For Amanda Browning and Karri Hole, the proof is in the pudding.The two local residents are wanting the community to understand that recovery from drug abuse is possible and they have a new organization to prove it.
Browning and Hole, both recovering drug addicts, have been instrumental in forming the Drug Court Outreach. The purpose of the group is to create opportunities for members to be able to take part in activities that give back to the community. Hole, who was heavily into drugs including heroine for 20 years, has had the desire to participate in a community outreach organization since participating in the Montgomery County Drug Court program. She wanted to prove that she and other recovering addicts are nice person and capable of doing good things despite her past. She wants people to understand that a drug addict is a human being.
“We want others to see that recovery can happen and it is real,” Hole said. “We have people who want to be genuine and responsible adults who want to be productive citizens. We are real people with real lives. We can become productive again.”
Hole and Browning, who both are Montgomery County Drug Court graduates, describe their past as “living hell.” Both ladies started using drugs in middle school by smoking marajuana. Don’t ask either of these women if smoking a joint was good for them.
“There is no doubt marajuana is a gateway drug,” Hole said. “That is where it started for me and soon I was always searching for the bigger high. I started when I was 12 years old and it took me down a path that I am sorry for.”
Browning, who was an addict for 15 years, agreed with her friend that marajuana played a part in her becoming addicted to drugs. The result was never experiencing a time that is supposed to be fun for a teen — high school. She said because of drugs, she was never able to have a healthy relationship with a boy, and family relationships were stressed. Her mother passed away before she entered the world of addiction, so she lived with her grandparents.
“I placed my grandparents into a place that they could never trust me,” Browning said. “My two brothers never gave up on me, but they understood what I was. I was nothing to be proud of and I believed I was going to be a bad person for the rest of my life. It was horrible.”
Both women were placed into the court system. Hole actually spent time in a state prison on two different occasions and Browning spent time in the county jail. Hole had her daughter taken away from her at one point.
“When the police came into my house to arrest me, my 10-year old daughter was right there to see it all,” Hole said with emotion. “I have put my daughter through so much. I am thankful that she is such a good girl and does not want any thing to do with drugs today.”
Both women joined the local drug court program. The program gives drug addicts who are in the legal system a way to become productive citizens. Hole’s first stint involved with the program ended after three weeks when she was high for one solid week. But, at that low time in her life, she knew she had to get serious about changing.
“I went to my probation officer and told her I was ready to change,” Hole said. “I did not want to do drugs any more and I begged her for a second chance.”
While in the drug court program, Hole felt the urge to begin a program for recovering addicts that would help bring self-worth back into their lives. After recognizing that the only way to get out of her addiction was to change the people she associated with, change the places where she would find herself and change the things in her life that stopped her from having a drug-free life.
“The best way to become a productive person again is to give back to the community,” Hole said. “Community service projects is where it’s at. It helps people and it makes an addict feel they are worthy again. For me, I had to change everything. You find out who your real friends are when you are in jail. My drug friends never came around, or acted like they cared. They were not really friends.”
Participants in the Drug Court Outreach must either be involved with the drug court now, or be a graduate of the program. Some recent service activities they have taken part in are Salvation Army Red Kettle ringers, preparing and serving food at the HUB food kitchen, stuffing envelopes for the Montgomery County Community Foundation and hosting a Christmas party for everyone involved with the drug court.
Now the group has a dream of renting a building downtown Crawfordsville for a Sober Recreation Center for members and families. There would be fun activities at the center and the public would be invited to such things as movie and game nights. Eventually the group would like to own a house for recovering male addicts who are not served in the community today.
Drug Court Outreach meets from 6-7 p.m. every other Sunday at Allens Country Kitchen.
For more information about the group contact Hole by email at