Roxanne Grantham, 55
clean since December 3, 1998
Every morning, she would meticulously dress in her crisp U.S. Airforce uniform and report for duty at the radio operations facility in Ramstein, Germany.
“Growing up, I really thought my life was normal,” Roxanne Grantham says. “But in hindsight I realize there was a lot of dysfunction.”
“There were six of us kids. We were poor. My mom was a maid and alcoholic, but took care of us.”
After graduating from college, Roxanne enlisted and after tech school was shipped off for Germany to serve as Information Systems Radio Operator along with her husband. After five years and achieving Sergeant, they returned to the U.S. Their daughter, Melorene, was born in 1990.
And not long after, trouble began.
Roxanne dabbled with cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana as a teen. But after returning from Germany her use escalated.
Then when she was 32 and her daughter just 18 months, friends introduced her to cocaine.
“The slide began. From crack I moved on to what was called the “combo platter” — crack, alcohol, and marijuana. Then I started selling.”
In 1997 she was arrested.
“I asked for help immediately,” she recalls. “I wanted help so badly. But the cops were more interested in using me to nail others and my use continued.”
As Christmas approached in December 1997, she hit rock bottom. It’s a night she can’t remember and a day she’ll never forget.
“There were two empty fifths of brandy on the floor and a crack pipe in my hand. And I thought, oh my God, where is Melorene? I had no idea where my daughter was.”
Mel was seven then and Roxanne knew she had to change the path of her daughter’s life. “And so I prayed — prayed hard for it to be different,” she says.
Those prayers were answered when Judge Difanis ordered a 28 day residential stay after her arrest for two felonies on December 3, 1998, a day that turned into her clean date.
That 28 days turned into an eight month stay at Prairie Center.
“Treatment was my life-saver. Without it I would be dead. I’m never going back to that life.”
“Mel doesn’t remember a lot about my time in addiction. But she does remember my early recovery. She took the journey by my side and she learned as many life lessons from it as I did. It’s making her stronger, too.”
Roxanne glows as she brags about her daughter, who is now 26. “She has two associate’s degrees: in Culinary Arts and Business Management.” Mel now lives in Cincinnati and is working on getting her Bachelor’s in Culinary Arts.
Roxanne turned her experiences into a profession and was hired by Prairie Center as an Addictions Counselor. After nearly nine years, she now works at Carle Hospital using those same experiences to help others.
“I have a passion for giving back,” she says. “I love counseling and helping others.”
Her advice to those who need help? “Get support. Get humble. Let someone help you. You cannot do this alone.”