May is National Drug Court Month: Jeff’s Story

I am a man that was plagued with alcohol dependence my whole life. With multiple arrests directly connected to alcohol, I was sentenced to two different inpatient treatments run by the Missouri Department of Corrections for three DWI convictions ranging from 1995 through 2001.

In October 2010, I got my fourth Driving While Intoxicated. Devastated by my obvious inability to stay sober, I was ready to give up on life. A father of five sons and two daughters, I couldn’t allow them to see me live this poor example of a life subdued with addiction, alcoholism, and depression.

After my divorce, which now I call a blessing in disguise, my weight ballooned up from 200 pounds to 430… The children deserved more, and I felt I needed to die and let God find homes for the children still living with me. I spoke to my mother about my plan to “go away”; she talked me out of that and we got a lawyer. One last time I prayed to my Maker, “God, I am sorry for the person I have become, please help me better a better man…” I remember that day like it was yesterday, on my knees alone in the woods on the family property weeping and sobbing in prayer.

A few weeks later my lawyer contacted me about a new treatment called DWI court. The thought of being in a program and being supervised all the time sounded promising. My lawyer had me research it.  The sentence I was looking at was seven years for my fourth DWI. After some research I decided to give it my best shot.

I was assessed and accepted into the program and began on December 4th, 2011.  Though resistant at first, I met with the drug court staff.  There were counselors working with the probation and parole people, and the judge working with them. Counseling, ultra supervised probation, mandatory medical check-ups, job requirements, community service, group therapy, and self help meetings were the foundation of the program.

It didn’t look easy, but something had to give, and so I accepted the program as my last ditch effort to choose life – life for myself, and for my children. I put 100% into my program, asked for rides, found a job, did some community service, connected with my counselor and trusted the process.

In July 2013, I graduated from Osage/Gasconade County Treatment Court. I was a new man, over 100 pounds lighter and clean and sober. There was work to be done, but the road was clear and the future I didn’t think I deserved was waiting. In January 2014 I got up in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee and spoke on the benefits of drug court. I am now an advocate for drug court and the addicts and alcoholics that still suffer. I recently completed my training to be a recovery coach/MRSS-P. My life goal is to help people find, get into, and sustain long term recovery. Helping other people find their road to recovery helps me to stay on my own path to a better quality of life. It is much better these days, some say it’s a miracle, I know that’s what I call it. Thank you God, the treatment staff, and Judge Robert Schollmeyer for the life I enjoy today.

Sincerely Yours in Recovery, Jeff

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