A Meth Miracle

Brittany, 26, and Evan, 9-months.

Rockfield, KY – I’ve been in southeastern Kentucky longer than I expected. I came here to do a story on the methamphetamine problem, a topic that, like addiction in general, has long fascinated me. But large stories take time. Tracking down good sources, setting up interviews, transcribing them, research, re-interviewing, is labor intensive. Add to this my limited access to wi-fi, electric power, etc, and I’ve been off the grid for a few days.

More stories are coming. Promise.

There isn’t much going on in this area. Last night I checked out the local roller derby league’s first home bout ever. Magnolia, who I met yesterday morning, is one of the derby girls. She told me I should come out. So I contacted Jenni, the organizer, to see if I could come take pictures and write an article. She put me on the guest list. I arrived late. The place was packed. No good pics. Researching tragic stories is emotionally exhausting. I was too wiped to think about doing anymore interviews. I cut out well before it ended.

It had been a pretty intense day.

Yesterday morning I sat in on an addiction therapy session at a place called Alternatives to Treatment, run by an ex-addict named Wayne Hoffman. Many of those present were court ordered to attend as a condition of their bond. Many are facing prison time. I’ve met a lot of people Wayne Hoffman has had tossed in jail over the years. Even so, they speak reverently of him.

I spent several hours yesterday evening with Brittany Baize, who Wayne had thrown in jail a little more than a year ago. Brittany, 26, is a recovering meth addict who, like most addicts, has suffered her fair share of tragedy, self-abuse and the consequences of her recklessness. She is one of the subjects of the bigger story.

A brief bio: Her father introduced her to drugs at 12. By 18, she was cooking meth. She did some jail time. Got off meth only after her doctor began prescribing Ritalin and then Adderall, which she said were as good as meth, but with the benefit of never having to leave the house.

A few years back, in a very short period of time, both her father and uncle died of overdoses. Her sister was murdered and another sister was killed after being hit by a car. Her brother died while driving drunk. She lost her kids. Her teeth. She nearly died when her organs began shutting down. She knows she’s lucky to be alive. She’s grateful Wayne Hoffman sent her to jail.

Now clean for 10 months, Brittany has three of her four kids back and is likely to get more visitation rights for her fourth – and oldest – soon. She is optimistic for the future. In fact, she’s radiantly upbeat. It’s difficult to connect who she is today with the person she’s been telling me about. “For the first time in my life,” she told me, “I’m learning how to be a person.”

Her boys are healthy, active, inquisitive and have beaming smiles. They wrestle, run, ride bikes and invited me back to play Xbox with them. Her youngest, Evan, learned to crawl just last week.

Brittany knows recovery is a fragile thing, that 10 months clean is merely a drop in the bucket. The upside is that most meth addicts never go that long. Indeed, meth addicts have a higher rate of relapse than any other addict, crack and heroin included. Upwards of 98 percent never kick.

Despite all she’s overcome in the last 10 months, the aftershocks will ripple through the foreseeable years. Brittany suffers from chronic depression. Is lonely. Endures the stigmas, doubts and contempt of others, prejudices that former addicts never really shake. But her foremost problems today are her health. Drug abuse has taken its toll on her body. This week she’s having a diseased gall bladder removed. She has chronic stomach ulcers. Her bones are brittle from acute calcium deficiencies, a side effect of meth abuse. She’s still putting on weight.

She has taken up guitar, drawing and has recently discovered the Internet, Facebook and blogging.

Wayne Hoffman considers Brittany one of his miracles.

Time will tell.

10 Comments

  1. Jonah says:

    I’ve been watching Breaking Bad lately, which is about a blue/white collar high school chemistry genius (played by Bryan Cranston – father in Malcolm in the Middle) who, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, decides to begin cooking meth. I too am fascinated by the meth scene and this show portrays a very interesting dynamic and insight into that scene. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those with substance problems. I hope they find help and get support wherever they need it.

  2. Brittany Baize says:

    I just wanted you to know that tomorrow I will be celebrating 1yr clean and sober. You writing about my journey has helped me because my fight got some recognition and it has given me just one more way to be held accountable, so Thank you Nathan, meeting you was truly an inspiration to me. Christian should get to come home unsupervised in August and Ian, Colin and Evan are doing great.

  3. Danielle says:

    I commend you Brittany for having the courage and strength for not only getting clean, but staying clean!  If you had one piece of advice what would it be?  I have a brother who has been addicted to heroin for years.  He has a 1year old daughter he can’t see and is serving his 3rd prison term.  Every time I try to help he fails, therefore I have given up…On another note I’m so glad you let Nathan write about your struggles and triumphs, that also takes courage.  Stay strong girl!  Lord knows we need strong women out there to represent us all :)Nathan- your stories rock bro!  I just know you will be heard all over the world some day!  There’s nothing more touching in the world than a real life story, we all have a story and we all deserve to be heard  🙂

  4. Brittany Baize says:

    It is unfortunate but your brother has to get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Don’t give up on him just don’t give in. I had my children ripped away 3 times befor I finally got the help I needed, befor I finally got tired of being nothing but an addict. Thank you for your comment, and another update, Christian is coming home every Saturday for 16 weeks then I will have my Joint custody put into effect, Only by the Grace of God, One day at a time. I always heard don’t quit 5 minutes b4 the mirical happens!!!!!

  5. linda says:

    I celebrated 9 1/2 yrs clean in July.Today is another day I choice to keep it that way.As a teenager I was drinking by the time I was 13,doing any type of drug by 16 & then when I reach 20 I got myself together had a baby at 24.Everytime was going good.Then also I was living with an addict who abused me in diffrent ways.Time went on I had my own business & all I thought I needed in life a daughter that was & still is my world my kids I took in from drug abuse mothers & I finally hit a downfall in 1998.My husband stop beating me,yet I found a few things out that tore my world apart.So I locked myself away started drinking yo ease mt hurt.That wasnt enought I smoked pot that wsnt enough,by that time my husband was cooking dope,using,selling.So i ask him to let me see what the high was all about at first he refused,yet he did.I was doing crack-crank-pot-booze-meth.I weight 155 in 2 weeks i went to 88 lbs.I couldnt eat.I just wanted to die.I tryed to kill myself.God had another plan.Thankful that I got clean.Found God.My ex husband wasnt about to stop he went to prison for robbing 5 banks,to support the habit.I change my name,moved,fought to keep going to my meetings & finding the new way of life & I did with the support of friends  & my daughter.Now I try to work with others who are where I use to be.Brittany you are a strong person & you are a fighter.Keep it simple Just for today.

  6. Larry says:

    I am lucky to call Brittany a friend of mine, who I have known since she was 13.  She is one of the strongest people I know and I am proud of her accomplishments and what she has done.  I think of her a lot and wonder how her and the kids have been.  I know some of the crap that she dealt with when she was younger and glad she did not become a statistic.

  7. Brittany Baize says:

    21 months and counting and I have joint custody of My Christian now and I am able to go to his baseball games and my other boys are doing great. I am happy with my life. I have found that I no longer have bad days just bad moments…Thank you Nathan for writing this and putting my story out there. I love you and take care…

  8. Brittany Baize says:

    I just celebrated 2 and a half years clean and I can honestly say that I feel and look better than I have in my entire life. My boys are happy and my life is stable, I am so grateful that Nathan took time for me and wrote this because I do reflect on it quite often.

  9. Brittany Baize says:

    I am just going to Share my FaceBook status for Today and Say thank you Nathan for taking out your time and hearing my story-‎3yrs
    ago Today my world changed, my life was ripped apart by drugs. Some
    people think it is no big deal to go 3 yrs without a buzz but I can
    promise you it is and I am a better person without them, I am not as
    good as I want to be but I know without the drugs anything is possible. I
    have my family back and all of my children are healthy, I have a chance
    in life and I thank everyone who have encouraged me along the way I
    love you and just know that change comes quicker in some then others but
    it is possible.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I know it takes alot for someone to be able to let their story out, I am so proud of Brittany for she was a good person before but more amazing now because she not only is beautiful and happy but she is a great mom of those handsome boys.. She has always been a great friend to my uncle and I know he is proud of her too..

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe without commenting