Alabama author teaches kids good decision making

Published 3:09 pm Monday, June 9, 2014

Matthew Creighton, a former state trooper turned felon, will be speaking at the Alabama Youth Home in Wilsonville on June 25. (Contributed)

Matthew Creighton, a former gambling addict and state trooper, will be speaking at the Alabama Youth Home in Wilsonville on June 25. (Contributed)

By GINNY COOPER / Staff Writer

WILSONVILLE—Matthew Creighton spent over 18 years as a respected state trooper, rising to the rank of lieutenant, before his gambling addiction took his life into a tailspin.

“I started gambling and I became addicted. It’s just like a drug, alcohol or any other type of addiction,” Creighton said.

Soon, Creighton was writing large, bad checks and using the money at dog tracks and casinos in hopes of “winning and replacing the money.”

“It just snowballed to other crimes,” Creighton explained, and his desire to feed his addiction landed him in and out of prison three times.

After prison, Creighton found help and healing at the Alabama Therapeutic Education Facility in Columbiana where he learned to “keep his addiction from getting the best” of him.

“I was able to get my addiction under control,” Creighton said, and after his recover he wanted to “get out and share (my) message with the youth.”

Good decision making is a large part of the message Creighton wishes to impart to the young people he lectures, and is also the subject of his book, “Don’t get Sidetracked,” which is the story of Creighton’s journey from “Marine, to guardian of his siblings, to law enforcement officer, to convict, and finally to become a messenger,” according to a website for the publication.

“My goal is to help educate our young people,” Creighton said. “I know they don’t realize how easy it is to destroy your life.”

Creighton shares a message about decision making with groups of young people and adults across Alabama, and warns students of how he learned you can “you can mess up real easily, real fast.”

“I do what I do with passion,” Creighton said.

Creighton will be speaking at the Alabama Youth Home in Wilsonville on June 25, and his message to the kids will be simple.

“Really watch your decision making, because some of the things that seem harmless could be the same things that really cause you problems,” Creighton said.

To learn more about Creighton or purchase “Don’t get Sidetracked,” visit