Shooting Star

Page 7 of 11

For the last several months before my arrest, my domestic/home life had been turned upside-down with the onset of my mother-in-law's late-diagnosed cancer. My husband became absent more and more frequently, until he finally moved into her house full-time. We started seeing each other only 1-2 hours a day, and my drug use escalated (or returned to normal, since I was constantly struggling to quit). I started using needles, whereas I previously smoked heroin. All this I kept from him, knowing how devastated her illness had made him; I put on a brave face, a mask of supportiveness, and almost felt proud of myself for "being so strong."

It attests somewhat to my canniness and ability to charm--skills that can be put to better use--that I had been able to deceive so many people for so long; my P.O. [probation officer], the courts, medical personnel, friends and loved ones, my poor husband and ultimately, and most importantly, myself. It is no accomplishment, it is only pathetic. It's no wonder a person under the influence of such a nefarious drug would get caught a second time--for $5 worth, no less--in the hands of the law. And in doing so, spend a lifetime regretting having thrown one's life away.

Your honor, I have been drug free for 11U2 months for the first time in over a year. Upon entering jail my weight was UNDER 100 LBS! (I'm 5'9"!). I have gained 25 lbs. to go along with the resolutions I hope will last me a lifetime. One of these is that the "system" does not only aim to punish--in my case incarceration has so far been the only way to remove me from the drugs I was so incapable of resisting. By the sheer Spartan conditions of deprivation (must I really thank Sheriff Joe? Yes!) I have been made keenly aware of what I used to have: I miss my husband of course; my dog and cat; my friends, job, plants, my comfy bed and my pillow . . . my kitchen, grocery shopping, picking a ripe cantaloupe, you name it! Do I miss DRUGS? All I can remember now is fear (of the law, of the dealers and other unsavory characters, of running out of drugs) and all the other sordid details, basking in shame. While my husband was away caring for his ailing mother, I'd be spending hours in squalid surroundings, trying to blend in (!)--neglecting my appearance, having purposefully alienated my friends (none of whom used drugs nor, I deludedly believed, knew that I was). I had the company of street hustlers and other creatures of ill-repute, and I thought nothing of it. I had become one of them, for all intents and purposes. But I knew in my heart I was different. I still cling to this.

I would like to convey to you, Judge Rogers, how determined I am to keep my newly-restored healthy habits and positive attitude. It hasn't been easy. The specter of prison--more time--looms constantly. There comes a time where despair is right around the corner. After the hoping and the contemplating, time became counter-productive and may lead to despondency, self-loathing or worse. This build-up would seemingly create a dangerous, vulnerable state for someone w/a history of using mind-soothing drugs. But I keep praying that, just as the physical scars are slowly and surely fading, the emotional ones won't become permanent.

Your honor, the good people at Chandler Valley Hope--aptly named--have been in contact and have promised my husband they would, with your blessing of course, allow me to re-enter and receive treatment. My husband is home now, and is willing to attend any/all treatment open to the family. We are anxious to start a family (we've been together almost 9 years, a sure sign of constancy, at the very least).

Since I have finally overcome the physical part of the addiction, I have no reason, no excuse to violate terms of probation ([urinalysis tests] were the only, albeit formidable, obstacle). I dare envision returning to a life NOT plunged into the abyss (as with a long prison term), ruining everything I've ever wanted: family, job, happiness, freedom, self-respect.

I want my old life back and a chance to prove to myself, to you and to the system as well, that I have not simply become a hopeless, unqualified lost cause! I have used my speaking and writing skills (I am fluent in Spanish and in my native French) to help others writing letters, counseling, etc. But I humbly believe my good qualities could and should be used in a more productive manner than within these walls.

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse