MOUNT GILEAD — Amanda Daubenspeck kept 75 people attending the Morrow County Winter Drug Court graduation in suspense as she told her story of 10 years of drug and alcohol addiction.
Daubenspeck, who is now just 24, grew up in Mount Vernon, Ohio and began using alcohol and drugs at the age of 13. She said her dad was a “workaholic” and was often absent, while her mom was an alcoholic and a gambling addict.
Many problems began when she was 11 and her parents separated. She was 13 when her brother died while driving drunk.
“I took off running at 13 and started skipping school and using drugs and alcohol. I was raped and hanging around older people a lot,” Daubenspeck said.
She was in a couple drug programs in Knox County as a juvenile, but nothing stopped her use of drugs and alcohol for long. At one point she fell and had a back injury.
That injury led to an addiction of prescribed opioid medication. She began prostitution and was stealing as ways to make money.
Anything to get drugs.
“I’m surprised I’m still alive,” said Daubenspeck who added that she got little support from her family.
Daubenspeck began self-mutilation and acquired an eating disorder. She was in a long-term relationship and got pregnant. The prospect of having a baby made her want to get her life turned around and she went “cold turkey.” That led to a miscarriage.
She went on continuing in a life of drugs, alcohol and prostitution when she was kidnapped from a party in New York State. She blacked out and woke up in Buffalo, N. Y., not knowing what had happened.
‘THE FAST LIFE’
At that point she felt hopeless and decided she needed to get clean. After going to school she was able to get a job in real estate. However, that didn’t last long because she found herself bored and “wanting to go back to the fast life.”
She moved to Morrow County and got a job in a bar when her two best friends committed suicide. Daubenspeck said she attempted suicide when she hit “rock bottom.”
Her boyfriend called the police when she locked herself in the bathroom. She said she “went berserk” when police came and they had to restrain her.
“There are many paths to sobriety,” Daubenspeck said as she recounted her years getting clean and sober. The first step was when her boyfriend took her to an intervention in Newark, Ohio.
She spent three months in detox and seven months in rehab. She found success in a less-structured “transitional rehab program.” Daubenspeck now works with peer support groups.
“Sometimes it’s not family or friends, but you need those who have been through the same things and can help you work through it,” Daubenspeck said.
“I got pregnant again and know now that I want to be the kind of mom I didn’t have,” Daubenspeck said with conviction.
“I did whatever it took to get high. Now I’m doing whatever it takes to keep sober,” she said.
“I know I need to be strong enough to stay away from things that weaken resolve when life is hard. “
About 25-30 adults who are presently in the drug court program listened to Daubenspeck’s speech earlier this month. Following her talk, the 15 new graduates of the program each spoke a few words stating the benefits of being clean and sober.
They encouraged those now attending drug courts to take life day-by-day.
“Just know these guys will do anything to help you,” said one graduate, referring to counselors, judges and probation officers.