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Graduates recognized for completing Drug Court

On Tuesday evening at Grace Baptist Church, Troup County Drug Court graduates celebrated their graduation with the team that helped them overcome addiction.

The graduates successfully completed a full program of testing, counseling and monitoring. Drug Court is offered as an alternative to jail time, and it aims to help participants address their addiction instead of simply punishing them for the crimes they committed under it. 

“Every one that is graduating the program officially today, we have put in so much hard work,” said graduate Kimberly Jones. “We probably would not have put in the hard work that we did if it wasn’t for the staff. They pushed us to the max.” 

Due to COVID-19, the graduation ceremony had to be pushed back for months. Twenty participants total graduated in 2020 and 13 were recognized Tuesday. 

“As someone that has now completed it, I still live like I’m in drug court,” Jones said. “I know that if I don’t, I’m in a lot of trouble. If I get stuck, I still lean toward my counselor.” 

Despite the pandemic, counselors and mentors in the program are available through Zoom. “You’ve got to have that sober network,” Jones said. “If you don’t have that sober network, you are in so much trouble. If you do not have the capacity to be honest with yourself and with this team, you’re in so much trouble. None of us would not be here today if we weren’t honest with ourselves.” 

Jones encouraged everyone to keep fighting for their sobriety. 

“Your worst day in sobriety is a million times better than any day dealing with addiction and that is guaranteed,” Jones said. 

Keynote speaker Jimmy Pruitt with Reformers Unanimous charged each graduate to keep looking forward.  

Pruitt used a mirror to show that he can’t see what’s on the other side and only sees himself. 

“I’m looking into here, and there’s a lot of confusion, a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds,” Pruitt said. “There’s a lot of things recovering in your sobriety that you might not be prepared for. I’ll tell you what the looking glass mirror does do. If I look into the mirror, I can’t see what’s in the future but I can see myself. I can see the imperfections in me. I can do some self-examination.” 

Pruitt explained that when you turn the mirror, you can also see those on your side. 

“So not only can I see myself to do that self-examination, but I can look and I can see who’s standing here with me,” Pruitt said. “You turn that mirror around and you see your loved ones, your friends and all the ones that are there to support and encourage you. You can use them to strengthen you.” 

Graduates were given a rose and recognized for each one of their accomplishments.