FROM DRUGS & CPS TO LEADER
To know me today, you could not possibly guess that I was a different man a few short years ago. I am Bill Jones, and today I am a leader, a parent coordinator and an ally for Dad's Matter, a program which serves Grays Harbor and Pacific County. My passion is helping others. However, throughout my life, drugs negatively affected me and caused me to be far from where I am today.
When I was 5 years old, growing up in southern California, I was prescribed Ritalin for ADHD. By the age of 9, I began taking two pills at a time because it helped me perform better in school. When I was 14 years old, my family and I moved to Grays Harbor and my drug abuse escalated as I began using drugs intravenously for the next 29 years.
I was infamous in Grays Harbor at this time, and was in and out of serious trouble with law enforcement. I spent time in prison for the manufacturing of methamphetamines and was in prison from 1997-2001. I was released on a technicality and won my appeal. However, once released, I went right back to using meth, but no longer distributed due to keeping a promise with my mother that I would not manufacture anymore. Sadly, my mother passed away in 2005.
Shortly after, in 2006, my daughter Emma was born. In January 2008 Child Protective Services removed her from my care due to neglect. After she was removed, I went into a downward spiral using drugs heavily for the next several months. During this time, I wasn't very cooperative with social services. I dove deeper into my addiction. In June of 2008 I went to my social worker and said I just can't do this anymore, I don't want to lose my child and I need help.
Today I am extremely grateful that social services stepped in and removed Emma from my care. Dragging our children through our addiction is not okay. The sooner people understand that they have a duty to protect children, even when it's from their own parents, the better off we will be. The love for my little girl gave me the will and courage to start fighting against the addiction and regain custody of Emma, who is now almost 12 years old. I also have four other children living with myself and my girlfriend of 9 years, Michelle.
I have been clean since August 20, 2008 and still work hard each and every day to maintain my sobriety. It is possible with a strong support system. The fact that I consciously take life one day at a time helps, I have good and bad days. Knowing that all it will take is slipping up one time to throw it all away keeps me pushing forward. I am now a full time student enrolled at Grays Harbor Community College and working toward a degree in human services so I can continue to work with parents, be a mediator, and help break down the court system for those whose cases have just been opened. My plans include continuing my servicing efforts and I hope to eventually create a mother's program similar to Dad's Matter in the future.
I am very humbled by being able to change my life and do things differently.
It's not about me though. It's more about what I can do to help others.