Reporter's notebook Part V: Finding a new beginning

Mary first called us because she wanted to make a difference. She wanted to use her own life to show others the horrors of methamphetamine addiction.

And she did. It would be easy to judge Mary on the surface. She's certainly made mistakes, some with potentially devastating consequences.

She may not deserve your sympathy, but she does deserve your attention.

There are lessons to be learned. Don't we all have addictions, compulsions or bad habits that are holding us back?

Despite the weaknesses she's given in to over and over in her life, it was an act of courage to put them on display in the hopes she might help someone.

Detective Dave LeGros said he often sees the same people committing the same crimes. And, he said, the sad truth is that their children often follow in their footsteps.

But, he said, he can't feel sorry for people who turn to drugs because their parents did. He said people must make their own decisions, break the cycle.

"Wrong is wrong, and right is right," he reasoned.

And he's correct.

But children of drug addicts do have a particular burden, and the only way to overcome it is to choose a different life.

So far, Mary hasn't been able to break the cycle. But that doesn't mean she won't. And her children still have their lives ahead of them.

In getting to know Mary, it's easy to like her. She has a laugh that makes you believe everything's going to be OK, and a natural enthusiasm that's contagious.

She sincerely loves her children.

It's a tragedy that not only has she missed out on being a mother, but her kids have missed out on having a mother. She could be a good one.

And the community has missed having someone who could be a positive influence.

This final part of this series was the most difficult to write, as it became clear that Mary was not going to stay clean.

Although it wasn't the ending I'd first anticipated, I think there is still hope.

I was talking to Sheriff Kenny Furlong, whose own daughter has battled meth addiction.

As a sheriff and father, he shared his insight.

"With meth, there are no happy endings," he said. "If you're lucky, there's a new beginning."


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