(BEDFORD) - Jarior Paveda, Nick Nichols and Jeff Arthur were recognized Thursday morning after completing the Drug Court program.
Lawrence Superior Court II oversees and administers Drug Court, a program which offers those who have committed crimes with drugs and or alcohol - a second chance. The program is an intensive attempt to rehabilitate and reform offenders who have problems with addiction.
"This is a new beginning for these men," says Judge William Sleva. "Our legal system is the best in the world, it is not perfect, but the beauty and design is to rehabilitate an individual - to give them a second chance - and with that the rewards are tremendous."
And all three men believe drug court - gave them a second chance.
Paveda began drinking after he came to California from Columbia. He thought drug court would be an easy way out of trouble after his fourth operating a vehicle while intoxicated charge.
"I was wrong," he added with a laugh. "It was more complicated then I assumed, but my wife accepted those conditions for me."
Paveda drank daily.
"I wanted to stop, but I wasn't sure. All my dreams were put on hold after that fourth OWI," he says. "I couldn't lie anymore and there were no more excuses for my bad decisions. But this program has helped me become more responsible and more organized. This is a new phase in my life and now I will put into practice what I have learned. Today the quality of my life is better - I am a better person."
Nichols entered the program after he was charged with his 8th OWI and was looking at spending almost five years in prison.
"I was 18 going on 43," Nichols says."I was the man that blamed everyone else. I played the victim and had no intentions to make things that went wrong - right. I decided to take the chance and make a choice to change. I changed my thinking and direction in life. When you pull your head out of your butt you see things clearer."
Arthur had been charged with two OWI in a matter of weeks when he entered the program.
"I was powerless over alcohol," Arthur says. "My approach to life was not working."
Arthur relapsed twice while in drug court.
"But they never gave up on me," he says. "And with the help of drug court and AA I was able to have a new start, to learn a new way of living."
Now all three men will exit Drug Court and as a former case worker says...They will take care of business.
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