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Hooked, but hopeful

B’ville, L’pool residents cope, struggle with heroin addiction

After a decade of dealing with drugs, drug addiction and seeking help via numerous rehab clinics, Baldwinsville native Micah Wood finally decided to get clean.

“This is the first time I’ve been sober completely from everything for six months since I was like 10 years old,” the 20-year-old said in a recent phone interview with the Messenger. “It’s been a struggle for a while now.”

Wood is currently accepting inpatient treatment at the Watertown-based Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions, Inc. His resolve to kick heroin came after his first arrest on Nov. 23, 2013, during which he spent time in a cell at the Onondaga County Justice Center. His wake up call, however, came years before.

“There’s a difference between realizing you need help and actually wanting to change,” Wood said. “I realized I needed help when I was probably 16.”

But Wood was content. He liked his life the way he was living it — partying, selling and doing drugs — with no other responsibilities to deal with.

“I just wanted to do whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be uncomfortable,” he said. “The drugs made me comfortable.”

Wood began smoking pot at age 10. In sixth grade, a bong was found in his school locker at Ray Middle School. Administrators called his mother, LouAnn McCandless-Brown, who admitted she didn’t handle it properly.

“I thought it was just a phase,” she said, then paused. “I didn’t want to look at it.”

Her husband, whom her son adored, had recently committed suicide. It affected Micah, though he denied it, and it gave McCandless-Brown a pretext for her dysfunctional behavior going forward.

“I was sober for 23 years,” she said. “After Chuck died, I thought this is a good excuse to drink again … and Micah had to live through that.”

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