Being Grateful… It Does Make A Difference

By Jay Dobyns – ATF Agent (ret.), Best Selling Author and National Keynote Speaker

For those unfamiliar with Jay’s story, he was a federal agent for 27 years.  He developed into an elite undercover operator who focused his efforts on violent suspects.  Late in his career he experienced a massive amount of credible death threats from criminals that he had investigated.  His agency failed to react properly and when he challenged them, they retaliated against him in a dreadful way.  He filed a lawsuit and won behind the facts, evidence and testimony to prove the abuse.  His trial court victory was appealed by the government and ultimately overturned.

The truth was not enough to overcome a legal interpretation of law.  The appellate court ruled that, although unfortunate, there was no law or contract to prevent his agency from unmasking the location of his residence, failing to respond when arsonists burned his home to the ground (characterized by some as a failed assassination attempt), and then doubling down and corruptly trying to frame Jay as the arsonist.  For 15 years Jay fought for justice and accountability for himself and all lawmen and women.  Jay has been a regular contributor to the Safe Call Now mission.  Below is an essay he wrote for our friends and audience after learning that at the end of this tragic journey, he had lost.  Jay is not only a warrior and survivor, he’s also very #grateful for his journey.


“A lie doesn’t become the truth, a wrong doesn’t become right, and bad doesn’t become good simply because the majority [or a court] says so.” – Booker T. Washington

Elegant words from an incredible man who overcame unimaginable amounts of adversity.  His words speak to the idea of fairness.

The bottom-line truth and fact is that life deals us hardships.  Failures.  Defeats.  Often, they are undeserved.

Fairness loses its importance if we can find a way to be grateful in all that comes our way.

I’ll add my own, less profound, quote: “Fair is where you go eat cotton candy or pin a ribbon on a cow. There is no such thing is life as ‘fair’.”

What we do in difficult times and with undeserved circumstances are what defines us.  Not the event itself, but how we react and respond to it.

Gratefulness has been my solution.

Be grateful for your challenges.  They deliver lessons to learn from.

Be grateful for your adversaries.  They create opportunity.

Be grateful for your failures.  Losing forces humility.

Be grateful in defeat.  It builds graciousness.

Be grateful for your support, your friends, your family.  Hardships reveal who trusts and believes in you.

Life is a roller coaster (my kids are sick of this lecture, but I’ve delivered to them repeatedly over their lifetimes).  When things are good, enjoy it because it will not last forever.  When things are bad, hang on because they will get good again.  Repeat.  The cycle is endless.

For anyone struggling – addiction, suicide, loss of a loved one, illness, injury, abuse, unfairness – if you search hard enough, a silver lining is there.  We may have to over-reach to find it but stretching to learn something good in something bad is worth the effort.

For me, I’ve learned to be grateful to God.  Not a day has passed where I didn’t ask for strength or guidance.  Not a day went by when it wasn’t delivered.  God’s plans for us are perfect, even when we can’t understand them.


Jay Dobyns is the author of two bestselling books, No Angel – My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels, and, Catching Hell – A True Story of Abandonment and Betrayal.  Jay is also a Safe Call Now presenter/trainer.

He can be found at; Facebook at ; Instagram at ; Twitter at ; LinkedIn at

If you, someone you love or someone you know needs help, call:

Safe Call Now:  24 Hour Confidential Hotline:  206-459-3020

For more information on the First Responders program:  Click here

Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008


One thought on “Being Grateful… It Does Make A Difference

  1. Never met Jay Dobyns, but I worked with Sean Riley at the treatment facility mentioned above. He is walking talking evidence that addiction is no respecter of persons. Sean always took the high road and is a force to be reckoned with. After treatment he set out to change a broken system. As a result thousands of addicted public safety officers (female and male) have stepped forward, made a confidential call, and today (much wiser) are back on the job serving our public needs. Sean sounds too good to be true. He’s not. He is no saint. What he is is stubborn to a fault and where it counts fearless. For more on Sean see the book, just out, Toward Happier Choices on books.


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