Former prostitute talks about what happened and what life is like now

She was walking the streets selling her body and taking drugs for five years.

Now, she's clean and "it feels nice."

"Dee" took one puff of crack and "that was it."

That's not her real name. But Dee wants other women to avoid the mistakes she made. So she agreed to speak to the Tribune as long as her name wasn't used.
Once she became hooked and needed money to supply the habit, Dee did the only thing she knew to do - become a hooker.

But before she went to jail for six months, she lost everything, including her two children.

"I was scared out there," Dee said. "It was pretty awful. You'd just hop in a car with someone and never think that something bad could happen or they might hurt you. But those things do happen and it's scary."

Dee said not only could bad things happen from strange men, the girls themselves can do bad things to each other and the men they deal with.

"There are some out there who are just on the streets to rob people," Dee said. "They don't care. They just want the money."

Before becoming addicted to crack, Dee was a "functioning alcoholic."

"But I could deal with everyday things," Dee said. "I could deal with my kids and stuff. Then I got hooked on the crack and that was gone. That was that."

What changed Dee's life was getting help from sources outside her friends and those on the streets with her.

"The minute I got out of jail my boyfriend picked me up and took me away from all my other friends," Dee said. "I got into counseling at Muskingum Behavioral Health and started going to church. You can't stay around the same people or places. You'll get sucked right back in if you do."

Dee says Diane Hildebrand, one of the counselors at MBH, saved her life.

"She's my best friend," Dee said. "I tell her anything and everything. She tells me the truth about things. Help is out there if you want it. But, you have to want it and be willing to work for it."

The road to being clean is hell, but Dee said it's worth every minute in the end.

Now Dee gets to spend time with her family and new friends. She helps care for her father, who is ill, and said she's so happy and proud to be able to do that.

"He tells me he's proud of me and that really makes my day," Dee said, her voice faltering for the tears. "I'm just grateful my dad gets to see me clean."

And while she lost custody of her children, she says she is in touch with them and the oldest one tells her how proud she is of her.

"That's pretty special," Dee said.

While it is an everyday struggle to stay away from the drug, Dee said she knows that if she goes back, it could be the end.

"I think about crack everyday," Dee said. "But I stay away from the places I know I can get it at and the people who use it or could get me to use again. I've had to change my entire life and that's what needs to happen."

Dee said six months in jail was her wake-up call.

"That was enough for me to know that I didn't want to do that ever again," Dee said. "But, some people just don't learn. There are girls who the minute they get out of jail, turn around, get that crack and are back out on the streets. They just don't learn."