How It Happened
by Deonte Johnson
Second place, nonfiction, Heard/Arlington County Detention Center/OAR writing contest, August 2020
I loved fentanyl and heroine more than anybody or anything else I stole from my kids and mother to get high and didn’t feel bad about it.
As intelligent and goal oriented as I am I hung around all crooks and low life people twice my age who lived like I was getting high day in and day out, manipulating others, committing crime and living in the streets. Our way of living was the total opposite of the average law abiding citizens.
When everybody was up getting ready for work and going about their day productive I would be somewhere sleep and when everyone winding down for bed I’m just getting up running the streets looking for a way to get my first fix. It got to the point where I started staying up for days so I wouldn’t wake up sick from not having my fix when I woke up.
I would go hard in the streets to get money to stay high this lifestyle and my way of thinking at the time caused me to be arrested over 30 times. I didn’t learn my lesson from none of those arrests because either I got out the same day or wouldn’t serve no more than 90 days in jail.
Every time I got out the first thing on my mind was getting me some dope once I made it home to my neighborhood in no time I was welcomed back with my first high for free then before you know it I as back in the swing of things running the streets, committing crimes, and within my first month of being home a warrant would be issued for my arrest.
I was always placed on probation I would never report due to my continued drug use. Everybody I surrounded myself with pretty much conducted themselves the same as I did so none of us seen nothing wrong that’s why why we hung out together. When the police wanted to make an easy arrest they would just roll up on me and run my name because most likely they knew I had a warrant.
While living like this I never went home for two reasons one being my family didn’t tolerate my behavior and two because I had to travel too far to cop so I rather stay in the streets where I had easy access to everything I need.
Besides I was ashamed of my physical appearance and my family was speaking a bunch of stuff at the time I didn’t wanna hear about going to a program and getting clean how they always praying for me and I need to stop running the streets, stay out of jail, get a job and take care of my kids.
I use to be so high and use to doing what I wanted to do at times I forgot I had kids it’s sad but true. Even when I decided to give them a call I would make them a bunch of promises I couldn’t keep. For special moments such as Birthdays, and Holidays I wouldn’t show up because I looked bad and the dope man had all my money and full attention.
I didn’t even attend my grandmother funeral and help comfort my dad in a time he needed me most that was his mother and he loved her to death. I didn’t have my fix the morning of her funeral so I didn’t go.
Although I never tried to get clean I was scared to because of all the stories I heard I heard about how bad it would be withdrawing off heroine also I never thought I had a problem.
However on August 10th 2019 all that changed my addictive behavior caused me to cross the bridge in Arlington Virginia and commit a crime I was held without bond and been here in the ACDF since.
Being here in the ACDF I have been able to accomplish things I couldn’t accomplish on my own in society such as physically winging myself off heroine with the help of Dr. Ashby and the medical personel I was able to.
The ACDF has provided a safe and secure environment that has allowed me the opportunity began my recovery from from addiction process.
I don’t think anybody ever got more out of coming to jail than I did. In fact this jail enabled me to study far more intensively than I would have if my life had gone differently. Where else but in the ACDF could I have attacked my ignorance by being able to study intensely.
I’m in treatment today privaleged to be a part of the ACT unit I’ve had the opportunity to learn all about addiction how it affected myself and others. Also I learned how to begin dealing with life on life terms without being intoxicated.
Now today I’m comfortable with communicating and asking for help! Clinically I’ve allowed my brain enough time to transition from the addictive state back to a normal functioning brain.
Also I’ve managed to begin rebuilding broken relationships with family and love ones mainly my children and their mom! Today I’m much better than I was when I came to this facility.
Honestly I needed this experience being confined to one place for a period of time to get a grip on my life before it was to late. This facility saved my life since being here I’ve been able to set goals for myself now I have more than enough tools in my tool box to stay clean and sober be a great dad and successful upon leaving this facility.
Thanks to the ACT unit staff, some of the deputy’s I’ve conversed with over the past year and Ms. Watkins for all of the information, words of encouragement, and positivity y’all surrounded me with has helped me in my recovery process and has also helped me to think the way and become the man I am today!!