Norwalk mom gains back her life following drug problem, jail sentence

Aaron Krause • Jun 27, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Heather D’Angelo thought she lost everything when a judge sentenced her to almost six months in the Huron County Jail.

She was “super depressed” and an overwhelming feeling enveloped her.

D’Angelo, who was abusing prescription drugs with alcohol for about six months when she was arrested, spent the time reading self-help books about addiction and exercising when she could. But for two or three months, she couldn’t get out of bed.

“The one tool they did give me was Lifeline,” D’Angelo said.

“They” are Pastors David and Tammy Webb, of Kingdom Life International Ministries. The couple offer a program at the jail called Lifeline Connection that tries to help people to recover from life-controlling issues.

“It had saved my life,” said D’Angelo, who not only continues to take the class but goes to church.

“I know this town has a major drug epidemic and just wanted to get the word out that there are other options besides just jail and/or a treatment facility right here in our town,” the Norwalk resident said.

The Webbs “offer several classes and a support system to keep you sober for the rest of your life,” D’Angelo said. D’Angelo’s parents were heroin addicts when she was growing up in Texas. “I’ve seen the turmoil and the control that opiates have on people,” the 27-year-old woman said. “They were abusing that every day.” D’Angelo added there were times her parents chose to spend money on drugs rather than necessities.

Her parents divorced when she was 8 and she would split her time between Texas and Florida.

“It was terrible,” D’Angelo said. “It was not good for my social skills or anything like that.” When she was 15, she had her own apartment.

Her mother was addicted to drugs to the point that she couldn’t take care of her. D’Angelo had suffered from anxiety and depression her entire life and turned to abusing prescription pills and washing them down with alcohol. About six months into her addiction, she got caught by police and was arrested. Sometime after starting her sentence in jail, D’Angelo learned about Lifeline Connection from a fellow inmate. She attended and liked the atmosphere.

“If you’re not there to try to get help, they would rather you not waste their time,” D’Angelo said about the Webbs.

The program includes more than 30 workbooks focusing on life-controlling problems such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, anger, depression and abusive relationships. The program is geared toward each individual’s recovery plan.

“She (Tammy Webb) sits down with you and makes goals,” D’Angelo said.

D’Angelo has been clean since April 25 — the date she started the program.

The mother of two, however, doesn’t plan to quit the program anytime soon.

“I feel like I can get something from every single class,” said the stepmother of Ethan, 5, and mom of Madison, 3. “I feel incredible. I feel really at peace with myself.”

D’Angelo is now a co-facilitator of Lifeline Connection. She is training to become a facilitator.

“There’s a heartfelt change in her as far not only wanting to get help for herself but wanting to reach out and help other people,” David Webb said.

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