Pubdate: Sun, 24 Feb 2008
Source: Muskogee Daily Phoenix (OK)
Copyright: 2008 Muskogee Daily Phoenix
Author: Terry L. James


At no point during any of my arrests, do I remember being asked if I
was on drugs or if I needed any help. I was in a state of denial, like
most drug addicts, so I sure wasn't going to volunteer being a drug
addict and being locked up in rehab for six months when I was fixing
to be let go.

I was never sent to any drug court or rehab.

While I was on probation, I never showed up to see my probation
officer at the time I was supposed to. This should have thrown up a
red flag, but I was never drug tested in the three years I was on
probation. At one point, my probation officer asked if I could pass a
drug test. I told him no, that I had smoked some pot. He told me to
clean up and that was that.

Once I came to a point in my life where I was honest enough with
myself to admit that I had a drug problem, I was ashamed of myself. I
didn't want to put my family through all of the disgrace of everyone
knowing I was an addict, so I never went to get help on my own.

I have been locked up for 21 months and spent 11 of those months in
prison. During this time, I have never heard of any kind of rehab or
drug treatment.

There is a program called Christians Against Substance Abuse or CASA.
This is a 12-step program that lasts for 13 weeks. You attend one
meeting a week and each meeting lasts for about an hour and a half.
That's a total of about 20 hours of class trying to change a habit
that took you years to develop.

There was an AA group that lasted about two months, but they did away
with that. As far as education, there is a GED program and one college
course. For job training, there is a barber shop and an upholstery
class. Both are very hard to get into.

I am now attending a faith and character program. It lasts for one
year. I go to class for two to four hours a day, Monday through
Thursday. This program is brand new to the state this year.

While in this program, I've learned a lot about why I do what I do and
how to overcome my negative behavior.

Some people can change without being sent to rehab or prison. As for
myself, I needed to be locked up and dried out away from my "friends"
and see what I was putting my whole family and community through.

No matter how hard I tried to get off drugs, I could not because they
were always close to me, and I didn't think one more time would hurt

But it did. It hurt a poor old lady and my family.

A person can learn a lot of bad things in here. I spent a year in
county jail where drugs were not as available as they are here.

But I've had no desire at all to get high since I've been here. I hate
the dopehead I was.

Terry L. James,

Oklahoma State Reformatory in Granite
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