By BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner staff
Tiffany Bills comes from a family of addicts and says she started using drugs at 13. Her first stay in jail came in December 2014 and, after several more trips to jail, she decided to join The Ruth House in January and get clean.
Standard-Examiner photographer Benjamin Zack documented Tiffany's stay in The Ruth House over the course of several months. The following are just some of the many images he captured, accompanied by audio clips from Tiffany discussing her life.
Click the grey text to listen to Tiffany describe how she began her descent into drug abuse.
“I was 13 when I started using meth. I was 26 when I started using heroin. I stopped for a few years when I was married, but just went back to using meth. I left my kids with their dad and stuff, and started abusing again. I had trauma in my childhood… I think I did it a lot to numb that.”
“Him getting taken away, at the same time, it was kind of like a blessing. It got them clean too, you know. If my family was still using, I can’t say I’d be successful right now, unless I totally cut them off, which I would have had to do. I cut my old ties off. I don’t talk to nobody at all. Just my family and people from the church.”
Tiffany's first arrest was in 2014. Here, she describes her subsequent arrests and why she decided to get sober.
“When I got out the last time, it was like ‘I’m done.’ I don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to put my family through the any more. (...) I didn’t want to do that again. I was tired of going to jail. I didn’t want to go to jail anymore. My dad has health problems and stuff and I didn’t want to be in jail when, if, he passed away or something.”
Since her stay at The Ruth House, Tiffany has said she changed a lot. Listen as she encourages other addicts to reach out and get help.
“There are places that help; people that love and care about you. You just have to reach out and look for resources. I mean, cause it’s hard accepting help or asking for help. People out there that are still struggling… it’s important that you ask for help and then accept it.”