I have lived in the Cape Girardeau area since 1981. At the age of 13 I began using drugs and alcohol, and my life changed dramatically for the worse.
By the age of 15, I had been involved in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. I did whatever I felt I needed to do to have drugs in my pocket. Until just a few months ago, no one would tell me I was addicted to methamphetamine. I was in complete denial.
Now at the age of 32 I am in the Ozark Correctional Center participating in a one-year treatment program that addresses drug addiction as well as behavior modification. I've had no choice but to look at what I've done, not only to myself and my family but to my community as a whole. I truly and sincerely apologize.
Understand that no matter how fun or exciting things may seem to you when drugs or alcohol are involved, you must always remember that things aren't always what they seem. Methamphetamine will ruin your life. It will take everything you have.
I'm fortunate because my family will get to see me again, and I will have a chance to give back to my community. But I know many men and women who aren't nearly as fortunate. Addiction won and their families will never get to see them again. Meth can and will take your life. No one is immune to its destruction.
KEVIN DUDLEY, Fordland, Mo.