On Your Side: Recovering drug addicts spread hope, a message about life after addiction

Former drug addicts return to familiar ground to help those on a similar path find a way out of the darkness. 6 On Your Side went behind bars at the Huron County jail.

Former drug addicts return to familiar ground to help those on a similar path find a way out of the darkness.

6 On Your Side went behind bars at the Huron County jail.

It’s the kind of place most don’t see themselves in, but there’s a distinct familiarity for Ashley Morrow, Stefani Clifton, and Cori Marocco.

The women ready a conference room for the arrival of their guests, over the next hour, you hear laughter, witness sadness and forget for a moment that you are in jail.

“There’s no judgment number one that’s the huge thing that I have with you guys,” said Angie McIntire, an inmate at the jail.

Confinement is a lifestyle McIntire wants to change. “My whole life has been this pattern,” said McIntire. She says crack cocaine led her down this dark road. “Trafficking and drugs led to burglaries led to theft of checks and now I’m here,” said McIntire.

Stacy Cole is just finding her way through the unknown. “This is the first time I’ve ever been to jail,” said Cole.

Cole is a mother of two boys who now have nothing but time to think about her biggest regret. “I was under the influence of drugs around them at one point they kept asking me what’s wrong with you why are you acting so weird it’s hard to believe now that I did that,” said Cole.

Angie and Stacy share similarities with women who get it. “We were once where you girls are at so we know how you’re feeling everyone’s feelings as addicts as jail inmates as females broken females we can identify,” said Clifton.

6 On Your Side has met one of the peer supporters in the past, we sat down with Cori Marocco in Marion two years ago.

“I didn’t want to do the program like I’d rather just go to prison,” said Marocco then. Heroin was her drug of choice.

“My life was a mess I was just stuck in a cycle I was in and out of jail in and out of rehab,” said Marocco.

This is her now. Her drug court certificate is on display as well as her confidence.

Marocco found her calling at the newly opened Huron County Peer Recovery Community Center. The center is right across from the jail in Norwalk.

“This is our intake or reception room,” said Marocco. “I think seeing all these people struggling without resources to help them made me and the others I work with want to help someone else,” said Marocco.

Marocco now goes behind bars on her own terms. “It’s very different it’s very humbling, I like it,” said Marocco.

Marocco says it’s her opportunity to let people like Stacy and Angie know there is life after addiction. “They need to know I’m also a felon and look what I can do they can let in the jail and also let me out,” said Marocco.

Cole will soon move into a halfway house and a step closer to reuniting with her boys. “I’m all they have only living parent I want to stay sober and get out,” said Cole.

McIntire’s future is uncertain with a case pending, but she knows one thing for sure: she is happy in jail. “It can get to the point of being clothed having a shower every day eating a meal every day not being able to use,” said McIntire.

Oddly, that sentiment is shared. “It saved my life I feel like so if I was on the streets right now I’d probably not be here,” said Cole.

Marocco says jail can be a dark and lonely place. “I don’t want to be your guys’ authority figure I want to be like your equal,” said Marocco to the inmates.

But at least once a week, the possibilities seem endless for a new life on the outside.

“2018 is a new year and all of you are doing big things,” said Marocco.

Once released from jail, the women can visit the peer community center where they’ll find a number of recourses like how to get started with GED courses or a job search.

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