MARSHALL - "Instead of being a part of life decaying, I see life growing," Chad said at his drug court graduation ceremony Monday afternoon.
After going through in-patient treatment, paying fees, a halfway house stay, out-patient treatment, AA and/or NA meetings, community service and attending drug court meetings, Chad, who didn't want his last name to be used, has finally completed drug court, a program in which people who have broken the law can choose to participate in rather than serving jail time.
Amber Tisue, the drug court coordinator for the Southwest Community Drug Court, said Chad is the ninth graduate for the Lincoln and Lyon County Adult Drug Court since its inception in 2009 and the 18th graduate for Southwest Community Drug Court. The Southwest Community Drug Court is a collaboration between Lincoln, Lyon and Redwood counties and the Lower Sioux Indian Community.
The drug court program for Chad included 36 "knock and chats" by police officers who randomly came to his door to make sure he had made curfew and 107 urinalysis tests to make sure he was clean.
He is now 616 days sober - "one year, nine months and 20 days," Chad said. His life prior was "very unmanageable," he said. "I was a boy, not a man. I've done a lot of growing in the last 22 months."
Before, Chad said, "I was selfish. I spent money on drugs and alcohol when there were bills to be paid. I was selfish, self-centered and judgmental. I thought that I knew better."
During drug court meetings, participants tell about their progress and/or problems and turn in journals to Judge Leland Bush who oversees drug court.
Chad said he will miss giving his journal to Bush and seeing the comments Bush would make.
"They meant a lot," he said of the responses.
He said he looked upon Bush as a "father figure."
Chad said Bush was "happy to see us succeed and sad when we struggled. He would correct us when we needed it. That was huge for me. He would say, 'Consider this,' and I really would."'
Chad will also miss the Wednesday night group meetings with Rick Forde, the Project Turnabout program director.
Chad said the meetings included "quality discussions which have led to my recovery."
"Today I stand tall," he said. "I'm not worried about getting into trouble because I'm not doing anything wrong. My self-esteem is good. I'm open-minded, not judgmental. I allow people to be who they are. I like to help others."
Part of his recovery process was changing his attitude, Chad said.
"If you have a good attitude, it makes all the difference," he said. "You have to go through it anyway. I used to say, 'poor me and would be complaining, 'this isn't fair.'"
Being sober has allowed Chad to be a "good father to my daughter and a good husband to my wife," he said. "I support my family as a man should."
Chad's wife said she was afraid at first of Chad graduating from the program. To her, it meant him going back to his old ways. But she has seen the changes in Chad, especially in the past few months, she said.
"I wished drug court would last 10 years - for the security and to keep him accountable," she said. "I'm not scared anymore. I'm proud of him."