Danielle Stansberry Matlock was sitting at home on Sunday night, Nov. 3 when her phone rang and Gov. Matt Bevin told her that he had approved her application for a pardon.
“It came up as a private number and it was 9:45 at night. At first I wasn’t going to answer,” Matlock said. “When he said he was the governor, I thought it was a robocall because of the election. When he said what he was calling about, I asked if it was a joke. When he told me it wasn’t a joke, I just started crying.”
“It is like a big weight has been lifted off of me,” she said.
Matlock, now 40, has carried this weight since 2005 when she was convicted of facilitation to manufacture methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine in Whitley County. Adding to the charges, there was a gun involved, meaning Matlock was facing up to 20 years in prison.
In January 2005, she was sentenced to four years. However, even that wasn’t enough to wake her up about her drug problem.
“On the way back to the Bullitt County Jail, I took some of the pills the guy I was riding in the back of the police car with was able to get hold of,” Matlock said. “When I woke up the next morning, I got real mad because I had just taken drugs after I avoided 20 years in prison.”
“I had tried to kick drugs before but I didn’t change my thinking. I went to rehab but I didn’t get involved during the meetings.”
As with the first rehab, Matlock went to Independence House in Corbin.
“I was ready and willing to get clean,” Matlock said. “I was honest and I was active in rehab.”
Matlock will be mark her 13th year free from dugs on Jan. 14.
“There are times I have white-knuckled it,” Matlock said of relapsing.
In addition, she became involved in church and got a job.
“B&H Shoes gave me a shot,” Matlock said giving credit to owners Marsha and Danny Barnett.
Matlock said she filled out multiple applications, but when she admitted to being a convicted felon, that was the end for her.
“One person looking at an application I submitted actually took two steps back after seeing that,” Matlock said.
Matlock went on to earn her Master’s Degree and now works as a licensed social worker. She now works with adolescents who are facing substance abuse issues.
Matlock said the pardon process took several years. In the application, she had to list all of the charges and the outcome.
“I had to sit back and look at my past. It was painful, but it is part of it,” Matlock said.
Matlock said even though she has been pardoned for her crimes, she is not trying to hide her past.
“I own what I did,” Matlock said.
She said she hopes other people can learn from her mistakes.
“To anyone that is struggling with addiction, don’t lose hope!” Matlock said. “There is a way out.”