OP ED COLUMN

"Keep God First": Rocky Meadows Is Fighting Huntington's Drug Epidemic

Updated 2 years ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
"Keep God First": Rocky Meadows Is Fighting Huntington's Drug Epidemic

by David Williamson

Rocky Meadows sat across from me and I watched him actively listen to two addicts that I asked him to counsel. "The direction you follow today will determine the future you create," he told the mother and daughter who shoots up heroin together after he listened to their stories.

"If you are ready to get help you will be able to do it. You have to take care of yourselves first. Get yourselves clean first before you worry about each other. If you want it bad enough you will find sobriety." Rocky was patient when he needed to be and firm when he went to make his points. This is a man who clearly understands people and addiction.

The best drug counselors and advisors are former addicts. They have actually been there and have literally experienced everything that an addict goes through. They know all of the lies, all of the temptations and all of the excuses because they have lived through them themselves. They have been successful in finding a way past all of the traps and relapses and they can effectively coach someone to victory over addiction.

Rocky Meadows started living an addict's life at age 10. It started with a 7-11 Big Gulp cup of beer. He was addicted to cocaine at 14. He was a young boy roaming the streets of Baltimore looking for alcohol or drugs or anything he could find.

His father died and he moved to Huntington at age 18 with his mother. His parents were from Beckley and he thought moving to West Virginia would get him away from drugs.

However, life in Huntington just led him deeper and deeper into drugs. "Huntington was really a lot worse in those days than it is now. The drugs were more wide open back then."

Rocky had never met Jesus before 2002. He met Jesus and became saved. The strange thing was even although it was a powerful experience meeting and accepting Jesus as his savior, his life got worse after he met Jesus.

In January of 2008, Rocky was sitting in a car while two accomplices were robbing a man at the Huntington Inn when one of his accomplices was shot and killed by the person they tried to rob. Rocky pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge and was sentenced to one to ten years in prison.

On November 7,2008, the police kicked his door down and hauled him off to jail. After 37 arrests and multiple stays in prison that totaled nearly ten years, Rocky knew it was time to let God into his life and to, as Rocky fondly says, "Keep God first."

Rocky opened his first Life House in 2011. He has been impacting lives and saving addicts ever since. "This isn't Moneyton any more," Rocky says. "Things have changed. It may be hard for some people to believe but it is getting better."

Rocky credits the change on The HPD's effort starting with the direction of Skip Holbrook and continuing with Jim Johnson and and current Police Chief Joe Ciccarelli . "There's still the pipeline from Detroit but the dealers are scared. They know if they stay too long they will end up in prison."

The heroin epidemic has raged across the country and the world. It has impacted Huntington hard but Huntington is fighting back.

"Huntington is doing some cutting edge things. Huntington will be a Mecca of recovery," Rocky said confidently.

Rocky has been doing God's work in Huntington. The stories are all over the media about the lives that heroin has taken in our city, but if you go to his page The Lifehouse , you can see the lives that Rocky snatched out of heroin's clutches.

After battling his own drug addictions for 24 years, Rocky is now in other addict's corners battling addiction. He is right behind the addict as they fight and eventually defeat the same demons that he fought in his battle.

Rocky Meadows is not just fighting for his own life now, he is fighting to save a city. With God leading the way, Rocky will help win many more battles over addiction. After meeting and seeing the man in action, I suddenly feel that Huntington has a fighting chance against the drug epidemic


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