(BEDFORD) - Steve Butcher and Jason Guthrie are the two newest graduates of Lawrence County Drug Court.
Butcher entered drug court on October 9, 2009 and Guthrie on October 26, 2009. Thursday morning started a new lease on life for the two men.
Lawrence Superior Court II oversees and administers Drug Court, a program to offer those who have committed crimes with drugs and or alcohol involved, a second chance. The program is an intensive attempt to rehabilitate and reform offenders who have problems with addiction.
Judge William Sleva says the program promotes public safety and assist the participants in reclaiming clean and sober lives as productive members of the community.
Butcher, a former Marine, told the group he had a hard time adjusting after serving his country.
"I thought I was invincible," he said. "I was filled with guilt and anger...blew through a small fortune...I was out of control."
Butcher says the hard part was taking a moral inventory of his life.
"I had never looked inside myself," Butcher says. "Everyone has scars, but they don't wear them on the outside... I used alcohol to battle my demons."
Guthrie was sitting in jail when he realized he needed to change.
"I got to the point that I could no longer stand myself," he says. "Alcohol had won and I was beat."
Now both men have defeated their addictions and are productive members of society.
Case manager Mary Hambly addressed the graduates and the other participants of Drug Court:
"My message is quite simple. Your alcoholism has plans for you. Your addiction has plans for you. It is patiently waiting disguised as something other than what it is, disguised as a fleeting permissive thought, disguised as a justifiable resentment, disguised as a "little white lie", disguised as a reasonable excuse. What your alcoholism or your addiction is, disguised though it may be, is your enemy, plain and simple.
Its plans are not the plans you have shared with me, the Judge and the Drug Court Team. Its plans are not what you have envisioned in your Drug Court Life Plan. Its plans are not for you to move forward with energy and passion in the life you have built for yourself over the past 3 years.
Your alcoholism has plans for you. Your addiction has plans for you. Its plan IS to demolish yourself esteem, shatter the trust you have with family, children, parents, friends, and employers.
Its plan is to empty your bank account, diminish your physical health, attack your mental
health, and rob you of your new found sense of purpose and direction. Its plan is to derail you rlife and take your freedom, again.
There is a due date out there on the plans your alcoholism has for you. There is a price out there waiting to be paid. I cannot tell you when that due date is and I cannot tell you what the price tag will be.
But I can tell you that in Lawrence County, especially in the past year, we have seen that the price tag comes in many forms. We have seen it in the form of relapse and the engulfing demoralization that follows, in the loss of long term employment and stability, in the breakup of family, in new arrests, incarceration, and then, in the ultimate price tag, death. We have seen the price paid in full by people we have known, have worked with, and have shared hope with.
In response, today I am going to borrow a phrase from Judge Robbins. I have heard him use this phrase in the court room. That phrase is "Double Down". It is time for all of us to Double Down. It is time to take the measure of your conviction, the tally of actions taken to protect what you have gained going forward. Your alcoholism has plans for you. Your addiction has plans for you. Against such an enemy, it seems time to Double Down.
For Jason and Steve, your graduation is not the end of anything. Graduation from Drug Court is a fragile and demanding transition period in your recovery. This time demands of you...
Be vigilant - Guard your thoughts for they drive your actions
Stay with your routine
Stay realistic and guard against impulsive behavior
Know what your coping strategies are and USE them
Live in reality
Resolve that you will not be victimized again by your alcoholism and addiction.
Solid recovery is like a muscle, if you do not use it, it will lose strength. It will not be there when you need it.
Stay close to the fellowship of recovery. If the voices you hear are not those reminding you of who you are and what you have to do about that, then the voices you hear will be those of your alcoholism and addiction inviting you to a party of pain and misery.
I urge you... do all of this because your alcoholism has plans for you. Your addiction has plans for you.
As your case manager, Steve and Jason, I am impressed and encouraged by the changes you have made. The Drug Court is in many ways a protected environment that gives the participant the opportunity to reveal who you really are and can be. What each of you has revealed is a credit to you both.
You have reclaimed your lives. Hope and confidence are yours today. You entered Drug Court in hope that things would change for the better. Even in your dire circumstances hope remained when all else seemed to be in ruins. But hope is our constant companion. Without hope our purpose and our dreams tend to perish.
I urge you; continue to live in hope but also take action. Double Down and be the warrior you need to be to sustain all that you have rebuilt for yourself and everyone whose lives you touch.
In closing, I want to say that the support and aid of the Drug Court is yours unconditionally. In or out of the program, The Drug Court Cell Phone continues to be your resource and you are invited to reach out under any circumstances. I wish you both steady progress going forward with a comforting wind at your back.
Thanks for letting me share."
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