’ For some reason, when I hit that third month, I thought, ‘you know, I can go a year doing this. … Here I am 16 years later. It takes practice to become clean and sober. To become a free person. To be the kind of neighbor that you want to be, to be the neighbor that you want living next to you. It’s not easy to walk past a bar and not want to go in and have a drink. My motivation is just staying out and having that quality time with my family. When my mom flies into Anchorage, I want to be there and hang out and talk to her. Eat the meals that she cooks, all the meals that I missed when I was locked up.” — Lecon Chuitt, Food Bank of Alaska facilities and equipment supervisor.

Originally published November 8, 2013 in Anchorage Daily News.