Drug Court Grad Gets His Life Back
Excerpt: Ira Michel remembers the moment he realized he was hopelessly addicted to drugs and alcohol.
“I was sitting in my car, a glass pipe in one hand, a bottle of whiskey in the other. I took a drink of whiskey and said to myself, ‘OK, I’m done.’ But a minute later, I picked it back up,” he said recently from his office at Okanogan County Juvenile Detention. Again and again, he tried to take just one more drink, one more hit, and set that bottle and pipe down forever.
But he just couldn’t do it.
Michel, 32 — who now counsels kids with addiction problems in the county’s juvenile outreach program —said the realization hit him hard. He always thought he could stop whenever he wanted. Drinking and drugging since he was 14 years old, Michel was ready to give it up. But he didn’t know how.
“In my mind, I felt I had gone too far for help,” he said.
A daily drinker who also used pot, cocaine, methamphetamine and other drugs, Michel said he tried to control his use. He tried using only alcohol. Only pot. But ultimately, he said, “The longer I used, the worse things got.”
Then, on March 22, 2005, Michel was arrested.