March 24, 2013

Letter: Drug Court lights the way

— My name is Michael Caldwell. I am a graduate of the Conasauga Drug Court Program. When I first came into the program with a powerful “meth” addiction, I was very tired of my lifestyle and what it had done to me and my family. I had allowed it to tear us apart piece by piece, until there was nothing left. I lied, cheated and manipulated everyone I could in order to get my next “high.”

Drug Court is a two-year program dealing with a variety of drug addictions, ranging from alcohol to cocaine and heroin. I personally spent two-and-a-half years in the program, but carried a near fatal part of the disease with me after I graduated, referred to as a “reservation” — a reservation to use my drug of choice again and again, and try to regain that “numbness” of things that I feared.

I couldn’t handle my life. Three weeks after I graduated I began using again. One day the Drug Court coordinator called for a random drug test requested by my probation officer. It was then that “reality” set in. It was time to answer for my actions.

When I was asked to come in for the test, I softly laughed to myself, thinking, “Thank God somebody has finally stopped me from going further in this insane life.” I was not only given a second chance but a third as well!

Drug Court in fact does “save lives.” I praise and respect the endless love and compassion that Judge Jack Partain and the Drug Court team have for people like me who gave up on trying to stop this addiction alone. Today, I’m not alone. I have clean, responsible friends who appreciate life. No longer do I live my life in someone else’s shadow. The Drug Court team will love you when you can’t love yourself.

Grateful graduate, Michael A. Caldwell