The North Bend Eagle

 

Rolences celebrate Christmas presence

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 12/27/17

She first used meth at age 16.

She was first arrested in 2003, missing her daughter’s first birthday.

In 2010 she began dealing.

In 2014 she was sent to federal prison.

In 2017, April Rolenc celebrated Christmas with her family, clean, sober and together.

Rolenc didn’t give her children a lot of presents this Christmas, but she did give them the one gift she hasn’t been able to give them the last few years. Her presence.

Her story is one with many twists and turns. It’s a story she is not particularly proud of, but one she is proud to say she has survived and has come out on top with a life and a family she is very secure in.

Rolenc, 39, grew up on the family farm north of Ames where she still lives today. Her parents, Tom and Robin Lallman, were loving and always there for her, but Rolenc followed a different path. At the age of 13 two things happened to Rolenc that changed her life. One, she met her future husband, Rod. Two, she started babysitting for her cousin, who was five years her senior and into partying and drugs. Despite her parents’ attempts to keep her on the right path, Rolenc quit school before she was 16 and worked and partied and tried various drugs. She did get her GED in 1996 and married Rod Rolenc in 1999.

At the age of 16 she first used meth. She figures out of the last 23 years, she has been sober for eight of them. Meth was her drug of choice. She was able to quit using it during her three pregnancies and at various other times, but she would always go back.

“It’s a choice you make,” Rolenc said. “I can use every excuse in the book, but the bottom line is I made a choice.”

When she was on drugs, she would hide it from her family until it got to the point that she would disappear for weeks. But she always got her children to school, to doctor appointments, cooked, cleaned, went to programs and games. In her mind she was a good mother.

“I was a bad mom in that I was using drugs,” Rolenc said, “but I was still a functional mom.”

In 2003 she was arrested for possession of drugs and was in prison for a 90-day evaluation and then given probation. She missed her daughter’s first birthday.

“That wasn’t near enough,” Rolenc said. “I got on probation. That got violated because I just couldn’t stay clean. I didn’t have the will or the want to do it yet.”
After intense therapy she was able to get clean and stay that way for a while. She finished college to have a career, graduated top of her class, and accomplished other things.

Her last relapse was in 2010. She began using and dealing drugs.

“It was pretty intense,” Rolenc said. “I dealt with a lot of really bad people. I didn’t just use, I sold drugs. I justified that in the fact that I was making money. Nobody wanted for anything. I was paying my bills and everyone else’s. The kids were taken care of in my mind. And I was home. The kids were never around it. We talked about quitting dealing, but decided to do one more trip. That was the one that got me caught.”

Rolenc said the worst part of the addiction wasn’t the drugs, it was the walking away from the money: $3,000 to $4,000 a day.

Rolenc and her husband had an argument and she left the house, taking all their cash, about $15,000, and drugs worth another $15,000. Rolenc and a friend driving were stopped for a traffic violation. When the drugs and cash were found she was arrested. It was April 9, 2013.

“I’m firm believer everything happens for a reason,” Rolenc said. “I’m a better person today because of it.”
She was in jail for 16 days before she got federally indicted where she was looking at seven to nine years of prison. While Rolenc was released in her pretrial stage she went to Catholic Charities in Omaha for five months of outpatient therapy. She took classes to help herself.

 

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