“When I came back from the 28-day [rehabilitation] program, I thought it would be a good idea to run for public office. I won the election for city council in Charleston.

Right after the election is when this happened with my cousin. He was one of the first cases where he allegedly gave heroin to somebody who overdosed and died from it.

When [the police] took his cell phone, they found incriminating messages between us. They tied me to what had just happened. The news blew it up, like I was trafficking drugs into Charleston. That wasn’t the case; I was a user. But the news could use me to blow this case up, since I was a public figure.

It was a regular thing for me to be on the news every couple months. It was just a circus, and I didn’t care because I was using. Everything in my life revolved around me being high. I wouldn’t go to work or spend time with my kids unless I was high. It was so miserable that I couldn’t wake up in the morning and look myself in the mirror. I hated myself for what I had become but I wasn’t able to stop.

Once I got into treatment at Recovery Point, I resigned from city council after two or three weeks. I’m coming up on fifteen months clean. I don’t have cravings or triggers. I don’t even think about using today—it doesn’t even cross my mind. I know all the things I’ve gained back in my life because I’m sober. And I’m still gaining things.

I’m about to become a recovery coach. I’m getting my license back. I have my children back in my life. I have a job and I’m a responsible citizen now. I can get up early and go to work. I have money in my pocket that I’m not trying to blow on drugs.

It’s just a good feeling, and the biggest thing is my children being proud of me. My relationship with them has been awesome. It’s nice to be able to buy them clothes or take them to a movie.”