March 2nd of 2011 in Charlotte NC I just receive 2 phone calls. The first one was from my lawyer in Morganton notifying me that several indictments had come through. The other was from Detective South of the Burke County Sheriff’s Office, telling me that I had no choice but to turn myself in. I remember him saying “If you run I will find you”. I thought about running from my troubles, but that isn’t a life that I wanted. The next day I took the long drive from Charlotte NC to Morganton NC knowing that I was going to jail for a long time.
I turn myself in at the Magistrates office thinking that I will be showed some leniency, after all I was only 18 years old and it was the first time I had been in trouble. I thought wrong, I was given copies of my indictments and arrest warrants, given a 23,000 dollar bond and placed in Jail. I cried like I have never cried before, after all I was only a teenager going to jail with grown men. The date is May 3rd of 2011, in Morganton North Carolina. I had just finished serving 61 days for multiple breaking and entering charges.
The dreaded court date has arrived and I am scared to death. Breakfast trays came along, I was hungry but I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold anything down. After breakfast trays were picked up my name was called for court. I was taken out of my cell and put into handcuffs and leg cuffs along with a chain attached to the waist I was dressed in the customary Burke County black and white inmate uniform. This was the moment where I felt all alone in the world. My mom and dad weren’t going to be there every step of the way telling me it was going to be okay.
I was 18 years old; in the eyes of the law you’re a grown man and will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Fear and anxiety were my biggest emotions. We were led to the top of the stairs where our court proceedings would take place. The judge was in no hurry to see me, I waited for an hour alone with nobody to talk to or comfort me. Another hour passed in shackles; finally the holding cell door opened and a deputy said “Campbell court. ” Walking up the hallway that leads to the courtroom felt forever, my emotions were taking over.
My teeth were chattering, cold shakes, and the fear of the unknown was getting the best of me. As I shuffled into the court I felt everybody’s eyes on me. The judge was seated glowering at me. He then proceeded to ask the D. A what my charges were, as the D. A was reading my charges I felt paralyzed, I was only 18 years old and facing serious criminal charges. We then discussed the plea bargain that my lawyer, D. A and I all agreed upon. I remember not even reading the plea just thanking God that I was getting out of this hell hole.
After the plea was signed and all parties were satisfied, my lawyer looked at me and said “Mr. Campbell I wish you the best of luck, and hopefully you have learned your lesson. ” I remember being grateful that he shook my hand and wished me “good luck”. I guess because he was the only one who stood by me this whole time. May 3rd 2011 is my release date; it’s a date that I will always remember. After waiting in shackles for another hour I was released from Burke County jail. I had one phone call to make, I called my mom and told her I was released and needed a ride.
The jailers wished me the best of luck and opened the front door to freedom. It’s amazing how your sensitive your eyesight is after two months in County Jail. The sun and the sky was never something that I appreciated when I was younger, but when I walked through that doorway and felt the wind blow my face I remember feeling nothing but gratitude. It was spring time so the grass was green, leaves were starting to grow back and the sun was out in full force! After getting my eyes adjusted to the sun, I was waiting for my mom to pick me up.
As I was waiting I recollected what I had just been through and what could have happened if the judge hadn’t accepted my plea. I had to go next door to the courthouse and check in with the Probation Office. After I checked in I was given a Probation Officer (Clarence Davis). He explained the guidelines of probation and what he expected of me. We discussed the conditions of my release, fines, and drug classes that I would have to take. I had 48 hours of community service, some seriously big fines and a drug assessment. I didn’t care what I had to do as long as I was out of jail.
Sitting in his office I was looking at his walls and certificates, thinking I wonder how hard he’s going to be on me and what can I slide by him? Mr. Davis was and still is a good man; I have shared my thoughts and feelings with him without holding back. He was a great person who helped me in any way that he legally could. He would later retire and be replaced by Robb Williams, but then Robb would shortly be replaced by Trisha Plaster. Walking out of the Probation Office I called my mom again and waited for her to come pick me up. I could have spotted her car a mile away in traffic.
I was never so happy to see that 09 Pontiac Grand Am. I knew she would take me home and tell me everything would be okay, getting out of jail I needed that family support. I am very grateful for my parents and how they still loved me unconditionally even after everything I had put them through. She pulled up and we had a tearful reunion in the Court House parking lot. She bombards me with question after question. Some things I told her and some things I wanted to keep to myself. After getting the reunion over she asked me where I wanted to go eat.
I already knew where I wanted to go, I wanted to go home. I didn’t care about eating I just wanted to sleep in my old bed and enjoy the comforts of home. To be able to take a hot shower anytime of the day and not having to wear shoes in the shower were things I had forgotten. When we arrived at the house I took a shower and talked to my dad. All the emotions and tears that I was holding in during that day were released on his shoulders. After we talked for a while I went to sleep thinking of what I would do the next day. I had no job and no car.
I was basically starting from scratch; friends and family had deserted me. I went through a really depressive time, feeling sorry for myself and blaming others for the trouble I had been in, when really I had nobody to blame but myself and the decisions I had made. I felt like I had nobody to talk to. It took a really long time for me to get out of my depressive state of mind. I started hanging out with people in my past that I shouldn’t have been. Socializing with these people lead me to Marijuana, with that I was introduced to Roxy’s, Molly’s (Ecstasy) and Liquor.
I loved partying and “living it up” yet at the end of the day I was still left with that feeling of emptiness. I lost track of what I needed to be doing to straighten my life out and was headed back where I came from. I remember deceiving my probation officer, I would go in he would ask me how I was doing. Of course I would lie to him and tell him everything is great, knowing that I had just smoked the week before. I had him and other people fooled, or so I thought. My parents had gotten with their pastor and he had contacted a few people to intervene in my lifestyle.
I remember feeling so guilty and ashamed that I couldn’t stand it. I wanted to be the perfect kid who my parents could say “yeah that’s my son” and not be ashamed about it. Thankfully I was introduced to the youth pastor, he basically saved my life. After talking with him for a couple months I started my recovery process. To start my recovery I had to accept who I was and where I had been. No more feeling sorry for myself, it was time to do something about it. I regularly attended AA and NA meetings and met people whose life story matched mine.
I got a sponsor and was starting to feel better about myself and others around me. After my mind set was changed and I started to see things in a different light I started to look for a job. I looked everywhere and found nothing. This time I didn’t get depressed, I came to realize that not everything is going to be easy. Finally I got a call from Case Farms wanting me to come to work for them. I worked there for 20 months, long enough to get a nice car and move out of my parents’ house. A week after I moved out my roommate got busted with 3 ounces of pot and a pill bottle of Opana 40’s.
I remember my mom telling me to come back and live with them that I was headed back into trouble. Unfortunately I wasn’t ready for the freedom of living with roommates. I thought I knew everything, that I could only drink or smoke just a little bit, a pill here and there wouldn’t hurt anything. Every week was a party with drugs and alcohol. With the partying came the trouble, I was locked up again. I lost my car, home, and job. Usually I would throw a pity party, but that’s not going to help. Today I have College, True Friends and my Sobriety. I couldn’t and wouldn’t put a price on any of these. Today I am TRULY happy.