Next drug miracle could be waiting in a line
I felt compelled to write this in response to those who don’t believe that recovery from addiction is possible – to those who would say that if Lovett Recovery Center really worked, then [accused murderer] Scott Krause wouldn’t have started using methamphetamines again, ultimately ending the life of an innocent man. To those who believe that all meth users should be locked away and forgotten, and that there is no chance we’d ever stop using or ripping off our families.
I am here to disprove the notion that there is no saving a meth addict. I am one. For the last 11 months, I have been clean off meth. To those who knew me, my recovery is nothing short of a miracle. I am in awe daily of the life that I now lead. I have begun to regain all that I lost to 13 years of methamphetamine use.
The cornerstone of my recovery is the Lovett Recovery Center. I graduated in October 2003 after completing a 180-day residential treatment program. Just weeks after I left, Scott Krause also graduated. I was given the same guidance, counseling and education that Scott received.
Unfortunately, the odds are not in our favor. The statistics show that only one in 10 clients who complete a residential program actually stay clean and sober. Scott was part of the 90 percent who don’t. Scott yielded to this disease, costing the life of [UPS driver] Drew Reynolds as well as his own. He is part of the sad majority who squandered the opportunity they were given to recover from this deadly disease.
Now, before you go and assume that recovery programs are a huge waste of time and taxpayers’ money, take a moment to consider the success stories. I’ve seen lives transformed, my own included, because of the Lovett program and others like it that are in place here to help the chemically dependent in our community.
What is really sad to me is that it isn’t enough. The drug addicts and alcoholics out there who need and want the help far outnumber the amount of beds available in our local treatment facilities. Add to that a community blissfully ignorant of the severity of the problem – people who would rather give up on a loved one with a drug problem, and pretend it will go away. This arrogant, self-serving attitude only stands to worsen the drug problem we do have in Nevada County. You can lock them out of your home, turn a deaf ear to their cries for help. Is that what it comes down to?
If my family had ignored my problem, if our judicial system didn’t hear my cries for help, I can’t tell you where I’d be today. Probably in jail. But I’m not. Today I am a productive member of society. I am employed by someone who was willing to take a chance on me despite my past. I am a decent, law abiding, trustworthy, honest and truly grateful person today. All because I wasn’t given up on.
The same compassionate souls that helped me on my way were the same people who tried to help Scott Krause. Some of us have to go further down before we get it. Some never do. But for those who do make it, their lives are forever changed. Families are reunited. Dignity, hope, self-esteem and self-worth are restored. Lives are saved. Recovery works just like anything else. You get out of it what you put into it.
So, the next time you read about a meth addict who stole something, hurt someone, or wrecked a stolen car; who took a life or was arrested in a meth lab, think of those who are working tirelessly to end this kind of madness. Remember for a moment that the people who are committing these crimes are just that. People. They are the ones that someone gave up on. They are scared, lonely, hurting. They are, however, people who, if given the chance, may just turn their lives around. People just like me.
If you don’t like what’s going on in our town, then do something about it. The problem isn’t going to go away. The people who recognize this are the ones making a difference. The dedication and selflessness of the people who work at such places as Lovett, Hope House, CORR and drug court is beyond compare. They ought to be commended, but instead some of them are losing their jobs when Lovett closes its doors this year.
To me this is a gigantic step backwards in our war on drugs. Where else can indigent and often desperate people get the help they are seeking once Lovett’s doors are locked? How many more lives will be lost? I am one of the fortunate ones. I got help before it was too late. What about those behind me? Where is their hope?
Instead of cutting back on these types of programs, we as a community have a responsibility to see that places such as Lovett remain open and accessible to anyone seeking their services. The next miracle may be on a waiting list as we speak. It may be your son or daughter, your friend or co-worker. The next miracle may even be you.
Amy Tennies is a resident of Grass Valley.
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