A vital component of combating the presence of drugs in our community is understanding that behind every drug arrest is a story – a story of someone who has lost their way and a family that has been torn apart by addiction.
Sheriff John Tate’s focus on assisting those struggling with addiction to find lasting recovery is just one step in healing families and giving those stories a chance to have a happy ending. Arrest itself is not an ending. Instead, it can be a new beginning.
Each month, we share a story from individuals who have successfully completed a drug rehabilitative program through the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and are now enjoying a new, fulfilled life of recovery.
Their journey. Their words. A message of hope for us all.
My name is Shayla Cubstead. I’m 26 years old. I was born and raised here in Holmes Country and attended Paxton High School.
As a kid, you always have high hopes for yourself. Dreams of being a doctor, a lawyer, a veterinarian. Never in a million years do you think that life could take a left turn and lead you into a life of addiction. Well, mine did, and this is my story.
When I was no more than five or six years old, my parents were in addiction. I went through and saw things that no child should ever have to see. After getting busted for making methamphetamine, my parents did a complete 360 and turned their lives around. We were very active in church, my mom was lead singer in choir, I knew God, and we had a great life. I never went without.
After experiencing the things my parents did in their addiction, I knew from an early age I never wanted to have anything to do with drugs, especially meth. I always kept my grades up, and at the beginning of my junior year of high school, I started working.
With the stress of trying to work and keep my grades up and finish my homework on time, I started using Adderall. After a period of time, I would have to take more and more to get the results I was getting when I first started taking them. Until one day, my supplier ran out, so I resorted to something that I was told that could do way more for me than the Adderall – which was meth.
I’ll never forget that night; it was the beginning of a very long 7-year addiction.
Every day after that was nothing but a constant race to next hit. I was like a rat on a hamster wheel. I eventually lost my job and dropped out of high school with only four months left until graduation. My friends didn’t want anything to do with me, and my parents didn’t know what else do with me.
I was arrested in 2014 for possession of methamphetamine and put on state probation. That wasn’t enough to stop my addiction. I didn’t want to stop. I finally violated and was sent to a 70-day rehabilitation program. After I was released, I went back to the same place and the same people. I lasted a week, continuing my charade with my probation officer and living a life of chaos.
Finally, in 2018, the father of my children and I got pulled over and both went to jail for charges of possession of methamphetamine with intent to sale. I had violated my probation once again. I did 8 months in the county jail, the longest I have ever spent there. Sitting in that jail cell, I had plenty of time to think and reflect on how big a mess my life had become. I knew something had to change if I wanted a better life for my kids and myself.
While I was there, a friend of mine, Brennan Beckjordan, reached out to me telling me about a program that had changed his life and how he found God. I was already a believer in Jesus, and I knew if put my trust in Him that he could and would move mountains for me, and that’s what He started doing.
My friend told me to reach out to John Searcy (the peer counselor with the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office) and that he would help me any way he could. And he did. I’ve never met a man more in tune with God before in my life. We sat down and discussed the options, and he had me an interview with Jill’s Place Recovery Program (in Naples, FL) with in the week. Funny thing is that before the interview, I had made up mind to take 11/29 in the county jail, but I felt a conviction so strong that I knew I wasn’t making the right decision. It was a hard decision; I was moving 8 hours away from everything I’ve ever known and loved.
The judge let me go home while I waited on my spot to become available so I would have time to spend with my one-year-old son and my two-year-old daughter. After arriving to Jill’s Place, I developed a bond with God that I never had before. I not only began to find myself; I found my self-worth.
Today, I know I have a place in my Father’s Kingdom. I’m now a graduate of Jill’s Place and have over a year sober. I have a job, a car, my own apartment, and I can finally be the mother my kids deserve. For any one reading this that is still battling with their addiction, know that you never have to settle, and you are not in this alone. If you give your will and your life over to God, He will give you the deepest desires of your heart.
I want to give a big thank you to the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office, John Searcy, and Brandon Young (Holmes County Assistant State Attorney.