LAWRENCE CO. – Thursday morning, Judge R. Cline and assembled family and county government officials gathered to celebrate the graduation of three participants from the Problem Solving program.
Claire Stinson, Brandon Miller, and Charles Hardin overcame years of addiction with drugs and alcohol with the “twelve steps” of the program, transforming their lives and relationships and finding hope for a better future.
Through the struggles of arrests, recovery, and relapses, they fought hard to be where they are today, and Thursday’s ceremony was a celebration of their hard work.
Claire Stinson’s life was a story of addiction, toxic relationships, teen pregnancy, and more. But today, she has a steady job and values her children and family life. She had her first child at 14, and her second at 16. Her family home was a hotspot for drinking and rowdy parties, “where everyone came for a good time.”
She was married and divorced by 19, and a year later fell into acid/cocaine addiction. A car wreck 5 years later hooked her on pain meds, and she even attempted suicide. “They say it takes a village to raise a child,” she said at the beginning of her testimony “But for me i needed something like an elite force.”
Claire led a troubled life, but by the power of faith, and with the support of the problem-solving courts, found the help she needed to reform her life and heal relationships. Knowing her children were following in her footsteps urged Claire to make a change so her grandchildren wouldn’t face the same home life hers did.
Brandon Miller, born into a loving family, led a charmed early life, or so it seemed under the surface. But by Middle school he was exposed to marijuana, and from there he fell into the wrong crowd, gradually spiraling into further and further into drug and alcohol addictions. He and his friends called the pills they were offered at high-school parties “beer multipliers” because all they knew was that they made one beer feel like a six-pack.
Eventually one of his arrests landed him in the Problem Solving program, and he has worked to rebuild trust with family, friends, and to renew his life and his faith. He said he plans to continue to apply the 12 steps to other areas of his life moving forward.
Charles Hardin grew up with loving parents and a brother that he always looked up to. At the age of 15 he began experimentation, and by 16 he was arrested. By the time he was 18 he had been arrested three times for smoking, drugs, and alcohol. He eventually ended up using meth, and then heroin, overdosing the first time.
Family members lost trust in him because of his addiction-fueled deceit. He realized the lowest point of his life when he wasn’t there to support his mother through a terminal illness. Charles worked to be a better son, and the program helped him change for the better, so that he could be there for his mother. As he moves on, changing his life for the better, he uses the memory of his mother, and the man he became to help her, to keep him reaching for better things.
These three have striven to transform their lives into something they can be proud of, and become upstanding, honest members of our community, and we are all proud of them.