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Incarcerated man speaks of life choices at CU

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By Hillary C. Wright

"The lifestyle of drugs and alcohol can send your life spiraling out of control," said Eric Berry, the speaker for Campbellsville University's March 4 chapel.

Berry, a former construction worker, T-ball and basketball coach and father to a 16-year-old son, spoke to CU's students, faculty, staff and coaches about how drugs and alcohol had taken over his life, and how he now has his life under control with the help of Jesus Christ.

Berry is incarcerated at the Marion Adjustment Center in Lebanon on a 15-year sentence and is enrolled as a senior intern in the substance abuse program at Marion Adjustment Center.

Berry was arrested in 2005, this being his third time in 10 years, and convicted in 2006 of second-degree burglary, first-degree wanton endangerment and being second-degree persistent felony offender.

Introduced by Veronica Hunt, addiction treatment manager at the Marion Adjustment Center, Berry told his story of drug and alcohol addiction, and how it led to a life behind bars.

"I pursued the life of drugs and alcohol, and it eventually took control of my life," Berry said. "I had dreams of playing college football, but I chose to let drugs and alcohol steal those dreams from me. I was raised up in a good family. I wish I had listened to my father."

Berry said he started experimenting with drugs in the eighth grade, and by his freshman year, he was drinking every weekend. By age 16, Berry said he had quit school and gone to work. By age 19, he was "a functioning alcoholic and addict, and I held a job down and had a girlfriend." Berry also participated in selling stolen goods, such as guns.

"Something was missing in my life, and I didn't have good social and coping skills, and I used the drugs and alcohol as an escape," Berry said. "Drugs have taken me places that I never thought I'd see. It consumed my thoughts and became my way of life.

"There are a lot of things that I've got to live with because of the choices I made when I was younger that still come back and haunt me today."

Berry said he was baptized on Jan. 31, 2007, following his profession of faith in Christ. March 18 marked three years of sobriety for him.

"Addiction is a very self-centered thing," Berry said. "I've put my family through a lot."

Berry received a standing ovation after his address when many came to talk with him about his experiences.

Chapel is designed to provide opportunities for corporate worship and exposure through a variety of informative speakers and presentations.

All chapel events are open to the public free of charge.