CLAY | “I never pictured a clean life while I was using.”

“Cocaine is one of those strange drugs. It doesn’t like get you all inebriated and stuff. No, it kind of like makes you better, almost. You’re better; see better; smell better.

So, when cocaine showed up it was socially acceptable. If you’re in business and you happen to have a little coke when you go to make a presentation, you kind of, maybe even, put it out there better. And that’s kind of how it snuck up on me. It was like 14 years before I even tried to get clean.

I think I literally worked at 20 or 25 different dealerships. People will put up with a lot of crap if you make them money.

Well, I consistently burned every bridge. Almost everybody gave me a second chance. You make somebody 20,000 bucks, they keep you around for a little while.

If I wasn’t doing dope I was getting money so that I could buy dope, so that I could do dope.

My dad really never got to see me in my right mind. I was still a raging drug addict when he committed suicide and I took advantage of it as a way to get more money for my drug use, if you can believe that. That’s how horrible of an addict I was.

I don’t know how many jobs I wasted; how much money stolen from my mom and my brothers and sisters.

Once I was in one of these weekly stay places and we were doing drugs. And I don’t know exactly how my mom got ahold of this person, but he brought her to the place where I was at.”

Gloria, Clay’s mom
“I had to pick up some riffraff so he could tell me where to go and I had my gun right on my seat between the two of us. And I told him I had it and he better behave. So he took me where he said Clay was and he went up and told Clay I was there.”

“I said, ‘I ain’t going anywhere,’ and the dope dealers didn’t want me to go anywhere either because if I walked out they weren’t getting any of my money.”

“Clay wasn’t gonna come down until he told him I had a gun.”

“He said, ‘she watched me come up here and she does have a gun.’ Then they made me leave.”

“Well, the adrenaline flowed or I wouldn’t have gotten through it. I figured, my kid’s in trouble, I gotta go.”

“The last person that I had a real relationship with, she didn’t make it out. Every addict has been there. We were really stressing out for dope.

She told me, she said, ‘look, go home and wait for me.’ She hit the street and it wasn’t long before somebody picked her up. She got in that truck and that was the last time I ever saw her.

She was missing for four years before her remains were discovered in a shallow grave on the West Mesa with 11 other women.”

News footage
“Forensic scientists have now identified two more of the eleven women found buried on the Albuquerque West Mesa.”

“So even with that, I still couldn’t stop.

I never pictured a clean life while I was using: didn’t ever picture a clean life. I didn’t believe that I could have one.

I believed that the only thing I was good for was doing dope. As addicts, we just wear people out. Anybody that shows us any affection, or anybody that cares about us, those are the ones that get torn down and used and hurt the worst.

I came to this exact to Salvation Army no less than five times — probably six times. Instead of saying, ‘oh, here he comes again,’ they’re still there. They still said, ‘come in.’

You know, I think the first time I was in the program was in 1994 and I didn’t get clean until 2009.

That last time I went over to the bunk that I was assigned and I just got on my knees and I said, ‘you know, God I’m not gonna be able to do this. I’ve been using drugs for 30 years. I can’t quit. If this is gonna happen, you’re gonna have to do it.’

And I heard a voice, just as clear as us talking here right now, say, ‘are you ready Clay?’ Just that clear. ‘Are you ready Clay?’

And I can tell you that every day since then I’ve had enough power to do what was in front of me that day without going out and using or drinking. Every day since that day.”

Salvation Army Major Raewyn Espeitia
“We get to help them be in an environment where they get start again, clean and sober, living good lives. It’s really exciting. I love to see God do that work and be a part of that work. That’s exactly what’s happened to Clay and it’s just fantastic to see.”

“It’s a funny thing. If you’re not spending all your money on women and drugs you can save some money. You really can!

So, after, you know, ten years of no drugs and women and craziness, I was able to put a sizable down-payment on a on a house. And to me, it’s my mom’s house because I had basically taken our houses for my drug use.

She has it decorated just the way she wants. She can count on me again, you know?”

“If I was gonna die tomorrow, I’d be okay with that because what more could I ask for? It’s what I prayed for many, many times, many nights, all night. That’s what I prayed for. Now it’s prayers of Thanksgiving.”

“Thirty years I was using: 30 years. But God saved me.”

>>> <<<

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please visit to find out more about our drug and alcohol programs.




Real human stories of people overcoming challenges and seizing a second chance with The Salvation Army.

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Kathy Lovin

Kathy Lovin

Salvation Army PR gal, Jesus lover, harpist, Janeiac, former White House staffer, sewist, cat lady, Seinfeld scholar, Presbyterian deacon & wildlife advocate

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