WILMINGTON — Three women who are recovering from drug addictions or mental afflictions were featured speakers at a “Recovery Rally” on Wednesday held by the common pleas court’s Community Supervision Department.
One of the speakers, who now has a job with the Mental Health Association (MHA), said she is in longterm recovery from mental burdens and substance-use disorder — “1,342 days to be exact.”
Her two years at MHA is the longest time she has ever held a job, said Kendra.
Her life today is very different with the guidance and support of sponsors, mentors and professionals, she said.
“I would not have made it this far without my Recovery Army and their direction,” added Kendra.
At the close of her remarks, she said she is a graduate of a drug court in another county, describing it as “truly life changing.”
Michelle Arledge, currently in the Clinton County drug court programming named the You-Turn Recovery Docket, said being part of You-Turn has changed her life tremendously.
She writes down a gratitude list every day, and said it includes Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck — who presides over You-Turn — as well as including the Supervision Department, also called the Probation Department.
Rhonda Schultz, for her part, had written down her presentation on several pages. She said her coping skills include praying, music therapy, meditating, deep breathing, counting to 10, talking about whatever is bothering her, taking walks out in nature, going on hikes, and journaling.
She said in the past she has put herself in bad relationships “because I didn’t want to be alone.”
A barrier she is trying to rise above is her denying her own needs, thoughts and feelings. Standing up for herself is important, she feels.
Schultz said she’s been “clean and sober” for seven months, and has had great sober supporters to help.
Supervision Department staffer Brenda Harris said although strides have been made in how the culture views addiction, there are still many people suffering from substance-use disorder who are embarrassed or ashamed to seek treatment.
Harris said the Supervision Department staff, in addition to performing their role of supervisors, are supporters, advocates, encouragers, and yes, they want to be helpers to those who are addicted.
Rudduck spoke about how addiction has been viewed as a criminal matter, with stigmas attached stubbornly to the problem of addiction.
It’s only been the past five or 10 years that people have started to understand that addiction is a health issue — a disease, said the judge.
“I was frustrated for a long time. Because how do you deal — I’m not a doctor,” said Rudduck, a judge for 35 years.
Individuals who are addicted need recovery, not punishment, he said.
With drug possession charges in particular (as opposed to drug trafficking), he said his Probation Department has evolved into the philosophy that the judicial system can best serve society not by punishing a disease, but by helping those people get rehabilitated into recovery and be part of society in a socially responsible way.
The First Christian Church of Wilmington funded the refreshments and Recovery T-shirts for the event held at Sugartree Ministries.
September is “Recovery Month” which has been observed for 31 years. The themed month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to enhance awareness and education regarding substance-use disorders.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.