WILMINGTON – Positive reports filled the most recent drug court hearing as participants supported one another.
Almost all the drug court participants were at the hearing Friday, which was a good thing, said Clinton County Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck.
“We don’t have to see everybody at all the status review hearings because you advance,” he said.
The three participants who only have to be at one hearing a month are Randall Kerns, Kaira Kintz and David Key, who are all in Phase 2 of the program.
Kerns, who has been in the program since almost the beginning, said he is working to find a new job after losing his job at Pizza Hut over transportation issues.
“I’ve got some bad days,” he said. But he said was working hard on staying sober and keeping his head up on finding another full time job.
“I’ll be working full time here (soon),” he told the judge, saying that he had another job lined up.
Rudduck said he was proud of Kerns’ process in the program and said that Kerns could be an example for the new people in the drug court.
“You’re an inspiration to some of the folks just getting started,” Rudduck said.
Key, another veteran in the program who has been involved since the first meeting Jan. 5, said he has been working to help other drug court participants like Traey Rockhold, who missed five appointments with Talbert House and who currently has a motion to revoke community control filed against him.
“He’s been reaching out,” Key said. “He’s called me three or four times about the situation he’s going through. He’s been trying.”
Key told Rudduck he has been helping Rockhold because of what the judge stresses at every hearing.
“You encouraged us to try and talk to each other to be supportive of each other and I want you to know he’s doing that,” Key said.
In addiction to helping others get better, Key said he has been working on himself and is reading to get off the shot Vivitrol, which he has been on for nine months.
Kintz said she was having a difficult time dealing with the passing of her father, but she is trying to stay positive.
“He was an alcoholic my whole life so I knew someday it would catch up to him,” she said. “It was really hard (because) we got pretty close the last few years.”
Kintz, who has been sober almost nine months, said seeing other drug court participants outside the hearings helps her stay positive through the tough times.
“I see David out on the streets all the time … and he is positive out there in the streets all day long,” she said.
Sandra Lamb, who has been in the drug court since last month, said she is doing good and is excited to get her driving privileges back so she can drive herself to work.
Rudduck granted Lamb permission to drive to the library as well as work so she can continue her studies.
It was also the second hearing for Stephanie Kirkpatrick. Since the first meeting, she has stopped taking Vivitrol pills and will be getting the shot in the near future.
Rudduck said the pill was not an assist and that she would still have a lot of work to do, but he had faith in here that she would do well.
“It’s not easy, but you should be proud of yourself for what you’re doing,” he said.
Chad Henson, who has also been in the program since last month, said a lot of the information in his group appointments were the same as the other counseling he has gone though, but the drug court is different than other programs because this time he is receiving mental health counseling.
Since he joined the drug court, he has had two clean drug screenings.
Rudduck said people like Henson, who has eight previous DUIs, are a nightmare for judges.
“If a judge lets someone out early or doesn’t give them a sentence that’s appropriate, they go out and get drunk and kill somebody, it’s on you but it’s also on the judge who trusts you,” Rudduck said.
One drug court participant who has been absent since she joined the court is back after finishing a three-month rehabilitation program in Greene County.
Rachael Roberts, who was charged with possession of heroin in the fifth degree, possession of dangerous drugs, a misdemeanor in the first degree, and possession of a drug abuse instrument, a misdemeanor in the second degree. Roberts had to go to court in Greene County, where she did residential women’s recovery program. Roberts was released from the program Nov. 2.
“Now you’re vulnerable,” Rudduck said. “You’re back in the world again.”
The judge said Roberts will probably face triggers and that she must not give in to those triggers.
“You gotta be strong,” he said.
Roberts said that while she did not want to be in Greene County’s program when she first got there, she is grateful she chose the program over prison now.
“Halfway going into treatment I really started enjoying being sober for the first time in my life,” she said.
Roberts told the judge she has already had triggers happen, but she immediately called support instead of giving in. She is now around 100 days sober.
“I’m so grateful,” she said.
Like Kintz, Michelle Plowman also lost her father, and the anniversary of his death is approaching.
Rudduck said that anniversaries can be a hard time for recovering addicts and Plowman needs to find a way to deal with the anniversary of her father’s death without relapsing.
“Honor your father by doing this recovery,” Rudduck said. “Don’t let him down, don’t let yourself down and don’t let us down.”
Plowman said her family is planning on spending the day with her and she is trying to put together a memorial and balloon-releasing for her father.
“(It’s) something that will help me as a coping mechanism,” she said.
The final drug court participant, Alyssa Menach, came to the hearing from Adams Recovery, where she has been almost a month.
She told the judge she is starting to like the program and she is glad she went.
Rudduck again encouraged the drug court participants to let the court know if they are struggling or if they relapsed.
“If you relapse, it doesn’t mean you’re going to jail or to prison,” he said. “But we want to know about it so we can figure out why, what triggered it and how we can overcome it so it doesn’t happen again.”
The next drug court hearing, which is open to the public, will be Nov. 20 at 1:30 p.m.
Reach Dylanne Petros at 937-382-2574, ext. 2514, or on Twitter @DylannePetros.