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GARLAND -- It was one bad decision on one bad day.

"On Feb. 11, 2012, my wife and I got into an argument," said Jason Christian, 33. "The argument started with words, then came fists, and then came a weapon."

"I ended up pulling a gun on my wife," he said. "When I did it she was in the room with my children, so my children saw it all, my five-year-old and three-year-old sons."

Christian was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was in jeopardy of losing everything: his job, his family, his home. Looking back, he said he knows February 11 is the day it all boiled over, but not the day it all started.

"There have been times when I was a younger male that I had done some of the minimal things like blocking doorways, pushing women, grabbing women," he admitted. "I didn't shy away from the physical violence."

"It's all domestic violence and it's all uncalled for," he said.

Too many men do what Christian did, and too few do what he's done since, he said.

"You can recover from this," he said. "It's something I was tired of. It feels good to be rid of it."

He's changed, he said. A court order forced him into Alcoholics Anonymous.

"The alcohol abuse was horribly clouding my judgment at the time," he said. "When I realized I had to kick it, it was one of those moments I realized I had to do it for me. It had to be done."

He was also sent to anger management classes and six months of the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program at New Beginning Center in Garland. That was more than a year ago. He keeps coming to counseling at the center now because he wants to and because he believes he needs to.

"It's difficult and it's going to take more than the six months," he said. "It's probably going to take me years."

Counseling is teaching him to take responsibility, not to blame everyone else. He said he's been yelled at and hit by women, but now he knows how to keep his anger in check. He said now he doesn't yell or hit back.

"One of the most important things you learn here is you cannot control others' actions," he said. "You can only control your own and there's excitement in me when I do see some of these tools work, that even if I can only control myself and my actions throughout the situation, things do dissipate much faster than I ever thought possible"

When staff at New Beginning Center look at Christian, they see hope.

"It can be turned around," said Colleen Jamieson, interim executive director at the New Beginning Center. "It's not a disease that can't be cured. It can be cured with awareness."

New Beginning Center's Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) counseled 189 people during the last fiscal year. Thirty-four of those were women who've hit their husbands.

Among other things, New Beginning Center offers an emergency shelter for women, transitional housing, outreach, legal advocacy, and community education. They operate a 24-hour hot line, open seven days a week, 365 days a year, receiving, on average, more than 10,000 calls annually.

Christian said he embarked upon his journey of change because a judge forced it on him. He's continuing because he feels better, and because he knows it's right. He's been sober nine months. It's been 13 months since his arrest.

"God forbid," he said. "I don't want my kids to be sitting here someday that's why I keep working on it."

He and his wife are still together.

"If I just walked out that door after what happened Feb. 11, 2012, if I just walked out the door and didn't work on it, what kind of man would I be?" he asked.

He's a different man than he used to be and he's still working to be the best he can be.

The New Beginning hotline can be reached at 972-276-0057.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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