Hall County Drug Court September 2015 Commencement Ceremony

By Andrew Cummings and Liam Harby

The chapel was bright and filled at First Baptist Church in Gainesville on Friday, September 25th, as community members and family gathered to acknowledge four graduates from the Hall County Drug Court program.  Smiles, warm hellos and hugs were exchanged among a crowd of familiar company. It was a happy afternoon. Judge Jason Deal led the ceremony by highlighting the ups and downs that each graduate encountered during their participation in the program. altThe message was clear: the Drug Court takes a lot of work and the graduates faced many challenges in their recovery — in fact, none had walked an easy or straight line through the program as evidenced by their sanction logs, which Judge Deal referenced during the ceremony. The participants were leaving the program with the tools to maintain their recovery and to live a fuller life.
Judge Deal called each graduate up one by one. They spoke of a better way of living, renewed relationships, and ongoing aspirations regarding family, education, and careers.  One graduate described his 180-degree transformation and his plan to enter law enforcement now that he has a new beginning. Family members came forward and expressed their gratitude to the Drug Court for giving back their son, daughter, spouse, and fiancé. The guest speaker was a former graduate from 2011. “Drug court gave me the opportunity to change my life,” she said to an attentive audience, many of whom were active drug court participants. Five years clean and sober, a new marriage, a bachelors degree and a new relationship with her mother, all resulting from her decision to enter Hall County Drug Court and her commitment to recovery.
Prior to closing, Judge Deal warned the graduates of the road ahead, “You have to remember that as you travel down the road of recovery, you’re always only this far from the ditch no matter haw far you’ve traveled. It’s easy to slip.” It was clear that each graduate has what he or she needs to stay the course.
Hall County Drug Court has graduated 534 participants to date and is dramatically reducing the number of offenders who reoffend due to to drug addiction.

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