GJ man uses family as inspiration against meth

It all sunk in when Adrian Chavez’s son asked him why he didn’t love him.

Sitting on the other end of a visiting room table a few weeks into treatment at Summit View Drug Treatment Center, Chavez couldn’t believe what he heard. He looked at the boy’s mother to see if she fed him the line, but she looked shocked as well. Chavez told his son he still loved him. The boy wanted to know why, then, his dad left.

He left because he had a meth habit. It got Chavez into trouble and landed him in the Mesa County Jail late in 2008 for possession of methamphetamine. He heard about Summit View, a county-run drug treatment program atop the Powell Building at 650 South Ave., and decided to give it a try. He moved out of the jail’s pre-sentencing program and into Summit View in hopes of convincing a judge he didn’t intend to reoffend.

It was a rough start. Chavez, now 30, was used to doing things his own way and wanted to get over his addiction his way. He found out it didn’t work like that at Summit View.

“I didn’t want to follow the exact rules, but you have to,” Chavez said.

He refused to take the treatment or his counselors seriously until his little boy, now 11, came to visit him during Christmas 2008. His son’s words broke his heart. That become his motivation to grow up, in his words, and change the way he thought. He had met about half the people in treatment at some point in jail, in court or on the streets. They banded together to deal with their problems — not just addiction but the coping skills and issues that led them to drugs — and called each other out once they were comfortable enough with each other to tell when someone was lying or not trying hard enough.

Chavez said he struggled to change how he approached life. If he needed money before, he thought of a way to steal for it. Now he had to think about paying bills through hard work.

“To me the bigger issue was getting away from my thought process. It’s not always about getting clean. I had to change the way I dealt with things,” Chavez said.

He left treatment after completing the program in April 2009. He moved into transitional housing, then lived with a girlfriend until they split. He got married about three months ago and has an 8-month-old son with his wife, plus two kids he brought into the relationship and three she brought into the relationship.

“We’re like the Brady Bunch,” he jokes.

Chavez has two jobs and is one year into an automotive program at Western Colorado Community College. His five-year probation ended ahead of schedule around the same time he started school. He still talks to his counselors at Summit View, which is common among former clients, according to Summit View counselor Bill Wimsatt.

“I’ve had a person tell me ‘I just bought my first car and I bought it with my own money.’ I’ve had people say ‘Sorry for any crap I gave you,’ ” Wimsatt said. “I see them at the grocery store and they want to come talk to you and tell you they’re doing well.”

It’s the little, seemingly corny things Chavez learned in treatment that help him now. He looks at a picture of himself and his wife on his phone to remind him of what he has to lose if he ever goes back to meth. He still has workbooks full of inspiration and uses breathing techniques. He tells his kids constantly to never do drugs or get anywhere near them.

He would like to think he could walk away if he ever saw drugs again, and he is definitely more comfortable post-treatment since he got married. But he’s honest about his addiction and knows it would be even harder to climb out of the habit if he fell again.

“I came to the self-realization I’m always going to love the drugs,” he said. “But I’d rather love life than something that isn’t going to get me somewhere.”


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