Editor's note: In Saturday's edition, The Brazil Times introduced readers to a new program offered by Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, Carlisle, Ind. CLIFF is a voluntary program to which inmates may apply. The goal is to help the convicted criminals deal with the pressures that led them to use drugs and stay clean when they return to society.
Reporter Edie Campe interviewed four participants in the program for this series.
Here is what they had to say:
Robert Moore, age 40
- So how long have you been doing drugs?
I started smoking weed probably back in '82. I was a sophomore in high school then. I was married in '84. Time's flying by.
- How did you find meth?
This girl that I was dating. I couldn't understand how come this girl never would sleep. She told that she did meth and I tried it. That was back in '92 when I tried it. I've been doing it ever since. It just got out of control, about 8 years ago really. I lost my job, walked out after 20 years. When I leave here I don't have anything to go back to.
- Do you have children?
I've got a son that is 21 and a firefighter. I had a daughter pass away in '97 from asthma and epileptic seizure. That triggered a lot of drug habit right there. Losing her, God, I just went completely wild. Then I've got a stepdaughter, she's a veterinary assistant.
I've never been in trouble. This is my first time and I don't know how I kept from getting into trouble over the years, but it seemed like after I really got into meth real bad, I just quit caring about anything. Then when I left my job, that's when everything started going down hill.
- What was the situation that lead to your arrest?
Just a lot of traffic. A lot of people in and out.
- So it was a bust?
Yeah. Well, it was voluntary. I let them do a walk through. It gets pretty technical, but yeah, neighbors complained, so they say that's what their excuse for probable cause was. Looking back on it now from a sober point of view, yeah, there was a lot of people in and out and a lot of different factors going on looking at it being sober now for 18 months.
- When are you going home?
My out date now is Sept. 26, 2007, but after I graduate the program it'll be March 2007.
- So how much time do you have left in the program?
I should graduate in May. I am about halfway through phase two right now.
- How has your view of meth changed?
Coming to the program, I am finally able to admit to myself that I have a problem, and that I am an addict when it comes to meth. When out there on the street, I didn't think that I had a problem, but it's coming to this program that made me able to realize that I am not the only one with problems. There's a lot of guys when we get in these classes and stuff, we get talking. There's guys from all over that had exactly the same problems going on in their lives that I did and I thought that I was the only one with those problems. You find out that there's a lot of problems that are the same with all the guys.
- What are you going to do to change your habits from the past?
In all honesty, the old crowd, that is going to be a key factor for me. I can't be with the old crowd anymore, I've got to get with new faces. I anticipate on trying to get the old job that I walked out of after 20 years and try to familiarize myself with a new crowd. If I get running with the old crowd again, I'll be right back in here. I've got to make that old habit stuff change. Them old friends that I was running with when I got locked up, I don't hear from them. I don't get any mail from them at all. So it's kind of like out of sight, out of mind. I guess they just forget about you. The things like that is what I have to remember, the nights sitting in there when they are doing the mail pass-out, and ol' Rob didn't get any mail from nobody back home or anything. I just kind of wonder, 'Did they just forget about me?' Things like that are the things I've got to remember when I get out. That feeling and the sound of the doors shutting every night and just your loss of freedom. That's the things I'll remember and hopefully whenever I start thinking that I would like to hit that foil one more time and those old feelings of being locked up will kick me in the butt and I'll turn from it. It's going to be hard.
- So how long have you been in prison?
Since September 2004.
- Do you ever think you'll ever find yourself going back to drugs?
No. From where I'm at right now, no. If anybody comes around me with dope in their pockets, kick mud. I don't want it around me. That's how I feel right now. I've seen the damage that it has done to me and a lot of people I know. I know that since I've been in here, three of the people I ran with have passed away from auto wrecks or from health problems. It's scary. Looking at it now from a sober point of view, I didn't realize how destructive meth was. It is. It can get a hold of you quick.
- What made you guys write a letter to The Brazil Times?
We was hanging out and we was talking one night about how we ought to write a letter back home and let the people know that Clay County has a real bad meth problem. To let the people know that just because we were meth users doesn't really make us bad people since we've straightened our lives up. We want the people back home to know that we are trying to better ourselves, learn from our mistakes and do the right things now.