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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Londo works his way out of haze

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Ronald Londo works one last shift of kitchen duty at the Clay County Justice Center before being recently released.
Ronald Londo, 34, Terre Haute, knows how drugs can destroy your life.

Before becoming addicted to Methamphetamine, Londo had a steady job, was buying a house and was an active part of his three sons and fiancée's lives.

"I got involved in methamphetamine as a recreation," Londo said in an interview at the Clay County Justice Center a few days before his scheduled release on Aug. 20 as part of an early release program. "I wanted to stay up on the weekends and hang out with my friends. They were doing it, so I did it to fit in and have fun. Before I knew what was happening, my life slipped away without me even knowing it."

For approximately a year before being caught, Londo admits to doing whatever it took to get his hands on methamphetamine, including breaking the law and learning how to manufacture the dangerous drug.

"I ignored my family, I ignored everything," he said. "When you're coming down, you're so angry you're not high that there's no time to see what you're doing. You don't ever wake up to reality because you never go to sleep."

When he was younger, Londo had been involved in some minor trouble, but he'd cleaned up his act and lived a good life until he became addicted to methamphetamine.

Responding to a tip from neighbors, officers caught Londo manufacturing the drug while visiting a family member's apartment at Central West Village. Londo pled guilty to manufacturing methamphetamine in October 2004.

"I was initially furious. Neighbors reported smelling something strange, that is why I was arrested," Londo said. "But now, I know they did the right thing. What I was doing was very dangerous."

At first, Londo said the severity of being arrested didn't sink in.

"Those first two weeks after you're arrested and put in a jail cell, you're body just shuts down so it can recover," he said. "All I did was sleep. I didn't talk. I lived in a fog, just going through the motions."

Once the fog cleared, prison forced Londo to take a hard look at his life and the choices that put him behind bars. He decided his life had to change.

"I don't ever want to be back there again," Londo said about his reason for taking advantage of programs provided by the Indiana Dept. of Correction that helped him understand his addiction. "I had to be honest and see the consequences of my actions. When I was using, I hated myself. I knew what I was doing was horrible, but I couldn't stop it. I felt completely hopeless. I had no control over anything. I just can't explain the emptiness I felt."

Londo said he learned that honesty should be prized and the truth should never be hidden.

"I lost my life to meth, there was no life. All my life was about was the drug," he said. "I maintained a façade for a long time, but there was no quality time with the people I loved. There was no enjoyment in anything."

With his fiancée standing at his side, Londo decided he wanted his family back. He wanted his life back.

"I've met some people that really care in these programs, if they didn't, they wouldn't be in the prison system trying to help," he said. "The CLIFF Program saved my life. I've never been a faithful person, and that program taught me other ways to live."

While Londo was learning a new way to live with his addiction, his family has been waiting for his return.

"I will never fully recover from this disease. I'll be working the program the rest of my life," Londo said. "Doubt that life will ever be normal again, but I want to be as close to it as I can. I've learned that I have to rely upon numerous people, but I've built a strong support group of people waiting on the outside."

Admitting to being a bit nervous, Londo says he is ready to return to his family, but knows the readjustment will be hard.

"I think it will be much harder on them then me. My life stopped, but they had to continue on and learn how to live without me," Londo said. "I have to learn how to do things their way now. My first priority is to meet my financial requirements and get a job."

Ready to live again, Londo has some advise to share with anyone considering using methamphetamine or the family and friends of an addict.

"It's not just horrible people that get involved with methamphetamine, or any type of drugs. It touches all walks of life, all types of people," Londo said. "I've seen doctors and lawyers in prison because they got caught up with meth. It's getting out of control, becoming a cancer, an epidemic that is taking over our community. People need to realize that it's not just criminals that do meth. But, if the people that care for someone caught up in meth doesn't get them help, they could become a criminal. I hope people will get informed enough to spot the effects of methamphetamine and help those trapped by it. They could help save lives."

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