Nothing Glamorous About Using Drugs!
by Ned Wicker
“Candice” never saw herself as a criminal, just somebody “doing what she had to do.”
In a seemingly endless succession of measures to take the “edge” off of life, Candice tried to hold her life together by convincing herself that there was no foundational problem with using an illegal substance for helping hr cope with the pressures of being a single mother of three and living well below the poverty line.
A HARD road
It’s a difficult road to be on, with three children under the age of six. It’s made even harder when mom is only 20 years-old herself, has no education and is in the beginning stages of addiction.
Life began to unravel five years ago when she was a freshman in high school. Her parents had divorced a few years earlier and she was living with her grandparents. Like many 15 year-old girls, she had an interest in the boys and made some poor decisions.
She had the first baby when she was in her second year of high school and was pregnant from a different boy again before dropping out of school in her junior year. When she was 18, she met an older man and thought she might have an opportunity to get some stability in her life, but all she got was pregnant again.
She was rarely home
Her grandparents, who were living at the lower end of the middle class, were not able to handle the three children alone. Candice was rarely home, even though her working hours were from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Even for an adult, being a single mom is a chore, regardless of income or educational background. For Candice, it was a nightmare. Still a child herself, she wanted to be with her friends, and rationalized that her children were taken care of by her grandparents. She just wanted to get away. One afternoon she had her first experience with crack cocaine.
Her first escape
She got away. The euphoria from the crack gave her an escape avenue, albeit a very short one. A couple of weeks went by and the grandparents, who tried to help Candice manage her money, began asking questions about what happened to her paycheck and why she had been spending so much time away from her children.
They quickly deduced that Candice was into something over her head and pressed her for information.
Call it “tough love” or call it an ultimatum, but the grandparents demanded change for her, first by requesting that she get some help and finally by drawing the line in the sand, saying either comply with us or leave the house.
She chose to leave. The kids stayed at home, while Candice moved in with friends. Soon after, she was out of money and lost her job. She was arrested for shoplifting and police discovered a small amount of crack cocaine on her person.
She worried about addiction
She came back and agreed to see a doctor. The visit to the medical clinic immediately led to a referral to a drug treatment center.
Candice realized that she was in jeopardy of becoming addicted to the crack. She also knew she needed help getting her life back together, starting with completing her GED.
Judge emphasized treatment
Through the treatment center, she was able to begin working towards those goals. Her case came up in court and the judge ruled that she was to continue in treatment, complete her GED and stay clean for 18 months in lieu of a fine or a jail term.
The judge emphasized the treatment and recovery process, but also issued a warning that her second court appearance would be “unpleasant.”
Young girls get into trouble early by thinking that having a baby, having a little person to love, with fill their hearts. They look for love and security from boys and men, who do not love them, do not care about their children, and will vanish at the first hint of responsibility.
Candice had no education, no moral compass and no particular ability to reason through the events of her life.
Her grandparents tried, but she made bad decisions. The crack cocaine use was supposed to be the answer, but it just made a bad situation worse. She was lucky. She got caught.