To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Diane, I am 43 years old. Sadly to say, I have been using drugs and alcohol for over half my life. I have held down a job and never been fired from a job, let alone never let drugs interfere with my work. I was a functional drug user, but I had no real reason for my drug abuse, so I thought. I figured my life was ok. I knew I could do better, but was settling for what I had, not understanding why I felt all alone. I was told that that is the way addicts are supposed to feel. I didn’t start getting into trouble with the police until 1996, the year my mom passed away. But lets not forget about the five or six drunk driving offenses I got back in the eighties. In and out of rehabilitation centers, counseling, and my share of probation officers. I pretty much have heard it all. Nothing really clicked. I knew there was something missing. I wasn’t going to settle for “ONCE AN ADDICT, ALWAYS AN ADDICT”. Being made to believe that I was less than so called, “NORMAL PEOPLE”, I figured they were right. I would always be looked down upon, and didn’t deserve to fit in and live a happy sober life because I was an addict.
Until I was sentenced under Proposition 36, and met my counselor, Mr. Michael Oden, I didn’t realize that there was somebody out there that knew how I felt. My first meeting with Mr. Oden lasted about 45 minutes. That was a surprise in and of itself. Instead of a clod shoulder and a phony smile. I was greeted with a warm hand and somebody who understood. He wanted to know about my feelings! He asked me about my emotions!, were they being fulfilled and taken care of? What’s up with this, I thought, is this guy for real? Did he really care? The more we talked, the more comfortable I became. The one thing I always knew about myself is that something is missing. I never really felt complete. He knew that the minute I walked into the room. All these years I have been filling my emptiness with drugs and alcohol, not even knowing anything about me. “ONCE AN ADDICT, ALWAYS AN ADDICT”, that’s what I was and what I would always be. Mr. Oden wanted to know what made me tick and what I did to fill in the blanks when I was hurting and feeling lonely. I chose alcohol and drugs.
I have now been drug free since January 2, 2002. I struggled through it until I met Mr. Oden. I knew then that I was on the right track. I finally realized that my head wasn’t screwed up, I just forgot to put myself first. Now all we need to do is to get the word out there, and let people know that they are not all screwed up, that somewhere down the line they have been cheated out of something that the human psyche needs to survive. Like I said, I have been clean and sober for two years now, I feel strong about myself, knowing that there is somebody out there who knows how to guide me in regarding myself, and to reassure me that I’m not doomed with the label of being “AN ADDICT”.