Addiction led Tennessee man to rock bottom, now he dreams of freedom

Editor’s note: This story explores thoughts of suicide. If you are at risk, please stop here and contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for support at 1-800-273-8255.

He took life for granted.

And then his lifestyle was taken away.

Now Stephen Staley, 24, is being held behind bars for drug and other offenses. He wrote me a letter from his current home, DC-4 in Davidson County Drug Court, to express his regret and to publicly declare he is a changed man.

March 9, he wrote, marked the day he had been clean of “all my substance abuse” for one year.

Staley said he wrote to me after reading the column I wrote about Christine French Cully, the editor of Highlights magazine. Her late husband’s motto was: “It’s a great day to be alive.”

That line caught his eye. So he penned me a letter.

Last week’s column:Kelly Clarkson gives Nashville teacher $10K for Ukranian refugees after story appeared in this column | The Type Set

I wrote him back about my own father, who was, in his earlier life, a heroin addict who did time in a federal institution. My father, who died in 2013, did his best to shake the demons that had haunted him as a young man. It was a struggle for him.

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