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You Are Not Alone Town Hall: A Success!

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More than 200 people logged on for our You Are Not Alone Virtual Town Hall last night, co-hosted by The Fix and In The Rooms.  A team of nine panelists comprised of top names from the medical, entertainment and literary field shared their personal knowledge and expertise about addiction and recovery.

“Events like the virtual town hall let us share the You Are Not Alone message with the largest audience possible and encourage deeper dialogue amongst our community,” shared Roselena Martinez, Associate Director of Marketing and Business Development at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, who opened last night’s event.  Panelist Fred Muench, PhD, added:  “The virtual event was a wonderful way to use technology to bring together so many people from various geographic locations and from different walks of life to discuss the diversity of recovery.” 

The speakers drew on their individual experiences to answer a number of questions, from both our lively and adept moderator, Ken Pomerance from In The Rooms, as well as event participants, providing the audience insights on the various ways in which addiction impacts different segments of society.  Specific issues discussed included the differences between men and women when it comes to addiction, how the media skews and portrays substance abuse and the role of spirituality in the recovery process.

“Amazing experience as a panelist this evening,” Tweeted Dan Griffin, event panelist and author of Helping Men Recover, after the event.  “(It was) a breakthrough in communication.”

We would like to thank our You Are Not Alone partners, In The Rooms and The Fix, the team of knowledgeable panelists and everyone who registered for and participated in the online event and embraced this new technology.

15 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Alicia Happoldt
    Alicia Happoldt / May 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

    My name is Alicia Happoldt; I am the wife of Robert Happoldt, who used to be a notorious drug dealer known as “Roger Rabbit.”

    I hope you will see, through this written word, that God can not only heal and deliver you from your problems, but he can also mend marriages and broken families.

    I was molested at the early age of four and two other men would have their way with me before I reached the age of seventeen.

    One of these men not only molested me but he introduced me to drugs and alcohol at the young age of thirteen. I did manage to graduate high school but not without being kicked out of school several times for drugs and alcohol abuse. Drugs and alcohol would control my life for the next thirty years.

    I eventually found a man who would have me so we got married and had two beautiful daughters. But, because of drugs, Satan wrecked this marriage and I lost it all, even custody of my girls.

    Shortly afterwards, I met Roger Rabbit and it wasn’t long till we were married. It was, however, A MARRIAGE MADE IN HELL We only stayed together for two reasons, drugs and making money. Wife abuse was part of Roger Rabbit’s daily agenda for my life and I endured it for twelve years.

    I tried to get my husband to go away and leave me alone, but he wouldn’t. And each time I got the courage to leave him, he would find me and drag me back home.

    Our relationship was spooky. We even joked that the only way we could ever leave one another for good was if one of us was 6 feet under. But I knew in my heart that that was not a joke and I feared for my life for most of the twelve years.

    Just when I thought my life couldn’t get any worse I was wrong, we discovered METH. Satan already controlled us, but with Meth his power over us was inconceivable. Nothing was sacred to us anymore, everything was evil. But at the time we both thought we were having the time of our lives.

    But God had a plan “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) . He used the 12th Judicial Drug Task Force to set His plan for our lives in motion. They busted both of us for drug trafficking.

    However it wasn’t long till we made bail and we were back on the streets living on and making our living from Meth. But that was short-lived and before you know it we had broken bond and were back in the slammer waiting to go to prison for a ten year sentence. We would not be eligible for parole for three years.

    God began dealing with me on my very first night in jail, and on March 9, 2002 I woke up and decided that I was through letting the devil control my life. I bowed my head, raised my arms and told the Lord I was done. I told Him I’d had enough of doing it my way and that He could have all that was left of me. I was His, to do with me as He pleased. I have lived for Him ever since

    I’ll admit there have been some rough roads, but, Jesus said serving Him would not be easy, but it would be worth it. Prison particularly wasn’t easy but He carried me thru it.

    Jesus totally delivered me from drugs and alcohol. He kept me from committing suicide and healed my marriage. I am now closer to my daughters and my parents than I have ever been.

    Oh, by the way, God saved my husband, too And now, the marriage that was made in Hell is a marriage made in Heaven

    We both ride with Heaven’s Saints Motorcycle Ministry and give our testimonies in jails, churches, and anywhere else we’re asked to.

    The Lord has blessed me with everything the devil has stolen and we no longer depend on Satan’s temporal pleasures to see us through each day. We now rely on Jesus for everything. With Jesus, life is wonderful and I can’t imagine living a day without Him in it.

    I have forgiven the three men who molested me and God has healed me from the hurt and shame of those experiences.

    Yes I’ve been tempted by drugs since I was released from prison, but there is no way I would disappoint my Lord or my family by giving in to them again.

    I am thankful for my victories over these temptations because it confirms in my heart that I am totally set free. It also confirms in my heart that my Lord Jesus Christ can and will see me through everything.

    I’ve been drug free since 2002 and Christ is now the essence of my being

  2. Avatar of Robert Happoldt
    Robert Happoldt / May 4, 2013 at 10:41 am

    They used to call me Roger Rabbit. I was a drug addict and a main player in the meth trade in Coffee County Alabama.

    Everything I did, I did for me. No one else mattered. It was my way or the highway. Satan had his hooks in me, and no matter what I wanted; drugs, money, or selfish pleasures, I got. Even hate was part of my world.

    My wife and I lived in Hell during these 12 years of lawlessness.

    I was above man’s law. I was above God’s law. I feared no one. I was a biker with a big gun and lots of dope. I had the world by the tail. Satan and I were partners, and he was the boss. Jesus wasn’t even a figment of my imagination. He didn’t live in my county and certainly not in my life.

    In June of 2000, however, my world came tumbling down. The 12th Judicial Drug Task Force busted me on drug trafficking charges. My leader/partner in crime dumped me like a hot potato and left me holding the bag.

    Where was he when they carted me off to jail and set a $50,000 bond on me? Hell I presume because he certainly wasn’t standing beside me.

    I had, however, learned a lot from him; tricks of the trade you might say. One of them was how to lie; so before long, I was free again on a small bond, and guess who was waiting outside the jail house? That’s right, my old Buddy, Satan.

    And before I knew it, I was doing, making, and selling all the dope I could. Satan and I were partners again. But before long, I was back in jail. No longer any use to Satan, he was gone again.

    This time my lies wouldn’t work, and I was sentenced to ten years in the Alabama State Penitentiary.

    Before I could be transported to prison, a bunch of preachers came by and laid some heavy Jesus stuff on me about how He could set me free. I wasn’t interested nor did I want anything at all to do with Jesus. But one night an unusual preacher came to my cell and said, “God is tired of knocking on your door and you not answering Him.” These words scared the Hell out of me.

    Soon after, I was in a stinking, filthy prison reading my Bible. I got to thinking about all the bad things I had done in my life, all the people I had hurt, and all the families I had destroyed with the drugs I had sold. I knew I was in big trouble with God, and if I went to Hell, Satan would be my tormentor instead of my deliverer.

    As I sat in my cell of that stinking, filthy prison, I began to make the acquaintance of a man who wanted to become my Heavenly Father, if I’d let him. He wanted to also become my Deliverer from this sinful life that had brought me and my wife nothing but pain and heartache.

    I read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. In other words, Jesus was willing to forgive me and give me a fresh new start.

    That was the best deal I’d ever heard of, so I took Him up on it. I got down on my knees on the floor of that dirty, stinking prison and asked the Forgiver to become my Deliverer. Instantly, a peace greater than any high I had ever had came over me. For the first time in my life I knew what true freedom really was. For once I was free!

    I still had 3 years to go on my 10 year sentence, but I needed those years to solidify the relationship I knew I must have with Jesus if I was to make it on the outside.

    I was released in October of 2004 and am now riding with Heaven’s Saints Motorcycle Ministry. Our ministry focus is youth and prison ministry.

    Every week or so I’m back in the very prison where I spent three years. This time not as a prisoner but as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Instead of showing inmates how to sin, I show them how to have life and have it more abundantly.

    Jesus has blessed me in so many ways, a wonderful wife of 15 years who stuck it out, great friends, and best of all, a new life. He’ll do the same for you if you’ll let him. His grace, love, and mercy are sufficient to forgive even you no matter what you’ve done in the past.

    Nobody calls me Roger Rabbit anymore because the old man Roger Rabbit died the night Jesus came to prison.

  3. Avatar of Jacque
    Jacque / April 19, 2013 at 1:07 am

    I started drinking at the age of 13,had tried it all by 18 and started using opiates, eventually, became an I.V. Heroin user. I have been sober since 2005. Live with my Fiance’ and we have an amazing 5 year old together, I would never go back, drugs numb your problems…but when you get sober again, your problems are right there looking you in the face double time, so be strong, face life, good and bad, head on, and get high on life, real life, family, how happy they are to see you succeed in a healthy life, sober. No one is happy all the time, but you get through the hard times by leaning on those who love you and those you love. Family, friends, support, whatever, but drugs and alcohol are enemies not supports and they sure can complicate everything, so pick your own “rock bottom” and climb out ASAP, the longer you are hooked the worse it can be to stop. You can do it. May Peace and Love be with you through your time of need.

  4. Avatar of marissa
    marissa / March 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    wow your stories are amazing congrats and i hope the best. im struggling myself with addiction so i totally understand.

  5. Avatar of Chery Quinn
    Chery Quinn / March 2, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I have been involved with drugs for most of my adult life in one form or another…….I always told myself that “I controlled ‘it’ – not the other way around”…..it is only by the grace of God that I am not dead. I made up my mind two days ago, that no matter how hard my life should become – and it is a mess right now- i would walk away from the biggest lie i ever told and get some help. Today is the second day of the rest of my life. I am going into a treatment program after my surgery next week and finally learning to live and I am so excited. Take one day at a time. Trust in God. and pray, pray, pray. Even when you cannot love yourself, God loves you and wants you to have a better life than dancing with Satan and his drugs.

  6. Avatar of Kevin
    Kevin / February 25, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Y name is Kevin and I was a drug addict and alcoholic for over 25 years. I have clean for almost seven years. I believe in the faith based approach. It was my accepting Jesus into my life that had changed everything for me. The LORD needed to get my attention and he did. These last few years have been the best ones in my life. Don’t get me wrong, it has not been easy. We all need a support system to make the changes that we need to make in our lives. I am now a productive member of society. I have a wonderful wife and family. I just want to encourage those that are dealing with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Believe in something higher than yourself. Then you will be able to move forward. Always move forward even if sometimes it is baby steps. When those people say that they don’t know what I am going through I always tell them “Insanity is repeating the same thing and expecting different results.” Just remember that their is an answer to any problem that you may have. Just look up and ask God to help. It worked for me and still does to this day.

  7. Avatar of SashaLynn
    SashaLynn / February 3, 2013 at 2:37 am

    starting out as a freshman i never thought that i would shift into a different world. highschool is hell, and anyone who says its not has obviously cheated through some things or kissed ass. trying to even fit in is hard, and sometimes drugs/alcohol is that key to get into the “your noticed” group. once i started smoking pot, it helped.. i felt ok again.. it become that everyday thing that let me run away even if it was for a couple of hours.. grades fell, my care for things dropped, anger, frustration, etc and just like everyone says, its a gateway drug.. i began testing things.. anything from pain killers to E.. now that was horrible.. ecstacy was fun ill admit but the feeling you get after constantly doing it for 3-4 months straight is anything but fun.. memory loss, twitching, anxiety, panic, pain, everything you always here on the side affects of a medcine at a pharmacy.. it was horrible.. and finally understanding i was addicted and need to stop i began a change.. too many people were leaving, school was going down hill, and my attitude began a spiral.. anger attacks on people cause my family life to go to hell.. and my whole life revolved on getting that high on friday so i didnt have to remember why i was sad or upset earlier that day.. i didnt want it anymore.. i talked to people and heard what they needed to say and opened my eyes to who i was becoming.. they fought for me.. just like they fought for me when i was cutting in 9th grade.. they knew the girl i was and now, that girl was fading.. they made me realize that things are never going to be perfect.. that life will always have rainy days.. that things will never go how they should.. and that even after all the BS there are still people smiling at you.. drugs keeps you from living a good life and it keeps u from the people who love u most.. dont fit into the wrong croud or eventually you will loose yourself.. ever since i understood that things would be ok i have made more of a difference in peoples life with my life stories.. made more friends.. built a good relationship with my family.. have a 3.6 gpa.. and and amazing boy that loves me to death.. and whats even better is that drugs didnt make any of that happen.. it all happened when i quit.. so please, when u r feelling down with no where else to go.. just look at the people who will listen and not the ones you want to listen.. because sometimes you are loooking in the wrong places for good people.. you are beautiful inside so smile :) “Everything will be ok in the end, if its not ok then its not the end.”

  8. Avatar of Jerry
    Jerry / January 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    I have been trying to post this on share your stories, but can’t get access to the page. I had a cocaine addiction a few years back and I wrote this poem to remind me why I don’t want it anymore.
    The Big Lie
    Cocaine is truly the big lie and is not the ultimate high.
    Cocaine is merely just a tease of a finer life and a warmer breeze.
    Even in moderation it will take hold, and make the young one feel so old.
    In my eyes you must see the pain goes on infinitely.
    So seekers seek on for that ultimate high, for it is truly not in cocaine’s BIG LIE.
    Written by Jerry Huff

  9. Avatar of Treis
    Treis / January 3, 2013 at 2:11 am

    My father is an alcoholic. It’s january 3rd 2013 and my father has been sober for 8 months…until today. Im not sure why he wanted to go get drunk but its unacceptable. Im not sure what to do about it. I was so proud of him for FINALLY quitting but he just had a moment of weakness and gave in. Im let down and he doesn’t give a damn. I feel so bad for my mom having to deal with all this. Tomorrow I’m going back to college and i wont be there to help out…i guess we’ll see what happens, but the worst part is that he (as well as my mother) is an ordained minister. Whoever reads this probably doesn’t know me but if you believe, my family could really use a prayer. Mine, my mother’s, and my sister’s obviously aren’t enough…thanks for listening

  10. Avatar of Shotgun
    Shotgun / January 2, 2013 at 6:21 am

    I Have recently begun my recovery,From Extremely High Doses of class 2 narc. pain killers, im 46 and somehow survived! I plan to journal,Document,share, and Speak Loudly To The law makers to Attempt to Abolish The Loose Drug control laws here in the state of Fl.!!!! I can use any and all assistance you can provide,…Alone,we are but one,Together we are Many!!!!!!! Thankyou

  11. Avatar of John D SMITH
    John D SMITH / December 27, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    my name is John S my clean date is Oct/ 16/ 09 I was an drug dealer for 20 years did a lot of bad things!and was at the end of the road!!had lost my soul my hart and my mind!!and the understanding of life. it was moor! moor! make moor dope make moor money! had 150 names on a list to sell to and did not give a dam about how they were . that was some of how I was were my mind took me to day with the help of my family.home group,my new wife,cant for get the Courts!! I’m clean sober with a love of life!! what I’m doing now. ACT Home group,GSR Home group,H-I for my county,Meeting leader going back to school to be a counselor for treatment programs. Love Life !! JOHN.S,BETTER WAY GROUP ,MO

  12. Avatar of cindy
    cindy / November 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    how do we get the information from the Vitual Meeting if you did not attend? seems important information. I am new to this site. thanks

  13. Avatar of Tabitha
    Tabitha / January 11, 2013 at 8:21 am

    The next time you have a break from college why don’t you guys have a family talk about it. But only have you, your sister =, your mom and dad. And just talk about the effects it has on you guys and maybe he’ll understand. I know I have no say so in your life but maybe it would help. Cause my lil brothers dad was like that and we all sat down and talked about it and it helped a lot.

  14. Avatar of Morgz
    Morgz / May 9, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Hi,
    Your story touched my heart so deeply that I couldn’t help but cry. You have a way with words and that is for sure something God has blessed you with. I’m only 14 years old and have never been involved with any kind of drug or alcohol. Not only have a researched about it but I’ve seen the damage first hand and it breaks my heart to think about it. I’m a PK (pastors kid) and I used to be a missionary so I’ve seen a lot more of the world then most 14 year old’s have.
    I remember when I was about 7 I went to a church service with my parents and a biker was preaching. Of course only be a little girl I wondered why the pastor was covered in tattoo’s… Even though I was young I judged him before he told his story which was very much like yours. He changed my out look on life and the sin of judgment.
    I’ve heard about the biker association you are in and met a few people from it. I also deeply respect your wife, it takes a very strong and committed woman to put up with that and stick though it. I want you both to know that you will be in my prayers. God Bless.

  15. Avatar of Janieeea
    Janieeea / April 22, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    Hi i ran across your story don’t get discouraged about the mistake you father made the bible says “We all fall short of the glory of God” some people mistake that when we give our life to Jesus he expects us to be perfect but he doesn’t because it can never happen he wants us to strive for perfection knowing we’ll never achieve it like John did he also says in his word “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” your prayers are being heard but ultimatley it’s your fathers choice continue to pray because though God may not change your dad’s hearts and desires through your prayer he’ll change yours

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