“I was having fun. Do you know what I mean? It was fun bullying people around. It was fun being the man. It was fun having all the different girlfriends, and being the guy with money.”
Norm Chandler was a drug dealer in the small town of Holtville, California. He manufactured and sold crystal meth and had no regard for the law. His rebellion against authority started in his youth. When his parents divorced, his mom worked to support the family, which left Norm often on his own.
“Before 6th grade I started smoking marijuana, (and) started hanging out with the wrong people. By 8th grade I had done my first line of cocaine. By 9th grade I was introduced to methamphetamine. Drugs just stimulated that rebellion. I was angry. I was angry ‘cause my parents divorced. I was angry because I didn’t have the relationship with my father.”
The other adults in his life didn’t help.
“My uncles were bank robbers and drug smugglers, man. When I was growing up in high school there was a kegerator with a keg of beer in the back yard and you help yourself. There was no example.”
Still, Norm hoped there was more to life, so he enlisted in the Air Force. After two years, he came back he came back and returned to the life he once knew.
“I got right back into that lifestyle and I started getting into selling drugs. I knew people that wanted drugs. I knew people that had drugs. So I started off selling cocaine, and then one day someone hit me up about some meth and I said, ‘Let me see what I can do.’”
Norm not only started selling meth, he used it — and felt invincible.
“I would close the bar here and I would go up to the fire station with off-duty police officers after the bar closed and shoot rounds of pool until sunup. I’d walk in the bathroom and do me a key of crystal meth and come back out and play pool with them.”
Over the years, his meth habit got even worse.
“I’m sitting there smoking an eight-ball meth a day. You know? That’s 3 ½ grams of meth a day, not even getting high like I used to just the depression, the suicidal thoughts that-that came to my head I mean, that was a couple of times I always killed myself just because I’m going to die a drug addict.”
Norm moved in with a friend.
“This guy, he would get high with me and stuff but he would tell me about God. He would tell me, ‘you need Jesus.’ And I would tell him, ‘man, you’re the reason I don’t go to church. You’re the reason I don’t look to this Jesus, this God, because you’re sitting here getting high with me.’ He goes, ‘I’m backslidden, but I know who God is.’ I believe the seed was planted in me then.”
That seed didn’t take root … but deep down, Norm did want to get clean but didn’t think he could.
“I clung to the hope that one day I’m going to change. I clung to that hope and I held on to that hope. If I go to rehab or go somewhere, I can change. But the fear of making, taking that first step, was so fearful because ‘what if i didn’t make it?’ Then I had no hope.”
When a friend taught him how to manufacture meth, that became his hustle. He stayed high and made money. But one day, police were questioning a neighbor, when they saw something suspicious in Norm’s driveway.
“They seen evidence of somebody looked like was making dope. There was battery tabs there and things like that. Things that – evidence of manufacturing was there, ‘cause I didn’t clean my mess up. They walked around the other side of my house and seen some marijuana plants. They’re like, ‘hey, come out of the house!’ I look out there and I see them, and I’m like, “oh God, there’s nowhere to run. There’s nothing to do. It’s over. I know it’s over.’”
Norm surrendered to authorities …
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SOURCE: The 700 Club