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Terry Vranjes | The view from rock bottom

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Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties are full of great, dynamic and caring citizens. People from all walks of life are connected to one another, yet sometimes people make bad choices.

I am one of those people who have made bad choices, which has led me to be incarcerated at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center. In jail, both literally and figuratively, rock bottom is a more than appropriate word to describe the present state of my life. I blame no one but myself. My family has been more than patient with me. Members of the community have also been willing to work with me to help me climb back to the heights of the good life.

And although jail is a virtual warehouse of rock bottom stories, the people you wind up meeting are mostly good people whose camaraderie and conversations wind up being extremely helpful to me. Through hearing others’ stories of woe and wreckage, my off-course life has come into perspective.

This new perspective is a complete change in thinking from the delusions of my past. I can’t climb out of the void of rock bottom alone. I need help and for me that means drug rehabilitation.

In writing this column, it is my sincere hope to open up a part of life rarely discussed in print media — the rock bottom world of drugs and alcohol. There is a lot of help out there for people in my situation. I hope to be entering rehab in the next few weeks. After that, navigating the river of services flowing from the forgiving heart of the community I love will be a primary focus of this column.

I’m making my story known so others in my situation might not sink to the jail I’ve created for myself through poor choices influenced by drugs and alcohol. Jail is not the defining characteristic of my life. It’s time for me to connect to the community, correct my mistakes and appreciate the fact that the mistakes one makes affect many others.

The road map to services I leave behind is just the beginning of my penance to the community I’m proud to call home. Thank you to the people at the Chelan County Regional Justice Center for treating me with dignity and respect, particularly the tough love conversations that only a person who has lost it all can offer.

From rock bottom, it’s only up from here, right?

Terry Vranjes, a native of Brewster, is serving time at Chelan County Regional Justice Center. His blog can be found at