Find Michel Cochran’s display at Smithfield United Church of Christ, 620 Smithfield Street.
“Everything I’ve accomplished in the past three years was wiped away in two weeks. It seems like out there nobody wants to help you. But in jail, they’re willing to help.”
I recently got out of a program for doing well. I’d been clean. Was clean. Was.
Everything was going great. Then I got a phone call that my apartment was ready. The first thing I noticed was it was next to a men’s halfway house. That kind of scared me at first, but I trooped on. I got myself a job. Then they started asking me to get them drugs. At first, I said “no.” But then they were finding drugs, and asking if they could come to my house and get high.
As an addict, there’s only so many times that you can get asked. Everything I’ve accomplished in three years was wiped away in two weeks. My apartment, my furniture, my kids. My clothes, my friends, my boyfriend of three years. And now, possibly my freedom. It seems like nobody wants to help you. But in jail, they’re willing to help. They’re not even a-holes about it. They just help. If you want to go to school, you go. I got my GED there. I was going to AA and NA every day. Drugs took a piece of my soul. For ten years I let it take me. When it finally let go for a little bit, it scooped me up again.
You lose your good, like, “Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up, wash my face, get dressed, go to work.” You get drugs in your system, and it’s, “Well, I don’t have to. I don’t have to wash my face. I don’t have to eat before work.” Until the point where, “You know what? I’ll call off.” All your good thoughts? You start using them to connive to get away with things. All the stuff you were thinking good things about, now you’re using plans to just do terrible things. It takes over your mind, body, and soul.
I got my GED the first time in jail. I’m old, but not that old. There’s got to be some organization or person that’s going to say something that’ll snap in my head to remind me of the old me. Of what I can accomplish. I’m not going to give up.