By Tanya Hazelwood
Home is where the addiction is…
I have just reached the 120 days sober mark and my sensitivity to my surroundings is getting stronger. Our community is plagued with addictions. It’s no secret that Greenbrier County is a mecca for people with prescription drug addictions and meth labs. The problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better. How many more times are innocent children going to be neglected to the point of death because Mommy and Daddy are passed out stone cold with crusty white residue on the rims of their nostrils? Sure, the pill head problem is a big deal around here but guess what? So is alcoholism, however, for some reason that’s way more accepted.
There is a company in Beckley that installs and monitors the blow-n-go systems that people with DUIs are ordered to have in their vehicles. I’ve been to this place with people I know that had these systems. The fellow there said to me that he got more customers from Greenbrier County than anywhere else. So much so that they went ahead and just opened a place here. Sad truth.
Now, wrap your brain around this. Once I applied for a job at The Greenbrier. I am very qualified for the position and they were pretty excited about me coming on board. Then the background check came. As I have mentioned in my past I have somehow managed to never had gotten a DUI, BUT, I did have a couple misdemeanors on my record. One was for a drunken bar fight which I spent 12 hours in jail for and later charges were dropped. I also had a reckless driving ticket that was also dropped. These two were within the last few years. Now let’s go back several years. I had a charge of Obstructing an Officer for which I had to go to court and spend 24 hours in jail. I was in a very abusive relationship and had been beaten and called 911. When the police came, they arrested him, took him to the local police station and then… well, he was allowed to call me. He called me over and over and told me that since this was his 2nd domestic violence charge on me in WV he was looking at long jail time. If I just told the cops I lied nothing would happen to me. If he went to jail, I would lose everything. I was brainwashed. So I did. I went to the police and told them I lied, he never touched me. They released him and days later I was charged. So, there, that was on my record along with a public intoxication ticket. After applying for the job at The Greenbrier I was turned down because of those misdemeanors. I went to court to have them expunged and was successful with a few, but because of certain laws, was unable to get the obstruction charge removed. Here’s the kicker. The Greenbrier told me that I could have been hired if I had a DUI, that was the only misdemeanor they would accept, but would not overlook a charge where I actually did NOTHING wrong. A DUI WAS OK. Can you believe that? That just shows me how bad our community really is and how accepted alcoholism is.
Now, I am not saying that everyone in Greenbrier County that goes out drinking is an alcoholic but I guarantee you there are way more people out there, just like me, that have severe drinking problems and need to abstain from alcohol. It just bothers me that no one really wants to address this problem. How many deaths have we had at the hands of drunk drivers? How many more suicides do families have to endure over drugs and alcohol before people step up and make changes? How many more families and children have to suffer before something is done? We need to wake up, before it’s too late. I regret it’s taken me 39 years to wake up, but I have no regrets in my sobriety.