I was almost finished with this issue of the journal when I received a Facebook message from Mecca, one of the people featured in the book.  She told me she'd been sober for about 5 months. We agreed to meet and catch up. 

BW: How did you get sober? You were on heroin pretty bad, right?

Mecca: I got arrested. When I got arrested, I went to the medical floor for 10 days. I was detoxing which was total hell. They offered me drug court. 

February 28th is when I got out. They told me I had to report to drug court on that Monday and they made the mistake of letting me out on Saturday morning at 4 A.M. You know where Rice Street [jail] is at? Pretty much right in the middle of The Bluff, so... by Monday I was locked up again. 

It was so embarrassing to go back there after doing that whole month.

After doing another 45 days, I got out April 20th and I've been out ever since. 

BW: What's drug court like?

Mecca: It's really like a mini school. The campus is right next to Rice Street [the jail]. When you go in [daily], they shake you down. They go through your book bag and stuff. You can't have a cell phone in there. It's very, very strict. You go through these phases. My first  two days I spent at Southside Medical so they could do my orientation for the methadone program. 

For the first 30 days of the program you're in pre-treatment. You just go over the basics of recovery. The 12 steps and meetings and sponsors. You start to understand that doing drugs is really just a symptom. Like, you really have some underlying issues and there's a reason why you use.

BW: Do they help with those [underlying reasons?]

[Sigh] Well... they have individual counseling, but there's so many people that it's really hard to get premium one on one. You have your general check-in every month with a counselor and it helps to be able to talk to somebody, but it's not therapy.  

So after the 30 days you move up to phase one which is the phase I'm in.  You have this class called MRT which is Moral Recognition Therapy. It's kind of cheesy. I'm not going to lie. It's pretty much designed to be done in jail. I mean, the picture on the front is jail bars [laughs]. Then you move to night time phase. I'm about to move up to night time phase next week. You have to do this big presentation and do a genogram and write a life history. Get familiar with the first three steps and blah blah blah blah blah. 

BW: Do you go to [12 step] meetings on a regular basis? 

Mecca: I do. I go to four meetings per week. Sometimes I might sneak into an extra one if I'm feeling some type of way. You have to build a support network. You have to build a network of people who won't tell you "Hey, let's go get high", cause that's what I'm used to dealing with. 

I hate to say this because I don't knock NA or AA, but I feel, for me, I just don't connect with it very well. I don't know why. I get it and I get why it works for so many people. But for me, [I just need] a deep down sense of being connected spiritually, having a support network, knowing where [my] feelings come from. I suffer with abandonment issues horribly, and I have an issue with death, cause I've lost so many people in such a short amount of time. When my parents passed away I went crazy because I leaned on my parents a lot. You've got to know where you come from.

I still  see the people I used to get high with in The Bluff. After I get out of school [drug court], I have to go through a gauntlet of sorts to get to the [NA] meeting. There's a part of me that knows I need to separate from the area where there's a lot of action, because a lot of action distracts me. I can't even lie. When I'm walking to the meeting, I'm peeking down Proctor, trying to see who's out. It's just the craziness of it all. I'm addicted to that lifestyle for whatever reason. Everybody looks like hell, but for some reason, I fiend for this dark world. I yearn for it a little bit. I enjoy being Baby Girl on the streets. Even though I looked like hell ran over, I got a little respect after a couple of years. You know?

I knew that Mecca and Tory had been close to each other in the past. So we started talking about Tory. I showed her Tory's story from this issue. She watched part of the video of Tory at the bottom of the page. 

Mecca: Ah I gotta cut that [video] off right now. It's so sad. I care about her, you know? I know what she means and I know what she's saying. That's my fear right now. I'm doing so good. But it doesn't matter how good you look or how much money you're making, when that Jones calls you. It is the fucking devil.  You want to change. You want to stop, but you can't. Once you feed it, you just gotta keep on. All this madness and at the end it's like, "I can't go home. I have to get one more before I go home." And before you know it, a day is a week, a week is a month, a month is a year. I mean, this last time I stayed out for three years. You could be down there and Jesus himself could come to you and be like, "You are the most beautiful thing in the world. You don't need to do this." And you'd be like, "I know. You got $5 so I can get a hit?" It's just like that. I'm afraid for Tory. 

BW: I am too. So, how do you stay clean?

Mecca: There's got to be a point when you say that's enough. That's enough. But I'm scared, you know? I don't want to be Tory. Honestly Brent, I'm afraid to say that I'll never do it again. When you do that, you're putting yourself above what you've been through. I'm human and I have a problem. A real problem. That's the beginning of it when you can say, I got this issue and I'm not like everybody else. There's a group of us out here who can't handle life. 

But I'm really trying and I have a lot of support. I feel blessed. I feel like this might be the time where I might get it right. If I can just hang on to the way I feel right now and not give up... I really feel like if I go back I'm gonna die. I don't think I'm gonna make it back out. It's getting more and more potent and more and more cut up with bullshit. 

If you see Tory, please tell her that I love her life. And say it just like that. She'll know it came from me.  

Drug Court Stats

Drug courts are problem-solving courts that operate under a specialized model in which the judiciary, prosecution, defense bar, probation, law enforcement, mental health, social service, and treatment communities work together to help non-violent offenders find restoration in recovery and become productive citizens.

  • Nationwide, 75% of Drug Court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program.
  • The most rigorous and conservative scientific “meta-analyses” have all concluded that Drug Courts significantly reduce crime as much as 45 percent more than other sentencing options.
  • Nationwide, for every $1.00 invested in Drug Court, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice costs alone.
  • Drug Courts produce cost savings ranging from $3,000 to $13,000 per client. These cost savings reflect reduced prison costs, reduced revolving-door arrests and trials, and reduced victimization.
  • Drug Courts are six times more likely to keep offenders in treatment long enough for them to get better.
  • Family re-unification rates are 50% higher for Family Drug Court participants.




Opioid Story Archive

Opioid Story Archive