Maria Teri Hazel felt a sense of relief when police arrested her during a drug raid.
“I said, ‘Thank God it’s over.'”
Before, she lived life a day or two at a time in a cloud of methamphetamine addiction. The next fix was the goal of her nomadic wandering. She and her addicted companions moved from one rented room to another.
“That’s what we did. That was our life,” she said.
Her desperate existence ended about eight years ago at a Savannah Highway motel where authorities descended in a pre-dawn operation to shut down their meth lab. She was locked up for a while but then got a break. In her cell, she lay on the floor and appealed to the heavens. She wasn’t religious but found herself praying for help.
“Whoever is listening, I promise if you will get me through this, I’ll help others,” she said.
Charleston County Mental Health Court came into her life, offering a new beginning and no jail time if she successfully completed its year-long program. Now, she is a peer-to-peer counselor at the