For Alan Adams, the Letcher County Adult Education literacy program has provided an important second chance. Adams, who initially joined the program through GED classes offered at the local jail, is working to build back reading skill he lost due to prolonged, intense drug use.
“I used to be able to read all kinds of stuff,” said Adams. “Mostly, I read letters back then, and I could really understand what I was reading.”
Adams candidly admits that as his drug use escalated, his primary need to read was directly related to feeding his addiction. “I could read doctor’s orders really well and that’s basically all I cared about reading at that point.”
Adams credits his arrest and incarceration for drug trafficking as a turning point in his recovery. “I was selling drugs to keep my habit going. I wasn’t making any money, and I was on the path to death. Being arrested and getting clean was rough, but it was the best thing that could have happened to me.”
After serving his time, Adams wanted to continue to learn to read so he began attending classes at Letcher County Adult Education’s main center in Whitesburg. Adams realizes that regaining his ability to read well is a gradual process.
“It’s nothing you’re going to get automatically. It’s going to come to you gradually,” said Adams. “You’ve got to set a goal and decide that nothing is going to knock you out of it.”
In addition to the daily reading progress for which he strives, Adams has established both short-term and long-term literacy goals for himself.
“Short-term, I want to be able to read the entire Bible and get the true meaning from it,” said Adams. “God has made all the difference in my life, and I want to learn more and share that with others. Long-term, I want to become a substance abuse counselor so I can help other people who are struggling like I struggled. I’m not going to quit trying because with God’s help you can accomplish anything.”
Adams realizes that improving his reading skills is key to achieving his goals. He credits his experience at the adult education center with helping him improve.
“Being at the center with different people encourages me and keeps me focused and on a good path,” said Adams. “Recovery is not all good days, but I have accomplished something each day I have gone to the center. I get stronger every day. I get stronger regaining the skills I’ve lost and learning to cope with people without using drugs.”
Adams encourages others to take advantage of the opportunities the local program offers.
“Depressed or not, come to class,” said Adams. “Build up your lifestyle and move on instead of sitting right where you’re at and becoming depressed. I take it an hour at a time most days and a minute at a time some days because I know there is a chance — a big chance — for me to learn back what I have lost.”
Adults who want to learn to read can join the literacy program at Letcher County Adult Education. Letcher County Adult Education is located on the Whitesburg campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College. For more information, call 633- 9617.