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Resident determined to beat 'devil' meth

At 38, Dominic Clinton is a free man. He is beating his addiction to methamphetamines and wants others to know there can be light at the end of the tunnel of evil. "I 'methed' up, and my life went down," Dominic says, summarizing what happened af...

At 38, Dominic Clinton is a free man.

He is beating his addiction to methamphetamines and wants others to know there can be light at the end of the tunnel of evil.

"I 'methed' up, and my life went down," Dominic says, summarizing what happened after a neighbor introduced him to the drug, he picked the wrong crowd to hang out with and he got hooked.

"I may not have put a gun to my face and pulled the trigger as did the guy who spoke of his trauma from meth use at the Park Rapids schools awhile back, but I am indeed suffering a much different but comparable pain."

"My visit to the meth world erased all of my prior identity," Dominic said. He explains that at one time, he felt he was someone looked up to, but now is looked down on.

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"I once was respected," he explains. "Now I'm rejected rightfully so due to all I neglected."

Dominic relates he feels the loss terribly even when he's alone and he is often alone, "much more now than I can sometimes handle."

But he is proud that he escaped from the meth world some time ago "never to return."

He describes meth addiction as "being in a far away place."

He lost nearly 50 pounds, but emphasizes, "This is absolutely no way to diet. Please believe that."

He lost much more than weight: his job, his wife and children and his house on top of his self-worth and self-respect.

Now that he's come back, he adds, all that he's gotten back is his self-worth and 45 pounds.

A few weeks ago, Dominic says, he experienced for the first time the repercussions his drug use had on his children. "A family of one of my daughter's friends was reluctant to let their child visit or have a sleepover at my daughter's house.

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"This was devastating to me and, thinking I didn't have a tear left in me, I broke down in shame."

Dominic attributes his struggle to overcome meth to love for his family and is proud of his children's accomplishments. The two oldest have been "A" honor roll students in the Park Rapids Schools.

His son has finished his first year in college now and his older daughter is doing well in sports and his youngest is "as bright as the sun and such a fun, loving soul who is a dream come true and sure to follow in the path of her brother and sister.

"These children are so special and more beautiful to me than anything in this world. Please, don't judge them from their name, which I've tarnished," he pleads.

"I can assure you they've learned something from me having seen all this and won't be walking in their father's footsteps, nor will I ever look back upon those steps either."

Dominic said he owes everything to his ex-wife, "the angel who pulled me from destruction."

She took the "tough love" approach. "I was left to stand alone and figure out what the next steps were to move forward in life," he explains. He hopes now the day will come "when I can catch back up to her" and be together with his family again.

"I'm lost without them," he said.

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That's why he quit, Dominic added. "Before there was a beginning, there had to be an end."

Dominic was charged with fifth degree controlled substance crime, served some time in jail and remains on probation, but he has a job and a lot of determination.

When he and his family moved to Park Rapids five years ago, he had never touched the drug, but it could have happened anywhere. "Meth is an epidemic everywhere," he said.

Dominic also says he would like to tell his story to others, as difficult as it is. "I think young people can relate to me," he said.

He has done some songwriting, and wrote a poem he calls "Hopeful inspiration:"

A mosaic of fragments clutters my mind, the end of a life, I care not to rewind.

To start anew, once all has been lost; the price to pay, the highest of cost.

In that far-away world, where drugs make the call, it takes nothing to get in; to get out takes it all.

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All of your strength, willpower and love, it's all within, when push comes to shove.

If you're caught up in this dark, evil place, fight to come home, where love and life embrace.

And if you've never been there, I'm telling you true, life fell down on me, inevitably yours would fall too.

luannh@parkrapidsenterprise.com

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