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The Holy Hustler: One Man’s Life and Change


“Feels good, the last 17 years. I haven’t had to lie, cheat or steal to get by.” ~ ‘John’ (The Holy Hustler)

A good friend of mine would always tell me stories of this man. Saying, “You have to meet him!”

My friend’s words about him painted this confusing picture, that left me curious. A very dark dangerous past of drugs, jail and mob activities with a happy ending. I had to meet him for myself. And this story is me meeting ‘The Holy Hustler‘. And for the purposes of this story, lets call him..’John’.

To meet John, he has the kindest smile, bright eyes, and an acoustic guitar he is playing as an electric. Welcoming, happy, content. I felt no fear meeting him. He was so open and free. He loves to share stories. Sometimes random memories or thoughts. The most powerful ones flowed so easily off his tongue, yet left me speechless. They also left me wondering if there was even truth within them. So I asked – and he replied, “Every word.”

He began to tell me his life story. Sharing it was quite easy for him.

There was no embarrassment. He felt his words with pride, sitting taller in his chair.

I’m a sucker for life stories, lessons and transformations. The stories he began to tell though, I could have never imagined was this man as the star. How could this man with such a dark history sit talking to me, and I feel no fear? None.

John had so much to say, and so much to share. And he will say just to help motivate, and to help others change with his story.

Because, if he could change, anyone could..

One Life Story:

As a child, John grew up with both parents, 2 sisters and a brother. His Dad was extremely strict while his Mom was quite trusting and loving. Both were Italian. He recalls having tons of freedom with no curfew. Most nights he would crawl home in the wee hours of the morning. Although his Dad would try to ‘lay down the law’, his mother would always talk his father into leniency. He quit high school in grade 9 and received a PhD, (Pool Hall Diploma). Learning more at the pool hall, than he ever did in school.

At 17 years old, he was working full time and had his own apartment. At 18, he starting playing guitar but found it attracted too many ‘friends’. He never really enjoyed groups, and absolutely did not enjoy the attention the guitar brought. He would spend most nights handing the guitar over to someone else to play. It was around this time that he also met crime, drugs and partying hardcore.

 “With the booze, came the drugs and the trouble.” ~ The Holy Hustler

Choices Made – Games Played

He told stories of parties lasting months at stolen credit card customers expense.

They would steal credit cards and take off to a hotel somewhere and feel like he was on top of the world. He believed this was happiness. During this fun happy time, he developed a 1 gram a day Cocaine habit that lasted 2 yrs, and smoking herbs regularly with a months bender whilst on both, mushrooms and acid as well. Apparently he didn’t care for either one, but he said nothing was ever just tried – when there was a new drug you dove right into it.

During this ‘disco’ era, he was also a bartender. From 18-28 he was involved with organized crime. With a hefty record including attempted murder, assault, fraud, drug smuggling and enforcing debt repayments. While living in this dark period he felt this was normal. Although his soul felt things needed change. Being banned from a province for 6 months and jail were punishment for his crimes. He blames booze. “The partying, women, drugs and the booze,” he stopped for a few seconds reminiscing, “ Booze made me stupid.”

These stories he told were so truthful. It was so difficult to see this man who sat talking, as the star to this insanity.

Stabbings, unlimited drugs, stealing and naked parties of unlimited proportions.He constantly stopped to shake his head feeling remorse and laughing at the craziness that once was his life. At 29 he completely quit drinking, met his ex wife and together they had one son. With drugs he continued to smoke marijuana but anything else was left untouched. Sober now for 17 years. He does continue to smoke marijuana. Knowing him today. I see no darkness, just kindness and light. I could not imagine this man as he once was.

The Past, Present and Future?

John’s past was filled with madness and evil while his present is filled with tranquillity and happiness.

Fifteen years ago he picked back up his guitar and is amazing. Fingers tickling the strings of his acoustic in scales and soul. Most of his time is spent practising for his own happiness, although sometimes friends are welcomed to enjoy his music and playing. I asked him, “Besides booze, what changed you, what transformed you?” He answered, “Many books at the library or at schools teach science, math, English but there is only one book that transforms, the Bible.” And he added, “(With it) I don’t think about drinking or being drunk anymore.”

“So you’re religious?”, I asked. And John answered, “No religion. I am spiritual. Just live your life with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control and the pursuit of happiness. Money doesn’t buy happiness and just don’t sweat the small things in life.”

A changed man. With the kindest smile, aura of gold. Living in peace after a period of darkness. Learning from mistakes and moving on into a life without drugs, without harm, without greed, living in the moment.

Happy, content and peaceful – John is now allowing the good within him to flow to everyone.

Wisdom To Take Away..

What if you’re in a dark place? What if all it took was change? Through the dark times we learn, so please appreciate them. Learn from them and transform. Feel within you what can make you happy, and what will bring you peace. Discover who you truly are, and what you want to be – and then make small changes daily.

Nothing is easy, but are you not worth the happiness that could be within your grasps? Of course you are, but change will not happen until you make the choice to make changes. Change your life into what you have always dreamed. Grow into the person that is within you. Be good. Honest. Care.

And like John: The Holy Hustler.. just a few small changes can make a world of difference in your life, too. So, what are you waiting for?


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