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Addiction, Part II: addicted, out of control, arrested

This is the second of two parts of the story of a young woman who will celebrate 12 years of recovery from addiction this coming November. Click on the link for Part I -- The first part of Misty May’s story shared what happened in her life that took her into years of addiction and gives details about the lifestyle of an addict. In part II, below, she continues with what took place to allow her to turn from addiction and have the possibility of recovering.

By Linda Waggener

"I didn't ever think I would become addicted," Misty May says, "I didn't wake up and want to be a junkie. I didn't believe I'd be left in jail, even after I was arrested. My first call was always to my Mama but this time it would be different. Through those first few days of incarceration, I still thought I could continue to manipulate the system, but in reality I don't know how I was alive.

Mama and close family had been tricked and lied to so often that they refused to bail me out again.

What was the trigger for change?

It took a "CTJ moment", a "Come to Jesus" moment and then tough love and encouragement from those around her. She said as the days went by, nearing day 12 in prison, she just broke and got on her knees, remembering the training from the church her mama took her to every Sunday growing up, and knowing that there was a God who would forgive her and love her again.

That CTJ moment happened for her several days after the judge had said, "you are going to jail and you are going to stay there until a rehab is located," with her remaining in jail day after day. The Come to Jesus moment did not happen when the cell doors had first slammed shut. The moment didn't happen in the first few days when calls were being made first to mama, and then to others. Her thinking continued to be focused on manipulating others and the system and getting back to her lifestyle.

Sitting alone in the jail cell with nothing to take that would dull the pain, gradually the realization dawned that no one was coming to her rescue this time. No one was interested in being her enabler anymore.

She was offered Drug Court -- offered tough love

"Drugs don't discriminate," she says, "drugs don't care your race, social status, wealth nor age - none of that matters - every individual is at risk. And it really does take a whole family and community believing in and supporting an addict -- not with money but with love, Tough love.

With no rehab to be found for her as she waited in the cell, after her Come to Jesus moment, Judge Weddle offered her Drug Court -- tough love. This option is extremely strict. It brings together professionals from all agencies who can help control, keep up communications, and do comprehensive tracking while helping someone who is sincerely trying to overcome addiction.

Misty says, "Tough love means you give a recovering addict no money -- gifts of money only go to continue the habit." The kind of love she speaks of comes from Drug Court demanding accountability for every moment, and, "people who say I'm proud of you for trying, keep up the good work, you can do this."

She continues, "At the beginning of my recovery, I was having a hard day and I'll never forget leaving a Drug Court meeting, (at the old Adair County courthouse) and out from nowhere, Wid Harris popped his head out the door and said, "I'm proud of you!" To some that doesn't mean anything, but to me, that day, I needed that, it gave me hope. People were proud of me, they were seeing that I was changing. A small compliment can pick somebody up when they are down. "I'd moved to the big city from Casey County (Columbia has a Walmart) and in Adair County I would be arrested and change would begin.

"It would be in Adair County where I would reconnect with my maker, be offered Drug Court and have the good sense to say 'yes' and then work the program every day. It's extremely strict -- you get up early every day, call and 800-number by six in the morning and you're instructed whether you have to have a drug test that day and where, or if you skip that day.

"During the Drug Court program, you have to have a job and that's extremely hard because people do not want to trust a person who has been arrested for drug use and I had been charged with using Crack Cocaine. I remember working for families who allowed me to help them under the Drug Court system. I was able to get a job in a fast food restaurant and kept working and kept doing everything required of me including meeting with the professionals, three narcotics anonymous meetings per week, curfew calls, Etc.

The most important part of Drug Court is that you must avoid getting sanctioned and that means avoiding people who want to pull you back to your old behaviors. And there are plenty of those. It means not excepting a ride nor giving a ride to someone from your past who might tempt you again or plant something in your car. It means you completely change your contacts and no longer hang out in the same places as before.

Drug Court tries to help you live as a responsible citizen of the community again, by demanding you keep to a structured lifestyle from the moment of release from jail. And it demands no contact with former addicts at any time. Going back to a lifestyle with another addict is like throwing gasoline onto a fire.

Drug Court allows a successful graduate the opportunity to have a felony charge expunged and that opens the door to solid employment and the possibility of having your life back.

I told my counselors the truth about everything I had done so that they could know what I was capable of. I told them the truth of where I was and that I desperately wanted help. I didn't blame anyone from my past. I didn't name anyone I had hung out with because I simply realized it was my choice that took me where I've been and it was my responsibility to get myself out."

Today Misty May is living in recovery

As of this writing, Misty is heading for twelve years in recovery this coming November! She is living in gratitude and working to follow where she is called to help others. .

"I have thanked my good Lord above. I have thanked my arresting officers who took me to jail, Brad Scholl and Junior Murphy. I have thanked my mama for not bailing me out. I have given thanks for Drug Court," she says. "There are so many special people that have had a hand in my recovery and I am so thankful for each one. I'm especially thankful for a family who never quit praying for me, who loved me but didn't enable me! "I have thanked my children and been honest with them every step of the way through recovery - C.J., a senior, and Jenna, a sophomore, at ACHS, are the lights of my life and they frequently share my story with others when they feel it will help someone. I am deeply grateful to my fiance, J.D. Davis, a veteran of the United States Army who helps at the VFW with activities, and is someone who is a strong and supportive part of my life. His encouragement added to my training in drug court, and the beliefs of my family and community, keep me going on days when it's hard to resist the pull to go backwards. Everyone has bad days now and then and a recovering addict must avoid reacting to a taste or even a smell that could pull them back into old habits. There is work to be done every day."

She is sharing her story in hopes of saving others from her experience. She is available to speak to groups and is especially hopeful she can work with school leadership and speak to teens who are the age now that she was when she made her first steps in the direction of becoming an addict.

"I now share my life story with anyone in need of a positive word from someone who has walked their walk," she says. "I help with Celebrate Recovery to give back. Each of us has to regain the trust of people we've hurt over and over, it's a long walk. I like to speak to groups, I like to speak to parents and tell them what they can expect and I like to speak to young teens. It's really hard being a teenager with all the social media and bullying that goes on today."

Every new day she gives thanks and has rededicated her life to the Lord

Misty said, "God's still working on me, I pray daily for Him to lead me where he wants me to be, and that dark hole I had as a child and tried to fill with all of the wrong things all my life has now been filled!"

These two passages guide her daily: Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ which gives me strength," and, Matthew 11:28 - "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest!"

Misty May can be reached by email at

This story was posted on 2017-08-02 22:10:38
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Recovery: Misty May is living in gratitude

2017-08-03 - Adair County, KY - Photo from family collection.
Misty May, second from left, lives each day in gratitude as she looks to her 12th anniversary in recovery from addiction this November. She says she has thanked her Lord and rededicated her life to Him, has thanked her family for their tough love and all those who helped her along the way. She also says her children C.J., a senior, at left, and Jenna, a sophomore, at ACHS, at right, are the lights of her life and they frequently share my story with others when they feel it will help someone. She says she is deeply grateful to her fiance beside her, J.D. Davis, an Army Veteran, and a strong and supportive part of her life. She shares her story in hopes of helping others. (Clicking 'read more' takes you to Part II of her story and it has a link to Part I.)

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