Glenwood resident headed for a better future |

Glenwood resident headed for a better future

Pete Fowler
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Tressa Marriott hasn’t seen her son, Jason, in about 12 years. She had been selling meth and didn’t have a job for about seven years.

But today she’s been sober for almost four years and looks forward to a better future. She gives a great deal of credit to the 9th Judicial District’s Ray Combest Drug Court.

“I think that I’d probably be dead right now if it wasn’t for the drug court program,” Marriott said.

Marriott, 32, got pregnant at 17. She said the parents who adopted her kicked her out of their house in Littleton and disowned her when she refused to get an abortion. She was pregnant and alone bouncing from place to place. Jason’s Godparents took him away from her when he was 3 and she subsequently got into hard drugs.

“Once they jerked him away from me altogether I started doing coke and I wanted to die,” she said. “They just took away my reason for being.”

After some teenage marijuana and alcohol use, she got into cocaine and later methampetamines, her drug of choice. Not having any family for support made it a whole lot easier to get sucked in.

She moved to the area when she was about 21 to be with a man. She worked at an auto glass job. Using drugs seemed to let her forget a bit about not having her son or any family.

Marriott said her drug use escalated and the low point of her life came about five years ago. She injected meth for about six months while also using other drugs.

“There’s nothing left of what my life was,” she said. “You never ate. You never slept. It was a horrible life.”

Marriott said she sold large amounts ” ounces and sometimes quarter-pounds of meth ” while living in different places around New Castle, Silt and Rifle. She was living at a trailer park near New Castle when she was arrested in 2004. About 30 people a day would be in and out of her home through all hours of the night, Marriott said.

“The legal consequences never entered my head,” she said. “I was making $1,500 ” $2,000 a day.”

She tried to get one of the cars off the property in response to an eviction threat, but the steering column fell out on a bridge in New Castle and police approached the car. Luckily, she said, police never saw over an ounce of meth, a scale and lots of plastic baggies inside her purse. She’d called an ex on her cell phone and he managed to get the purse from her, she said.

But police did find the car owner’s prescription painkillers and drug paraphernalia, which eventually led her to drug court. Marriott said she was angry at first that she was charged for someone else’s drugs and she wanted to believe she didn’t need help.

Marriott got out of a short jail stint before drug court and didn’t go back to the probation office. She was living as a fugitive in Rifle for about a year. She said she’d already been trying to get clean after the lucky break during the arrest made her realize she needed to change. She said she was working at a liquor store in Silt when her probation officer walked in by chance and said, “Don’t I know you?”

Marriott graduated from drug court about a year ago after participating for a little over a year. It wasn’t without its struggles. She once got a six-day jail sanction during Easter for drinking and smoking marijuana.

“They taught me how to be a grown up,” Marriott said. “Drug court taught me how to like myself, how to have goals and start achieving them. … It becomes a sober family for you.”

At first she was just going through the motions, but by the time she got past drug court’s initial stages, the process made her forget she was just trying to get by and she began to value life more. She wanted to succeed as District Judge Denise Lynch, probation officials and drug court participants watched her progress. She said she’s off probation now but still talks to drug court probation officer Terry Shanahan regularly.

“I think the hardest thing to grasp was that you’re not in control when you’re not sober,” Marriott said.

She said drug court helped her recognize strengths within herself and learn how to avoid self-destructive tendencies. Marriott hasn’t quit cigarettes, but she’s held a full-time job for three years and currently works as a parts driver for Glenwood Springs Ford.

“Tressa’s doing a good job for us,” said parts manager Eric Carlson. “She gets along with everybody and is willing to try new things whenever we’ve got a new project available. She pitches in wherever she’s needed. She’s a hard worker.”

Outside her regular job, Marriott still mentors other drug court participants. She bought her first car in 10 years and says she’s now able to grow as a person. She felt like she didn’t have a family of her own before but that’s changed.

She lives with her fiance in Silt. They hope to buy their own house in about a year and his large family has more or less adopted her, Marriott said.

She knows that when her son is old enough to ask the questions he could find his mother a sober, responsible person. Most importantly, she said, she now knows she can stay sober and take care of herself no matter what.

Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121

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