Letter: Shanehsaz provided work, recovery



Without the help and support of local businessman Rocky Shanehsaz, I’m not sure I would have succeeded in recovering from an opioid addiction that nearly ruined my life.

I broke my back in 2005 after a car accident and my doctor prescribed the narcotic medications Vicodin and Norco to treat my pain. I became addicted to these opioids very quickly and when my doctor refused to give me any more, I just started doctor shopping. At one point, I had nine doctors prescribing opioids for me. I paid cash and nobody ever cross-referenced my name to see if I was getting drugs from another physician.

When I exhausted that drug supply, I got my opioid prescriptions filled by my best friend, who figured out how to pose as a doctor’s office or dentist’s office on the phone and convince local pharmacies to fill the scripts. I also bought opioids from people off the street for years. I was a junkie without the needles. I never tried heroin, because I knew I would never come back from that.

In the thrall of opioid addiction from about 2008 to 2011, I abandoned my husband at the time and put my 14-year-old daughter through emotional turmoil. I left with another guy and lived in and out of motels for a year and a half. Finally, in September 2011, I was arrested in Marion County on prescription fraud charges after trying to use a fake name to fill an opioid prescription.

I went through detox on my own while in jail, which involved a lot of vomiting and other horrible stuff for more than a week. Going through detox without any medication to soften the blow is like having the flu times 100. You feel like you are going to die. My fiancée (the guy I left my husband for) overdosed on Fentanyl while I was in jail and I wasn’t allowed to go to his funeral. It also took two months before I could even see my daughter again. I then went to prison for eight months and was forced to parent my teenage daughter by telephone for 15 minutes every Sunday night.

When I was released from prison, I was facing another prescription fraud charge in Hamilton County. I asked to be part of Drug Court and Work Release and I was accepted. However, I was so depressed and worried about how I was going to pay all of the fines. That’s when I met Rocky Shanehsaz, who employs people involved in the Hamilton County Community Corrections Work Release program.

At first, I found Rocky very intimidating and stern about what he expected from me as an employee. I even wondered if it was going to be some kind of intense boot camp or something! Within a week, I learned how caring and kind Rocky can be as a boss, as long as you meet his expectations and take accountability for your own actions.

Rocky believes that just because you screwed up doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a second chance or an opportunity to get a job. He did so much for me. When I graduated from Drug Court and Work Release, I had no place to live and no money to find a place to live. Rocky gave me the down payment to rent a place and told me he didn’t want the money back. I’m still living in the same house today along with my loving husband, my daughter, who’s 24, and my 3-year-old granddaughter. My family can count on me 100%. Back then, they couldn’t. The lights are always on, the cable is on, etc. I will never put my granddaughter through the same crap I put my daughter through. She turns 4 in July, and she is my sun and moon.

While Rocky held me accountable, he never brought up my past charges. If I screwed up, he didn’t call me a loser or hold it against me. He never made me feel bad about myself. He made it easier for me to make a fresh start. He’s even helped me after I stopped working for him by giving me a few hundred bucks just because I was broke.

Rocky never made me feel like a criminal, a loser or a drug addict. Yes, I broke my back. Yes, I chose to take pills. But I was just numbing my pain and I learned the issue was much deeper than a broken back. Thirty days in rehab is not enough to change the behavior. Drug addicts need counseling to deal with the addiction, but they also need counseling to deal with emotional issues that may be at the root of their problem.

The kindness Rocky showed me probably saved my life. He’s more than a businessman out to make a buck. Rocky truly cares about his employees, his family, his friends and his community, and it shows. I support Rocky Shanehsaz for Noblesville City Council At-Large, because I know he will make a difference.

J.B., Noblesville