Cody Armes takes back his life

Latest Drug Court grad found out early he was facing a dead end

  • Drug Court Coordinator Barrit “Winnie” Gadd points out some of the accomplishments Cody Armes achieved as he went through the Anderson County Drug Court program. At right is Judge Don Elledge. - Ken Leinart

  • CODY ARMES - Ken Leinart

  • Cody Armes in an early booking photo from the Anderson County Jail. While he was participating in the Anderson County Drug Court program Armes added a few pounds of muscle to compliment his new healthy lifestyle. - Ken Leinart

Cody Armes knew he was in trouble.

The cold hands of drug addiction were beginning to tighten around him.

All the signs were there: The emotional distance from family members because he saw them as a source of funds and they saw him as someone who could no longer be trusted; the run-ins with law enforcement and subsequent arrests, booking photos, court appearances, and jail time; the feeling of his life spiraling out of control.

There were arrests dating back to 2015 — simple possession, then theft, violation of probabtion, forgery, shoplifting — all tied to drugs.

Then he found a life line, a chance to set his life back on track.

“Cody hadn’t had a lot of appearances in front of me before he started Drug Court,” Anderson County Criminal Court Judge Don Elledge said two weeks ago during Armes’ graduation from Anderson County Drug Court.

Elledge pointed to the five booking photos of Armes. At some graduations there are as many as 12 such photos — a reminder to show how far the graduate has come.

Anderson County Drug Court is not easy — it is not a “get out of jail free” deal.

“It takes work,” Elledge said. “Cody showed he had the guts and courage.”

Many do not make it because there are so many factors that can stand in the way: Addiction, lack of self-esteem and self-control brought on by that addiction, an unwillingness to ask for help.

Armes, however, grabbed his chance with both hands. The program normally takes two years. There are meetings, counseling sessions, check-ins with the court, and drug tests. Armes completed the program in 18 months and had a spotless drug test record.

But there was one stipulation in the program Armes kept putting off.

“Cody was almost done,” Drug Court Coordinato Barrit “Winnie” Gadd said. “But he didn’t want to go to the jail and tell his story to others.”

And that is a crucial step.

Why the hesitation?

“Cody is just a quiet guy. He’s very shy. Just standing up and talking in front of people was not something he was comfortable with,” Gadd said.

But he did it.

“Cody is not going to be one of those verbal leaders,” Gadd said. “He’ll lead quietly, but he will lead.”