Ex-meth dealer: ‘I’ve hurt many people’
To my knowledge, I have never met Claire Grondona (Other Voices, “No help for our addicted children, Jan. 9), yet the article she wrote could have been about many of the people I know, myself included.
It is sad to say that for the most part, it is very true. Up until a year ago I was one of those people. I am 47 years old, and for 33 of those years I was a practicing criminal and drug addict, and my drug of choice was methamphetamine.
I am guilty of everything that was mentioned in that article and much worse. I stole from my family and everyone else I could. I used everybody. I sold a lot of drugs in this town for many years. I’ve been to prison and jail numerous times. I’ve hurt many people, but most of all I hurt myself.
I’ll never know the amount of wreckage I was responsible for in countless lives. I’ll never know how many children went without or were abused because their strung-out parents were my customers. I’ll never know how many crimes were committed so people could get the money to buy my drugs. I’ll never know how many children are being raised by the state because of broken homes, destroyed relationships, or because their parents are in custody.
If you didn’t have something I wanted or couldn’t do something for me, I had no use for you at all. If I wanted what you had and you couldn’t stop me from getting it, it was mine. I could not grasp the concept of a life where this was not so. I knew of no other way to live.
A year ago, I could not imagine my life without drugs in it in some shape or form. I would still be living this way if not for Drug Court. With the help of facilities like Lovett Recovery Center and Community Recovery Resources, I – and many like me -am learning a new way of life. A life without drugs. A life free of crime.
I have been in Drug Court for almost a year and have yet to see anyone get away with something for very long. There are those few who, for one reason or another, don’t make it. They are dealt with accordingly. Drug Court reunites families and helps people who knew no other way of life enter mainstream society as functioning citizens.
Judge Darlington and the rest of the Drug Court team didn’t just transfer here from Disneyland. They are professionals and have been involved with the criminal justice system for many years. They know what they are doing, and they do it very well.
The cost of programs like Drug Court is very minimal compared to the cost of housing a prisoner; the money spent on raising children who are innocent victims of this disease; the burglaries and robberies committed to feed out of control drug habits; the insurance costs; the lives lost.
The insidious tentacles of just one person’s addiction reach far and are very costly. Today, with almost a year clean and sober, my wife (also in Drug Court) and I are responsible, productive members of society. I reach out to fellow addicts in recovery to give and receive help. I have a conscious contact with a higher power that I call God. And I don’t use drugs or alcohol.
All these acts are foreign to me because I never have done any of this before. I never asked for help. I never obeyed the law. Thanks to Drug Court, I am no longer that person. With their help and guidance, I am learning how to be clean and sober and how to live life on life’s terms.
And I will continue to learn. I have completed my first semester of college with top grades in computer science. The only other thing I ever completed since junior high school was a prison term. None of this would have been possible without Drug Court.
The only way I know of to make up for the wrongs I’ve done is to show others, by example, that no one has to live that way. There is hope. There is another way of life.
My life is good today compared to what it was a year ago. It has improved measurably. And it will continue to improve. Drug Court has saved my life. Thank you. And a special thank you to the Narcotics Task Force officers. Without them, my wife and I would not be where we are today.
Bob Rogers is a resident of Nevada City.
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