He went from a cocaine and alcohol addiction, to a successful drywall businessman in Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
Greg Sands overcame his demons with a little help and a lot of determination. Now he's being honored with his name on a brand new treatment center for meth-addicted women.
His business is drywall, the company he built from the ground-up. But his passion is helping those with addiction.
"Addiction's a very subtle thing,” said Greg Sands, owner of Sands Drywall of Sioux Falls and Rapid City. “It's a process, not an event. Eventually, the addict ends up with problems in his life because of the addiction. For me, it was incarceration."
In 1989, at 31 years old, Sands was arrested for conspiring to deal cocaine, and spent two years in prison. Afterward, he moved into the Glory House in Sioux Falls.
"Have a warm spot in my heart because they helped me change my life," said Sands.
The facility is a halfway house that helps drug users shift back into the community. Sands says there's always a need for such facilities; in fact, the Glory House is now celebrating 40 years in business.
"The transition is extremely important,” he said. “If they leave incarceration and go straight to the streets, or go to a halfway house, it lowers their chance of violating by like 50%. It's a huge number."
And now, the Glory House is about to open the Sands Freedom Center, in September. It will specifically treat women addicted to meth, a fast-growing problem across the country.
"I believe the statistic is they go to prison at a rate of two to one over men."
Sands says the Freedom Center will be a top-notch facility, with both inpatient treatment for women and outpatient treatment for anyone battling meth. Between 300 and 400 people will walk through the doors every year.
"If we can teach people how to live a new way of life, it's better for society, better for our state as a whole because they're out becoming responsible, productive members of society," said Sands.
The facility is just another way Sands can reach out to people who are in the same place he was nearly 30 years ago.
His story has inspired many, and even earned him a presidential pardon from the Clinton administration back in 2001.
Since his record has been wiped clean, Sands can enter almost any institution and speak to prisoners about his experience.
"The best thing about that was that it carried a message of hope that you can change your life and you can do this too, if you're willing to do the work," Sands said.
Sands still works every day to keep his life on track, but doesn't have any regrets about the past.
"Everyone makes mistakes in their life and no one likes to experience that pain,” said Sands, “but it's those things I went through that got me to where I'm at today."
Sands says the project is close to his heart, but wouldn't have been possible without some outside help. He says Governor Mike Rounds, Senator Tim Johnson, the Glory House board of directors, staff, and volunteers, along with community leaders and businessmen all contributed in some way.
The Glory House is still raising money for the Sands Freedom Center, expected to open September 1st.