(BEDFORD) - Crystal Lenning and Tim Thomas found volunteering and helping others has improved their lives.
Both Lenning and Thomas graduated Drug Court Thursday morning.
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.
"Graduation day is a new beginning, they have left behind their old ways and with all their hard work started a new beginning." says Judge William Sleva, who oversees the program. "tThey have learned and accomplished so much - through service to others. Both volunteer, from ringing the bell for the Salvation Army, to talking to others about addiction."
Thomas started his sobriety in April 2011. Thomas is an alcoholic.
"My life was going nowhere," Thomas says. "I never asked for help...my negative ways were destroying my life. Now my life has changed forever."
Thomas now volunteers in the community and spends his extra time learning as much as possible.
"I spend time at the Bedford Library," Thomas says. "I have learned everything you want to know from fleas to sign language."
His goal now is to be debit free by 2015.
"And I am rebuilding my relationship with my 11-year-old daughter," He added. "Drug Court has allowed me to find a better path in life."
Lenning says three years ago her only goal in life was to find her next buzz. Lennings is a drug addict.
"I wouldn't go home for days, leaving my husband and children without a mother," Lennings says. "My daughter was held back in kindergarten because I wasn't there for her. Today she is an honor roll student."
Lenning says it was hard to forgive herself for what she put her family through.
"I am so thankful I still have them in my life today," she added. "My husband never gave up on me. My getting arrested was the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I was looking at spending a long time in jail. They would visit me behind glass windows.....My daughters would have been teenagers when I got out."
That is when Lenning decided it was time for a change and entered the Drug Court program.
Lenning now has self-confidence. She has gotten her GED, is going to college and has started and heads a woman's NA group. She and her husband are also buying their first home.
"Drug Court saw something in me I never saw," she added. "They never gave up on me. Drug court saved me and gave me and my family a second chance."
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