Recovery Court

We started June the 7th of 2005 with our first
two participants. We were in the throes of the methamphetamine
crisis, so it sounded like, well maybe we need to do this. This might be an alternative. Its skyrocketed since then. People out the public, you hear of these issues
and problems, but until you get into it and see the impact of the lives that are devastating
destroyed by it, you’re almost clueless to that. All the statistics say if you lock somebody
up they’re going back to jail at some point. I know that there’s hope that maybe we can
get someone into treatment. It also shows them there is another way to
live. Life can be different, and life can change. I thought the worst day of my life was being
sent to the halfway house. It was just awful, and it ended up being the
best thing that ever happened to me. What works is treatment and accountability,
and you put those together, and that’s where the success comes. Once we did the trainings, we started and
we had a few participants, four or five or six, and we’ve grown now to where we have
probably 75 or 80. We’ve evolved over the years, and we’ve learned
a whole lot along the ways. Through our adult recovery court obviously
we deal with what you know what we call high risk, high need. You know for most people that would be the
folks that you think would not have any chance of being successful but of course research
tells us that’s our target population. I’ve seen people that I would tell you when
they started there’s no way they finish, and at the end of two years, they not only they
finish, they’re working and they have their kids back. I’ve had people who have done very well. A lot of people are just sick and tired of
being sick and tired. They really don’t know how to get out. This person may have a long criminal history,
but they’ve never really gone through treatment. Yes they’ve lived a life of crime, but they’re
still a human being, and there’s still something there worth trying to rehabilitate. A lot of folks, I meet them when they’re incarcerated
they’re in jail. Their attorneys talk to them. The district attorney has agreed that drug
court or recovery court is an option and so I talked to him and explained what the program
requirements are with expectations are. Every time someone comes in, they always say
“I want drug court! I want drug court!” I love the first conversation they have. They have to come to that realization that
it’s not an easy program. Lots of folks are excited because they’re
thinking they’re gonna get out of jail earlier than they would have. It’s a very very difficult program and, you
know, a time commitment that most people don’t understand. It’s a job. Their drug court program is a job. And so early on, we talk about what they have
the ability to do. They have the ability to tell the truth. They have ability to show up on time, and
they have the ability to do homework or the the small things that we require them to do. This program it’s changed my life. It’s changed my whole outlook on life. In the beginning I’d sit in front of the judge
and go, “This is the first time in front of a judge and I’m not going to get sentence
for something that an already do. You know, it was an eye-opening experience. Like wow, he really says he cares about me. When you see the light come on and they realize
they get it it’s excellent. Initially a decision is made as to what type
of treatment whether it’s an inpatient or an outpatient treatment. At least for the first six months, they’re
healing not only physically and emotionally but intellectually. They all start off thinking they can do it
their way, and then they realize no I can’t. When they realize that that’s when you can
come in and do your work. I think it starts with their mental health. There’s some underlying issue that started
it and they take that approach with it. A lot of the people we deal with aren’t accustomed
to working full time. They’re not accustomed to getting into operating
by a clock or a calendar, and so they’re not thinking clearly for for a long time, and
it the fog just begins to left after about six months. They have to learn those skills. The support that they have for one another
it is inspiring to watch when they are at the lowest of their low. The feedback that we get is wonderful. Judge Brock is awesome. He’s very understanding person. I will see them obviously quite regularly
if they are here in an outpatient program, and I’ll see them at least monthly if they
are in a treatment or residential program. It’s thrilling. It drives me to get up in the morning. That’s the most rewarding part for me personally. It makes all the paperwork worthwhile and
it just is so exciting. Physically it’s an entirely different person. Emotionally, they’re in entirely different
person. They’re unrecognizable from the day you first
see them to the day they they leave. You literally have to change everything and
I have. In these 13 months, I have literally changed
everything in my life. I’ve worked really really hard to get to where I’m at, and I will continue to cross whatever hurdle I have to. I think the best advice I got was don’t leave
that far ahead. Do today. Because if you just get an addict and an alcoholic
not to use long enough, you’ll see life gets so much better. When you get them through the recovery part,
then you can start working on the job part, and they they need guidance. Today I have this program of recovery, a support
team that I could never imagine. The more I open up and talk with people, the
more they open up and talk with me. And then I see there’s genuine concern. People care for me today. When I first got here, I was like how dare
you try to save my life. Why do you want to help me? What do you want from me? And that’s it. That’s where I’m at today. I don’t want anything from anybody other than
I want to show you how to get out of that hole. You just get to see a person that’s put back
together, and that’s that’s very rewarding to see that. Our past doesn’t define us. It wasn’t how we fell down. It was how we got up. It’s been that evolution over the last 13
years. To be honest with you we could double that
instantly. It’s just that big problem. We’re in a community of people who are saying
show us what we need to do to help, and then folks are just stepping up. I hope that that becomes the normal procedure of business for the judicial system across Tennessee. Simply telling a person to go get a job and
report to probation is incredibly hard for some people. I don’t think you have to hit rock bottom,
and I know it’s different for everybody, but if you do hit rock bottom nowhere to go but
up, and there is hope.

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