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30 Sep 2019

Community Voices: Yes, I Overcame Drug Addiction—and It Makes Me Better Suited to Lead

Written by  Peter Maietta
Peter Maietta. Peter Maietta.

Almost 20 years ago, I went through the darkest time of my life. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a man who made me feel isolated and weak. I wish I could explain why I loved him, or why I stayed, but as with most abusive relationships, it’s beyond words.

In the beginning, I didn’t realize he had a drug habit. By the time I put all the signs together, I was too invested to move on. He nagged me to try it, and out of desperation to fit into his life, I complied. Unfortunately, I liked it.

Thankfully, that relationship eventually ended. But just because the boyfriend was gone didn’t mean the addiction went away. I maintained the habit for a year on my own.

One day, I realized that I was putting my life, my job and my personal relationships at risk. I needed to come clean and get clean. I told my then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jim, the truth. He was supportive and responded with support and compassion.

I quit cold turkey.

It was the single hardest thing I have ever done. I was nauseous, lethargic and unmotivated. The temptation to fall back into the habit was constant and strong. But I was stronger, and I have never achieved something so momentous in my life. Regardless of the outcome of this election, or anything else I ever do, I doubt I will ever be as proud as I am to have fought through the sickness of addiction.

But with that pride comes the knowledge that I am privileged. The road to overcoming drug dependency is long, and it looks different for everyone. My story is not unique: 19.7 million Americans suffered from substance abuse in 2017.

Not everyone has the stability in their lives to “just quit.” Many people don’t have financial flexibility to miss work, health-care coverage to have regular check-ins with their doctor, or supportive spouses to fill in the gaps in life while they focus on recovery.

This experience is part of why I am running for the Palm Springs City Council.

Palm Springs is plagued with public-health and public-safety issues that intersect with each other.

  • We have one of the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in Riverside County.
  • Our homeless population is growing, and is disproportionately impacted by substance abuse.
  • The LGBT community is at a higher risk of substance abuse and mental-health issues due to increased violence and other stressors.
  • The Native American population is historically the single most-addiction-impacted population in the United States. What is Palm Springs doing to help our neighboring communities?

The truth is our mental-health services, like all our social services, are lacking, at best. This must change, and I will fight every single day until it does.

For me, it’s not political rhetoric. It’s not about making empty promises on the campaign trail or telling people what they want to hear. It’s about an opportunity to make a real difference on an issue that is hurting our communities.

This is me. This is my life. This is my experience.

I am ready to lead from a place of compassion, understanding and empathy. Because I’ve been there. I have felt the struggle. I have overcome the demons. And I am holding my hand out to pull the impacted people of Palm Springs up with me.

As a community, we can overcome anything.

Peter Maietta is a candidate for the District 2 seat on the Palm Springs City Council.

2 comments

  • Comment Link Mary bowman Thursday, 10 October 2019 04:04 posted by Mary bowman

    Law enforcement
    What s joke
    I was robbed by my clesning lady.
    She then sold my stuff on eBay
    I found out she had a felony conviction
    For crystal meth possession. Law enforcement would not reveal her long rap sheet.
    These people are smarter than our law enforcement who are lazy.

    Report
  • Comment Link Brenda Wednesday, 09 October 2019 07:27 posted by Brenda

    How refreshing if you are what you say you are? PS and the whole Coachella Valley is suffering a HUGE opioid crisis! My daughter fought heroine use for 7 years in this valley. We damn near lost her more than once! I stole her phone different times and found dealers - called them out, gave the cops the info and they did NOTHING with it? I have chased them down myself and called them out. They really don’t give 2 shits because it’s not punishable by law enforcement? They do nothing? “Because you can’t lock up all of them”. We can educate all day long... This Valley is rampant with drug use. How are you planning on making this any different? This is a subject is very NEAR & dear to my heart. I am passionate about getting people help who want it, but there are very few. They are addicted; hook, line & sinker. The shit that is coming in now is killing people. They are so deep into their addiction that they really don’t care. People are dying everyday and the dope dealers have no responsibility or accountability for their deaths. There has been a few states that have passed the law that if there is an overdose death; it is investigated and if they are able to trace it back to where it came from and proven the dealer does life in prison for premeditated murder. If something like this were to happen in this Valley it would open many eyes! Then some say; “well, they didn’t know what they were selling?” I say tough shit!! Maybe this would help them give up the “big guys” when their life is on the line. I believe this is were it should start! When my daughter was in her addiction there was a dealer who would bring her an 8 ball of cocaine and a fifth of fireball - he would deliver it TO HER HOUSE! I think this was his way of keeping her hooked. They are not stupid people. I could go on & on.... My daughter had to leave this state to get her sobriety. I thank God everyday! Many of her friends & acquaintances have passed away and some are still out there. So what are your plans for this crisis??

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