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Former meth addict recounts struggle to get clean

KXLH.com, August 29, 2013

HELENA - Imagine being trapped in a body that is craving a drug that you don't really want, but need. According to Kandis Benton, a former junkie, that's the feeling you get when you are addicted to meth.

Benton, 38, was hooked on drugs for 22 years; she explained, "I started smoking pot when I was 12, and started drinking when I was 12 and started doing meth when I was 17. Quit drinking by the time I was 20 because meth had control."

Kandis says her newfound life of being clean finds her doing things she's never done before - like climbing Mount Helena.

"I mean all my life, I'm 38, and I've never been up here to see this view of Helena, a view that I've never even stopped to look at. You know, it's gorgeous," said Kandis.

Like most addicts, Kandis said quitting is a matter of mind over body: "You want something bad enough you're going to get it. I wanted drugs so bad, I got them. I got them anytime I wanted them because I wanted them so bad. Well, I want life now. I want a home, I want a family."

After being clean for just a year, Kandis already has a job, a car, and an apartment.

The only thing she's missing is her relationship with her son: "I want my relationship with my son to get stronger. That will be the long term thing that's going to take awhile."

Unlike many of her friends who didn't survive their addictions, Kandis believes her new life gives her a new mission - she wants to help convince others not to waste their lives on drugs.

Kandis said, "It's very important to have people out there that know what you've been through and can help you through it. It's not easy to do that. It's not easy to step up and say, 'OK, I need help.' But you need to. It takes a strong, stronger person to get away from the stuff, then it is to do the stuff."

Kandis says thanks to God, she's now headed up the right path taking time to enjoy it and give thanks for strength she's received from up above.

Kandis says her addiction started at a young age, which she attributes to her recent bi-polar diagnosis.