- Associated Press - Saturday, December 10, 2016

ALBION, Ind. (AP) - In her jail booking photo from three years ago, you can still see the red mark on Faith Spriggs’ left arm where she injected methamphetamine.

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, her face is droopy, eyes slightly downcast. In the photo, she’s still high. She had just gone to someone’s house to see if she could score more meth when police stopped her and found drugs and a syringe in her purse.

Now, Spriggs looks at the photo and sees someone who looks sad and sick.

Three years later, she’s a graduate of Noble County Drug Court and hasn’t used for 32 months. She shared the photo - with pride - with the large crowd gathered during her graduation Dec. 5 to show how far she’s come.

“It’s hard to believe that it was me, because I’m so different now,” Spriggs said.

Her slip into addiction started at just 12 years old, when she and a friend stole the friend’s older brother’s alcohol and drank it during a sleepover. They did that several more times.

In her teen years, her boyfriend and his friends smoked marijuana, drank and popped prescription painkillers. She started doing it, too. By 18, she began using methamphetamine.

Her life on meth was a rapid downward spiral.

“Complete chaos. You have a one-track mind, and that was just how to get more so you could get high,” she said. “It didn’t matter what you had to do. You do what you had to do to get it.”

She stole. She sold her possessions until she had nothing left.

She sums up the rest simply by saying she did things she’s “very not proud of.”

She didn’t work. Her car was repossessed. She didn’t have a home. She bounced from house to house with little more than a backpack. She’d be shooting meth six or seven times each day.

Homeless, Spriggs literally lived under a bridge for a period of time.

“You don’t have heat. You’re outside. Rain comes; you’re going to get rained on. We had a couple blankets and a bag, that was all,” Spriggs said. “You couldn’t eat whenever you wanted to. It was whenever the rescue mission served.”

Spriggs abused alcohol and drugs for 14 years before she finally got caught in October 2013. She was picked up on a $500 warrant for child court. No problem, she thought, because a friend could pay her bail. Then police found the meth and needle in her purse.

She was so high at the time that when the officer asked if there was anything in her purse he might poke himself with, she said no, because she didn’t remember there was a needle in there.

“I think it took me a good two weeks to come to, that this was real. I knew I was in jail. I knew where I was at, but I didn’t understand the severity of what I had done,” Spriggs said. “I was so high when I was arrested, I saw them pull those things out of my purse and thought they were going to overlook it.”

She enrolled in drug court and got off to a tumultuous start as she tried to wrap her head around all of the new rules she needed to meet between bond, the halfway house and the drug court program.

“It was so overwhelming at first, and I remember just sitting down in the living room on the chair and just crying and crying thinking, ‘I can’t do this. Why can’t I just be like other people - go to jail for a couple months and get out, go back to doing whatever I was doing?’” she said.

Spriggs relapsed twice. After the first four months, she ran away from the halfway house, got high and turned herself in the next day. Four months later, she ran away again, got high and evaded authorities for two weeks before getting picked up.

She was so high that time that she wobbled down the long driveway to the police car in a haze.

But the rigorous drug court requirements kept her honest. Spriggs jokes that the drug court staff is nearly as all-knowing as God in keeping tabs on their enrollees. But she credits God the most for helping her throw drugs out of her life and make a change for the better.

During graduation, Spriggs thanked Noble Superior Court 2 Judge Michael Kramer for issuing a no-contact order for her and her husband, who also was using at the time. That kept her away from him, but also helped him kick his habit when he realized he wanted family more than getting high, she said.

So she doesn’t recognize that sad, sickly girl in the mugshot anymore.

“I have a relationship with God, a great relationship with my husband and my children and my family. I’ve gained a lot of trust back, especially with my parents. I have real friends that aren’t just there because I have dope,” Spriggs said. “I have an education. I have a good job. I get paid more now than I ever got paid in my life.”

Out in public, she sometimes spots people who are tweaked out. She’ll see someone staggering around the grocery store and knows that used to be her. Like her old picture, now she’s just filled with sadness to see those people struggling with abuse.

She’s trying to help others. Spriggs and her niece started a substance abuse ministry at Harvest Community Church in Kendallville. She asked the drug court staff if she could give back as a sponsor or contributor in some way.

It’s ultimately up to addicts to decide they want to get help. They can’t be forced to change if they’re not ready. But when they are ready, they can find a lot of help in Noble County.

“Look at yourself. Look what you’re doing to yourself. There is so much more to life than getting high every day,” Spriggs said. “Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. There are shelters in Noble County, there are churches all over the place. Go somewhere and ask someone for help. There is a lot of help in this county.”


Source: KPC News, https://bit.ly/2hefltQ


Information from: The News-Sun, https://www.kpcnews.com

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