Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jun 2006
Source: Union, The (Grass Valley, CA)
Copyright: 2006 The Union
Author: Robyn Moormeister
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Having Kids Taken Away Drives Woman To Get Life Back On

Bobbie Thurman enjoys a day at the park with her daughters Dejah, 4,
and Crystal, 11, Wednesday at Memorial Park in Grass Valley. A year
ago, Thurman lost custody of her girls due to her addiction to

A year ago, Bobbie Thurman lost her heart and soul to methamphetamine

When police officers were called to her Butte County home for a fight
between her and her sister, they saw a meth pipe out in the open and
could smell sewage seeping from a leaky pipe.

The officers called Child Protective Services and took custody of her
children, Crystal and Dejah, then 10 and 3 years old,

Thurman, paralyzed by fear, didn't know what to do.

"I was a really bad addict," the 30-year-old said this week. "I
thought I was going to be an addict for the rest of my life. I thought
that's who I was."

When Thurman was 14, she ran away from her home in Nevada County to
live in Los Angeles, fueled by the belief that addiction and "chaos"
was all life had to offer.

Her marriage three years later in Marysville, to a meth addict and
alcoholic, seemed to reaffirm those beliefs.

Her husband, she said, had already been living the life of a meth
addict long before she met him. He had been a ward of the court his
entire childhood and was a heavy user of meth and alcohol. He is
currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for felony drunken

Thurman gave birth to her first child shortly after she was

"I didn't know how to get clean," she said. "I knew I needed to get
off of it (meth)."

When her husband was released from a prior prison sentence, they tried
to get clean together.

With the use of alcohol, she said, she managed to stay off meth for
two years.

"That didn't last long," she said.

Thurman relapsed out of boredom and a lack of proper support. She said
she seemed destined to be an addict for the rest of her life.

"It was scary," Thurman's 11-year-old daughter, Crystal, said recently
while sitting on a cement bench near the playground at Memorial Park
in Grass Valley. "I know what (drugs) are all about. They're about
horrible things."

But Thurman's priorities seemed to change when Child Protective
Service took Crystal and Dejah. Suddenly drugs took a back seat to her

"I wasn't about to live without my kids," Thurman said, as her
daughters sat nearby. "They needed their mom."

Last fall, Thurman walked up to the Community Resources and Recovery
office on Henderson Street in Grass Valley and announced she needed

She said the recovery community embraced her immediately.

The Recovery Alumni Association gave her a $100 gift card for
groceries and paid her overdue $300 Pacific Gas and Electric bill.

"I don't know what I would have done without them," Truman said.
"There was no way I was going to be able to pay that bill."

She attended meetings and spent time with other recovering

"At first I was really scared," she said, "but now it's exciting. I
face new challenges every day."

She was the first recovering addict to move into a new transitional
house for women in November. She was also the first to leave the
transitional house in May, with keys to her own apartment on Dorsey
Drive in Grass Valley.

At 10 and a half months sober, she has custody of her kids and a
full-time job working at her parents' shop, Premier Tile and Stone on
South Auburn Street in Grass Valley.

Thurman said she's learned tools for sobriety she couldn't have
adopted alone, including the ability to pick up the phone and call a
person in recovery when she's having a bad day, or to stop and take a
deep breath when she's frustrated with one of her daughters, instead
of yelling.

"It's been really good," Crystal said. "She's clean and sober and with
us again."

Thurman said she doesn't want to use drugs again, while she still
occasionally struggles with an urge to use. And that's when she puts
her new tools to use by calling someone.

"The longer I stay sober, the urges are less frequent," she said.
"Now, I deal with problems that arise in a correct manner. I can let
things go."

She is thankful for her family and regrets putting them through years
of "chaos." "They've been there for me no matter how bad it is," she
said. "I'm really glad to be clean and to have this 100th chance. It's
for my kids' sake. (Addiction) is a cycle and the cycle has to stop
right here."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin