Moving past meth

Recovering addict hopes to help others

Since she was 14 years old, Jessey Stie--gelmeyer has been hooked on methamphetamine.

Stiegelmeyer, 23, said she has done a lot of things she isn't proud of to feed her addiction, including stealing from her parents, selling the drug and getting one of her best friends hooked.

But in December, while she was in the Moffat County Jail on a methamphetamine charge, Stiegelmeyer decided she was ready to quit meth and try to help other addicts, she said.

Stiegelmeyer, who said she has been off meth for almost a month, has started a support group for recovering meth addicts and addicts who still are using.

The group's first meeting is at 7 p.m. Friday at the Craig Fire Station, 419 Yampa Ave. By being around other addicts, Stiegel--meyer said, people at the group would get a new perspective on what meth does to them. She said she hopes working with other meth addicts will help her overcome her own addiction.

Downhill

Stiegelmeyer only used meth two or three times before she was hooked, she said.

She said she doesn't remember the first time she smoked meth, but after about the third time, she was smoking meth every day. "My life just started going completely downhill," she said.

Before she was 18, Stiegelmeyer had been thrown out her parents' home in Cortez, lived in her car and watched friends go to prison for meth. Despite all she saw, she continued to use the drug.

In May, Stiegelmeyer moved from Cor--tez to Craig to take care of her grandfather and to try to kick the meth habit.

She said she knew there was a meth problem in Craig but thought moving away from her friends in Cortez would help her get off the drug. "I thought I was strong enough," she said.

But the meth scene in Craig was bigger than she expected, and she quickly met other meth addicts, falling back to the same routine of using every day.

"Meth addicts are attracted to other meth addicts," she said.

In November, police arrested Stiegelmeyer on a meth possession charge in Craig. A judge will sentence her for the possession charge next month.

A new motto

When Stiegelmeyer got out of the Moffat County Jail in December, she wanted to join a support group, she said.

Her mother is active in a meth support group in Cortez, and Stiegelmeyer said she said she wanted to go to one for help.

When she didn't find a support group in Craig that she liked, Stiegelmeyer decided she would start her own.

Her mother, Jeanie Stiegel--meyer, said she was glad to hear her daughter had started the group. "If she can redirect her energy to something good and make something good come out of her addiction, maybe that's what God always had planned for her," she said.

Because she also has been through meth addiction, Jessey Stiegelmeyer said she thinks meth addicts in Craig would be more willing to attend the support group.

Organizing the support group marks a change in Stiegel--meyer's lifestyle and her daily routine. She said she hopes the support group will help her stay focused.

"I have a new motto," she said. "Do what you have always done, and you're gonna get what you've always got."

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