By Christina Calloway
Pamala Combs looked onto a group of recovering drug addicts Wednesday as she gave an emotional plea for them to stay consistent with their efforts to be sober.
A grandmother from Clovis, Combs told her story of drug abuse and the long road to recovery. She said she would reach for drugs and alcohol to deal with the hardships of her life, including being sexually abused as a child and living in abusive relationships.
Although she tried to get clean for the sake of her children, Combs said it wasn’t until her participation in the Ninth Judicial District Adult Drug Court program that she realized something had to give.
“Don’t think of this program as a punishment, think of it as a privilege,” she told program participants at a Drug Court celebration in the Roosevelt County Courthouse.
Combs told her success story hoping to inspire the program’s participants, which include Roosevelt and Curry County residents, to commit to their well-being.
Program Manager Robin Miller said participants are on probation through district and magistrate court.
The 48-week program requires participants to attend two groups a week, individual therapy, two outside support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, and that they get drug tested anywhere from two to five times a week.
Wednesday’s celebration commemorated the eight years of Ninth Judicial District Adult Drug Court program and 25 years nationwide.
“I have a granddaughter who’s 4 years old and she’ll never see that side of me,” declared Combs.
Kitty Rodriguez of Texico was another program graduate who shared her success with the group.
Rodriguez has been sober since 2008 and used methamphetamine for 25 years. Rodriguez said the only time she didn’t use is when she was pregnant at age 14 and 16.
Rodriguez, who is now employed with a local church, said her children and grandchildren are her life now.
“My biggest blessing in my life was going to jail and getting sentenced to Drug Court,” Rodriguez said.
She said the Drug Court staff and participants became her friends and family as she celebrated her recovery.
“They’re always there for you,” Rodriguez said.
Prior to the testimonies of Combs and Rodriguez, Ninth Judicial District Judge Donna Mowrer handed out sobriety tokens to group members.
One member recently made a 98 in one of his college courses, and another member said since being clean, their life is already getting better.
Those are words Clovis Police Department Lt. Robbie Telles likes to hear from the program’s participants.
Telles is a program board member who said it teaches them there is a better life than the criminal activity they participated in.
“It’s designed to give them the tools to make that change,” Telles said.