Amarah's Corner: Lonnie’s story from Alamosa County jail

If I woke-up tomorrow morning and my life was perfect: I would not be locked-up away from the people who need me on the streets. I know I would be closer to the Father above. And, everything that I have been through would not look the way it looks today. And, the family that is ‘out-there’ - we would be a family and not some outsider, looking in.

My advice for kids like me: Stay strong and know that everything isn’t as you see it. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? If so, believe that He matters most because He will always have your back.

And, He will help your parents overcome their addiction(s). Believe that everything is possible. I know it’s possible because I know someone who was an addict, a gang-banger and he was in prison.

God touched his life and now he don’t do nothing but live a life for God. So, Believe, and things will be better.

My name is Lonnie. I’m 37-years old and I was born in Alamosa but was raised in Sanford and in Pueblo. My parents divorced when I was real young. Both of them drank alcohol and used drugs; I wanted to be like them. My mom used to have parties at our house so, I used to steal beer from the 12-packs left on the floor. I was 9-years old when I started drinking. My brothers and sisters did the same. My sister and cousins told me to get weed from mom’s stash. You see, mom used to sell weed when I was a kid. So, I knew she always had ‘bud’ (that’s what we used to call it).

So, I went to her room, took what I wanted, gave some to my cousins and my sister and kept the rest. I was 8-years old when I started smoking weed and I smoked a lot of it, by myself.

When I was 11 and my brother was 12, we moved to Pueblo with our dad for a few years and I got into a lot of trouble because I was smoking weed and drinking. I got jumped into a Crips Gang when I was 12 because I wanted to be like my brother who got jumped-in a week before I did. I was trying to be like everybody else, and I got locked-up my first time in 1996 and have been getting locked-up ever since. I did all kinds of drugs and drank a lot of alcohol.

June 25, 2004, I was drinking and got hit by an 18-wheeler in Alamosa and was life-flighted out.

In 2009, I was drinking too much again and almost died because I was throwing-up in my sleep. My ex-wife saved my life, but it didn’t stop me from drinking or drugging. I had to spend another 10-years locked-up before I gave it up, thanks to my faith in Christ Jesus and having faith in myself to lay it on down.

And, yes, I was living on the streets or at laPuente Shelter, where there was drugs. But I just walked away because I knew where drugs would lead me. But, my ‘down’ was not weed.

It was ‘water’ (that’s what people call meth). I have been clean from meth for 37-months, and I’ll stay clean when I’m free.

Alcohol and drugs messed-up my whole life. All I wanted to do was get high and I didn’t care who I hurt. I used to break into cars and houses looking for money so I could buy more.

I don’t have kids but if I did, I would do everything in my power to stop using so my kids wouldn’t do the same things I’ve done.

If I could change anything in my life, I would change the way I acted when I was growing-up. I should have kept going to school and listened to my parents. Mostly, I wish I had never gotten jumped-into a gang when I was just a kid, not following in my brother’s, or anybody else’s, footsteps.

My advice for addict parents: Think of the people around you. Think of your kids and/or your grandkids. Think what you need to do to get clean. Addiction takes time to overcome. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you really want to change, it’s all up to You. Nobody can make that change for you.

Grandparents, show your grandkids that life is not as they might see it. Show them there are better things to do than what they see. Tell them about Jesus Christ. Tell them He loves them deeply and He’ll always have their backs when things seem too hard, and to remember that His Love, and your love, will make things a little more, better.

You’re a kid like me, Lonnie. Thank you for sharing your story.