A Case Study in Priorities: Marlo A. Hargrove, Sr.

Marlo A. Hargrove Sr.Hargrove was born into a family where both parents suffered from alcoholism. He started selling drugs at age 10 and using drugs by age 12, eventually dropping out of high school in the ninth grade. He became a serious drug abuser and found himself engaged in a "revolving door experience with the Department of Corrections." He was incarcerated multiple times for drug use and alcohol abuse, becoming, in his words, a "jailbird."

Later in life Hargrove was arrested again but pleaded for another option besides prison. As he recalls, "I told the probation officer, 'I'm not a criminal, I'm an addict and I need some help. I don't believe me going to prison is going to solve my problems. If I go to prison, when I come out I will have even more reasons to get high and not get any help for my addictions.' With tears literally running down my face I begged, 'Please, can you help me get into some kind of treatment program?'"

Hargrove enrolled in a one-year stipulated recovery treatment program rather than spend two years in prison. Eight years later, he has not had a single drink or abused drugs, and in 2007 he received his high school diploma. As he puts it, "I'm a prime example to many that whatever you put your mind to do, it can be done."

Today Hargrove is the Director and Co-Founder of a non-profit organization called F.A.C.E. (Freedom Advocates Celebrating Ex-Offenders). F.A.C.E. is a support group for people who have experienced conditions of substance abuse and/or incarceration. The organization offers life skills training, substance abuse treatment referrals, spiritual support, and other services.